Design Tips and Trends in Hardwood Flooring
At Monarch Floor & Window Coverings we sell pre-finished hardwood flooring. This means that as soon as the floor is installed, it is ready to be walked on. What this doesn’t do, however, is limit the wide variety of options that a homeowner faces when selecting their hardwood floor. Deciding between wood species, stain colour, surface features and plank dimensions can be overwhelming. Taking advantage of our mobile showroom is a great way to enlist our help in making these decisions. This enables you to consider a full range of product samples in the light and space of your own home. In this article, we will provide you with some insight as to the design trends we are currently seeing out in the field.
Oak and maple are the two most popular hardwood flooring species in our market. Both of these species are durable, stable, affordable, and versatile in terms of how they can be stained and finished. They have very distinctive grain patterns, so it is always helpful to see a few samples of each in order to determine what sort of look you prefer.
On the Janka scale, which is a standardized measure of the hardness of various hardwood species, oak and maple are much harder than walnut and American cherry, though not as hard as many of the exotic hardwoods. The drawback to the exotics is that many of them are naturally quite dark and red which limits their staining palette. Exotics are also generally higher in price and in many cases not as stable which limits the type of installations for which they are suitable.
With regard to colour, a look that is currently popular is whitewashed greys, medium greys and medium browns. While there are always exceptions, people are generally avoiding red and orange tones. By staying as neutral as possible with the flooring colour, it opens up more possibilities for the rest of a home’s décor. Although dark floors can look very sharp, they will make a dimly lit space feel closed in. Dark floors also tend to require extra maintenance, since every fleck of dust will be much more noticeable. Depending on the species and grade of the wood, there is always some variation in colour between boards. It’s important to consider how much variation you would like to see in your floor. Some people prefer the interesting and striking look of many different shades blending together over the expanse of a floor, while others prefer a more consistent look.
The surface of your hardwood flooring can be wire-brushed, hand-scraped, distressed, smooth, or some combination of these. It can be a matte, satin, or glossy finish. It can be protected with an oil-based or polyurethane finish. While there are countless options to consider, a knowledgeable salesperson can help you to make a decision that is appropriate for your space and usage. One of the more popular looks right now is wire-brushed floors, with the rougher texture of these floors helping to conceal some of the minor dents and scratches that will inevitably occur.
With the species, colour, and surface texture of your floor decided, it now comes down to figuring out what sort of widths and lengths you would like for the planks. Some of this will be determined based on the preferences you’ve already established – for instance it is rare to see a maple floor with planks that are wider than 5”, whereas wire-brushed oak floors are generally wider – 6” to 7 ½”. Wider and longer planks are generally what most people prefer, especially when putting flooring in a large, open area.
If you are considering putting new hardwood flooring down in your home, please contact us and we can help you to make the right selection for your space.