When it comes to building a custom home one of the biggest decisions involves flooring. It’s what you’ll walk on every day, it’s one of the biggest features in the home and it has the power to bring together a whole home. Hardwood floors are popular among homebuilders today and it’s easy to see why. They’re both practical and beautiful. They come in a variety of different styles, colors, designs and woods so we’ve broken them all down to make your decision easier.
When it comes to hardwood floors there are different types of hardwood you can get. Each type of hardwood has its own set of advantages and disadvantages so review before selecting. When it doubt, consult with your residential homebuilder as they will be able to give you advice on which type is best for your home.
- Solid Hardwood: Solid wood flooring is 100% milled lumber. It’s a natural material that will react to its environments such as moisture and temperature. It can expand or warp in certain conditions but it has the option of being sanded and refinished throughout the years.
- Engineered Hardwood: Engineered flooring is made through layers of wood. It has more stability that solid wood and is less impacted by temperature and moisture.
- Laminate Hardwood: Laminate flooring isn’t real hardwood but it has its benefits. It is extremely durable and cost conscious. It is dent and stain resistant making it perfect for homes that have kids or pets.
The beauty of hardwood floor is that they’re all unique. Color choices depend on wood species, stains, finishes, sun exposure and even the very tree that it came from. From deep rich browns to vibrant reds and ashy grays, any color you want is possible with hardwood floors.
You should ask your architect to bring samples into the home so you can see the wood under the lighting of the home. Bring it into each room to see how it reacts with the natural and artificial lights of the room.
There are a number of different factors when it comes to the design of hardwood, the big two being plank width and the pattern the flooring is laid in. Wide planks are more in style today while skinnier strips are typically more traditional and old fashion. Your residential home builder should be able to help you decide on the appropriate width based on home style and room size.
A big decision in hardwoods is deciding which pattern to lay them in. It can make a huge impact on how a room feels. There are five main hardwood patterns for you to consider.
- Straight Pattern: This is the most popular and traditional of hardwood patterns. The boards are installed parallel to one another from one side of the room to the other. This pattern can make a room look larger and make two rooms flow together. Because of the simple design, it is also one of the least expense to install.
- Diagonal Pattern: A diagonal hardwood pattern adds a touch of luxury and uniqueness to a room without being too busy or over the top. It’s similar to a straight pattern except the floorboards are installed at 45-degree angle from the walls.
- Parquet Pattern: Parquet patterns involve installing the hardwood in squares giving the floor the appearance of a checkerboard. The square can be small or larger, depending on taste. This style is distinct and sophisticated but it is not as popular today. Many people find it too busy and old looking so be sure you really like the look before installing it as it is expensive to put in.
- Herringbone Pattern: Herringbone hardwood floors are becoming more popular and trendy, especially in custom homes. They add a level of customization and charm without being overbearing. The hardwood planks are installed in a diagonally zigzag plan. This pattern looks both traditional and contemporary and is a unique option to consider.
- Inlaid Design: For something extra special, consider adding a unique inlaid design in your hardwood floor. This can be almost anything and usually involves different color flooring. It can be as simple as a thin inlaid border around a room to as complicated as a crest. Inlaid hardwood designs are expensive but they add a great level of luxury to a custom home.
Different wood species have different traits in flooring. Certain woods might be more durable while others give a unique color that you may want. Some have darker grain and some are environmentally friendly. Get to know the pros and cons of each wood before deciding which is right for your home. Some of the most popular wood species for hardwood floors are:
- Oak: Oak is great in terms of durability as it’s a hardwood that isn’t prone to dents. There is white oak and red oak, both with different color undertones. It’s a wood known for it’s distinct, dark, pronounced grains. Oak is a more traditional choice for hardwood but it’s beautiful and classic so it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular choice.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is a renewable resource, which makes it a great option for homebuilders that are environmentally conscious. Its hardness depends on the time of year it was harvested but it generally holds up well against dents and scuffs. It’s rising in popularity as more people are looking for beautiful yet eco-friendly options for their home.
- Maple: Maple hardwood is paler in color and you might notice slight shade differences between each board, which adds great texture. The gains tend to be minimal, especially compared to oak. Maple is also one of the few kinds of wood that have the distinctive “birdseye” graining pattern.
- Ash: Ash is known for it’s paler colors and looks great in grays. It’s similar to oak but it has more distinct graining patterns that make it unique and exciting. It’s highly durable which makes it great for hardwood floors.
There are countless other options when it comes to wood species for hardwood floors. A few of the others are birch, cherry (both Brazilian and American), walnut, hickory, pine, beech, mahogany, teak, and tigerwood. Your architect should be able to recommend a wood species based on your home design, your style aesthetic, and your lifestyle.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to hardwood floors so do your research, look at your architect’s portfolio and scan Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Contact your custom homebuilder for any questions and consider all your options before deciding on the hardwood. Flooring has a huge impact on your house so it’s important to us that you love what you walk on every day.