Hardwood flooring has always had a way of offering character and comfort to a home. But if this is your first time purchasing hardwood flooring, the research and process can be daunting which is why we have come up with a quick, Hardwood Flooring Manual to guide you through some decisions.



There are many options and variables when it comes to hardwood flooring, in fact, there are dozens of species, including trusty domestics, such as oak and maple, and intriguing exotics, such as tamarind and acacia. You also have a choice of widths—such as rustic wide planks or traditional narrow strips—and stain colors, which allows you to tailor your floors to your house’s style and decor.


You will need to consider warranties and installation support. You could have the option to purchase DIY prefinished hardwood flooring or you can hire an installer. Some prefinished solid-wood boards come with a 40 year warranty but with regular care, any solid-wood floor can easily last at least twice that long.


Maintenance tips include clearing dirt on a regular basis and laying runners and doormats near exterior doors.

The Details (from thisoldhouse.com)

Thickness: Solid ¾-inch boards can be refinished up to 10 times. Thinner ones can’t be sanded as much, but when topped with durable factory-applied coatings, they shouldn’t require frequent refinishing.

Length: Longer strips mean fewer distracting end joints. To make a small room appear bigger, use shorter strips.

Width: Six-inch planks have a rustic appeal, but the joints open wide during dry spells; 2¼-inch strips look busier but stay tighter. Mix widths for the best of both.

Hardness: The harder the wood, the less prone it is to dents and gouges. Hardwood flooring is versatile, especially with hard wood species for high-traffic-areas, but should not be considered in environments that will experience extreme humility or standing water.

blog-h-flooring-2Consider the room traffic when selecting your species:

  • Hard Wood – kitchen, entryway
  • Softer Wood – bedroom, home office

Hardwood Cutsblog-h-flooring-3

Flatsawn boards are cut so that the growth rings are roughly parallel with the face, leaving a distinctive flamelike grain pattern.

Quartersawn boards, which are more expensive, have a straight grain and growth rings perpendicular to the face.

Hardwood Grading

Mills sort each piece of flooring into different grades depending on the number of defects, such as knots and color variations. The fewer the defects, the more costly the wood. Just remember that the definition of defect changes from species to species.

Prefinished Vs. Site-Finished

Finishes packed with aluminum oxides and cured under UV lights in a factory are tougher than ones applied on-site. And you can walk on the floor the day it’s installed, since there’s no sanding or waiting for coats to dry. But every edge has a slight bevel at the joint, something you won’t see on a site-finished floor.

Wood Species Facts:

Stained red oak
It’s the most common wood-strip flooring in American homes.

White ash
This blond wood has a prominent grain pattern.

Black cherry
Under a clear finish, its natural cinnamon tint darkens with age.

Heart pine
Rusty-hued and knotty, it’s been in Southern homes since colonial times.

Brazilian redwood
The deep russet color and subtle grain won’t distract from a room’s decor.

Australian cypress
Its distinct grain and profusion of knots give any room a rustic look.

Black acacia
This stained hardwood has a golden tone when topped just with a clear finish.

Brazilian koa
Dark chocolate and blond stripes alternate in an eye-catching combination.

Distressed hickory
Dented with chains, then stained to a rich hue.

Handscraped white oak
Random ripples are carved along the length of each strip.

To find out more about custom hardwood flooring from the Timber Barn visit the Timber Barn showroom in St. Jacobs, Ontario.

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