Within each species of hardwood there is an array of choices of color and finishes. This is why it is important to shop carefully to ensure that you know all of the options available to you in a certain wood.
When choosing a color, choose one that either coordinates or contrasts with your cabinetry and furniture.
Also keep in mind the intentional look you may decide on. Generally, darker woods give a more formal look to things while lighter, natural colors are more casual.
You should be aware that there are different types of finishes. For example, lower gloss levels are suggested for active rooms. What you get with the lower gloss or matte finish is a floor that helps minimize the appearance of dirt or scratches. That look of the high gloss finish is much more suited for a more formal décor.
Before, having hardwood floors were a big deal because the maintence level on them was very high. People would have to wax and scrub their hardwood floors to an extreme. These days are over (thankfully) and are pretty much gone forever. Manufacturers of pre-finished wood floors have developed impressive methods to quickly apply hard, durable, urethane-based finishes right at the factory. The manufacturers use ultra violet lights so that the pre-finished wood planks can have several layers of urethane applied within a matter of minutes. This is a huge leap in technology as it helps make hardwood floors both more affordable, and much easier to take care of.
Not only that, but even more recently, the manufacturers have started to add little chips of Aluminum Oxide directly on the floor’s finish. This tremendously raises the life of the urethane finish.
Most of the hardwood floors have several layers of finish applied to the surface of the wood. Many wood floor companies are applying 6-10 layers of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. This is extremely beneficial because factory finishes tend to be more consistent, durable, and hard to duplicate at a job site.
Although there is this leap in technology, this does not mean you should wash your hardwood floor with a mop. It is still true that excessive water will ruin hardwood floors. Still, it does mean the hardwood floors won’t watermark like the old waxed hardwood floors. The UV cured urethane wood finishes simply make these floors easier to maintain than the old waxed hardwood floors.
When looking for a hardwood floor, there are variations in the size that can alter the look of the hardwoods in the home. The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider board widths are known as “planks”. It is important because board width can visually impact a room and you need to be aware of what this could change in your home.
Overall there is a simple rule to follow just as the color of the wood had. Narrow width boards will expand a room, while wider boards work well in a larger room or area.