Wood Flooring Options for Your Home

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers™

You have to make all sorts of decisions when choosing products to finish your home, but few products are as involved as flooring. It’s the base of your interior design and the foundation you live on, so it should support your style and stand up to the challenges of your household. Natural wood flooring is timeless and holds value—but how do you find the right fit for your needs? Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop!

Carlisle Earthen Collection - Argil

The mix of light and medium tones in hickory make it a top choice when you want a high-contrast floor. It’s also one of the hardest species around, perfect for high-traffic areas! This Earthen Collection – Argil flooring delivers a beautiful matte hickory look for a neat modern space.

Different Wood Types

Wood is a diverse medium. The overall look—including grain and color—depends on the species and how the plank has been cut from the log. The durability of the floor starts with the species, so it’s important to select wisely for each space regardless of your aesthetic preferences. Remember, you can use stains, whitewashing, and other finishing methods to tailor the appearance! Familiarize yourself with the Janka scale, which rates the hardness of woods, and explore a catalog or showroom to see what style you gravitate toward. The possibilities are so much more vast than most people know!

Carlisle Traditional Collection - Picture Frame

If you’re looking for a light-colored floor, consider white oak. This prefinished Traditional Collection – Picture Frame flooring comes sanded, stained, and sealed for quick installation and consistent results.

Unfinished vs. Prefinished

The floor will be finished when it’s all said and done, but would you rather install a prefinished product or finish the floor on-site? When you buy unfinished flooring, it comes with a lower sticker price than prefinished because the manufacturer has put less into it. However, you’ll end up paying the installer more, because they’ll spend significantly more time sanding and sealing the floor so it’s ready to live on. Prefinished flooring has already been treated, so the installer just has to put it together. Many people prefer prefinished flooring because the manufacturer can apply stronger sealants in a factory setting than a contractor can on-site, resulting in a more durable floor. You also don’t have to wait for anything to dry, meaning work—or life—in the house can continue during installation. On the other hand, some swear by finishing on-site because it gives them greater control over the final results. There is no wrong answer—it all depends on your specific goals and situation.

Carlisle Custom Walnut Flooring

This custom walnut flooring shows off warm brown hues and a swirling grain pattern you can really appreciate due to the 8” plank width. Check out more images of this award-winning lake house here.

Solid vs. Engineered

Solid and engineered wood flooring look the same when you’re standing on them—the difference lies beneath the surface. As you could probably guess, solid wood planks are cut from a single source and have the same composition throughout the entire thickness. These floors install with very tight seams between the pieces for a smoother finish, and their renewability offers a very long lifespan in ideal conditions. Engineered wood usually has beveled edges and features a thinner layer of solid wood adhered to layers of backing material; it shows the species you want, but it’s significantly more dimensionally stable than a single piece of wood. The layers keep the plank from warping in changing temperatures and humidity levels, so engineered wood is the best choice for basements, radiant heating, and anywhere that takes a beating. It’s not all created equal, though—different manufacturers use different backing materials and veneer thicknesses. Look for quality backing to get that stronger core stability and a thicker veneer that you can refinish a few times. If you’re unsure whether to choose solid or engineered flooring, ask for a professional opinion!

Carlisle Pre-Cut Chevron Wood Flooring

Could a pattern add some oomph to your design? Pre-cut chevron wood flooring makes it easy to install this more involved pattern! If this isn’t your style, don’t worry—patterned floors can be made to suit any taste.

Standard vs. Patterned

Finally, we come to something that can really change the feel of a space—patterns. Patterned, or parquet, flooring can be simple or incredibly complex. It steps away from standard straight lines to introduce everything from repeating shapes and angles to woven cross hatching and radiating movement. You can even use different types of wood or stains to make the motif pop! Patterned floors cost more than standard installations for the same square footage, so you may need to limit them to a particular space. Even if it’s only the entry, a study, or a hallway, having any pattern at all will definitely set the whole house apart.

If you’re in the market for hardwood flooring, consider Carlisle Wide Plank Floors®. This unique company crafts custom floors to suit the needs of every customer, so you can find something you like and have it manufactured to your specifications! The options are vast—they offer a variety of species and even reclaimed wood, widths from four to twenty inches, numerous stains, and five different surface textures. Want it solid or engineered, unfinished or prefinished? Just let them know! If you’re not sure where to start with all this freedom, they also offer curated collections that deliver beautiful results with minimal stress. Connect today with a design consultation and see what Carlisle can do for you!

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