Choosing Hardwood Flooring: 3 Factors to Help with the Decision

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When choosing hardwood flooring, homeowners consider a variety of factors. The right hardwood flooring stands up against the test of time, and foot traffic. Additionally, hardwood with the right appearance can really make a room. But beyond the obvious durability and aesthetic options, what else should homeowners be on the lookout for during the decision-making process?

Choosing Hardwood Flooring: Solid Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood

When choosing hardwood flooring, it will generally come in one of two ‘makes’: solid or engineered. First, solid hardwood features tongues and grooves on opposite edges so that the boards interlock once installed. Floor installers nail solid hardwood to the subfloor, typically not a DIY job. Beyond that, solid hardwood flooring lasts much longer, staying strong for 30-100 years on average.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood flooring only lasts about 25-30 years. Featuring a thin layer of hardwood bonded over a premium-quality plywood layer, engineered flooring still maintains its stability. Not only is engineered flooring cheaper than solid hardwood, it tends to hold up better against climate-induced warping.

Choosing Hardwood Flooring: Site-Finished Hardwood vs. Prefinished Hardwood

For those opting to go with solid hardwood flooring, homeowners can decide whether they would like the wood prefinished or not. When choosing hardwood flooring that is finished on-site, homeowners have more options of the stain that they’d like implemented. Generally, homeowners can test multiple stains and implement one solid color across the entire living space, since they maintain control over that portion of the process.

When going with prefinished hardwood flooring, homeowners choose from a selection of color schemes. This isn’t to say that prefinished is a bad choice. In many instances, the process is much easier, faster, and cheaper, while still offering the living space a luxurious wood appearance.

Choosing Hardwood Flooring: ‘Hardness’ of the Wood

When choosing hardwood flooring, homeowners learn about the Janka Hardness Test. This test measures that hardness of the wood. In general, the harder the wood, the longer it holds up against wear and tear.

If you’re anticipating plenty of foot traffic in a given area of the home, aim for harder hardwood flooring. While it may be more expensive upfront, homeowners usually save money in the long run as they won’t need to replace their flooring as soon.


Like many other flooring types, hardwood flooring offers hundreds of thousands of customizable options. When choosing hardwood flooring that’s best for your living space, the Scharm Floor Covering team likes to understand each customer’s personal situation to best assist in the decision-making process.

To get started with exploring hardwood flooring, contact the Des Plaines flooring experts at Scharm Floor Covering.

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