The Different Types of Wood Flooring Explained

There are endless options on the market when it comes to wood flooring. With the variety of species and types available, you’re prone to spending a lot of time comparing and trying to decide the best option for you.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about all of these topics and much more to ensure that you have all the information you need to achieve your dream floor decor.

Different Types of Wood Flooring: Pros and Cons

Here, we’ll compare solid, engineered, laminate, and reclaimed flooring,
and present some pros and cons, so you can make an easy decision based on your needs.

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid hardwood is a solid piece of natural wood cut out from a tree trunk, then machined and sanded into planks with an average thickness of 18 mm to 22 mm.
If you’ve ever been in a house with solid hardwood flooring, you’ll know the feeling of warmth and character that can only be found with real wood. It’s a bit noisier than other hardwood types and prone to squeaking. However, users who’re into rustic vibes won’t mind it that much.

Pros

  • Lasts a lifetime
  • Valuable asset as it retains high resale value
  • Can be recycled

Cons

  • Weak resistance to scratches
  • Subject to water damage
  • Not ideal in humid conditions due to cupping

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring is a combination of solid wood and plywood glued together, which helps keep the floor dimensionally stable and reduces warping. It also has an average thickness of 8 mm to 22 mm.
Engineered flooring is often likened to a sandwich because it consists of a visible solid wood layer, plywood, and an optional bottom layer of solid wood.

Pros

  • Strong resistance to scratches
  • Good resistance to moisture
  • Fewer chances of warping and cupping
  • Cheaper than solid hardwood and isn’t as complex
  • Can be recycled

Cons

  • Not as durable as solid wood
  • Low resale value

Laminate Wood Flooring

Laminate flooring isn’t hardwood, but rather, it’s a photographic image of wood on a decor layer adhered to medium-density fiberboard.
Laminate is durable yet affordable enough for most budgets. On top of that, It has an average thickness of 6 mm to 15 mm. Generally, we think it’s a great choice for those who want the look of hardwood flooring without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Very high resistance to scratches
  • Unlike hardwood, it’s not susceptible to atmospheric changes.
  • Least potential to warp or cup
  • It can be easily installed and does not require skilled labor
  • No squeaking

Con

  • Only lasts 25 to 30 years
  • Low resale value
  • It cannot be recycled

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Reclaimed wood has been around for a while, but it has been gaining popularity recently, thanks to rising concerns about global warming and the effect it has on deforestation.
Reclaimed wood is significantly cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the options listed above.

Pros

  • Highly resistant to moisture
  • Rustic and antique look
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Vintage wood can increase your home’s value

Cons

  • It might contain jutting nails or woodworm
  • It might not last long, depending on how old the wood is

What Wood Species Should You Go For?

Once you’ve decided what wood flooring you want, you need to start thinking about the wood species, which is basically the tree that the wood comes from.
Here, we’ll use the Janka scale to measure the toughness of various wood species.
The Janka hardness scale is a standard rating system that tests wood’s durability by seeing how much force is needed to push a steel ball into a plank of wood. So, basically, the higher the rating, the harder the wood.
There is no good or bad Janka hardness rating. However, for wood flooring, it’s best to go with something that is 1000 pounds or higher.

Cherry Flooring

Cherry is one of the softer wood species and our personal favorite for low-traffic rooms. It is very popular, albeit a bit more expensive due to its distinctive wavy grain and warm natural color.
Cherry changes color due to light exposure, changing from a light pink hue to a vibrant Reddish brown. It is unfortunate, however, that it’s highly vulnerable to scratching and warping.
  • Janka hardness rating: 995 lbf (pound-force)
  • Density: 34 lb/ft3
  • Resistance: very high
  • Flexibility: very high
  • Expensive

Maple Flooring

Do you like lattes? If so, you’ll absolutely love maple wood with its creamy even grain texture that looks like a cup of coffee. Its durability is nothing to scoff at either, which lends well to kitchen floors and basements.
  • Janka hardness rating: 1450 lbf
  • Density: 47.1 lb/ft3
  • Resistance: Medium
  • Flexibility: Medium
  • Affordable

Oak

Hands down, oak is the most common wood flooring on this list, and for a good reason, as it covers all the bases and then some. It’s suitable for high-traffic areas in your home, and its hardness is decent enough. If you’re worried about color matching, you’re going to love how red and white oak can complement any color palette.
  • Janka hardness rating for white oak: 1360 lbf
  • Janka hardness rating for red oak: 1290 lbf
  • Density: 56.2 lb/ft3
  • Resistance: They’re both high, but white oak is slightly more resistant to moisture
  • Moderate/High
  • Affordable

Teak Flooring

Teak is full of warmth and radiance due to being full of oils that make it shine. It’s one of the most durable and resistant hardwoods, which makes it ideal for busy areas or even outdoors by a pool.
It’s worth noting, though, that there’s an ongoing controversy about teak being illegally harvested and causing deforestation, so be sure to get your teak from a trustworthy store.
  • Janka hardness rating: 2330 lbf
  • Density: 67.4 lb/ft3
  • Resistance: Very high
  • Flexibility: Moderate/High
  • Expensive

Cork Flooring

If you like walking around the house barefoot, feeling warm and comfortable, then cork wood would be the perfect choice for you with its amazingly soft-touch and springy feel.
Unfortunately, warping is a problem with cork, which means you’ll have to seal it more frequently than other types of flooring, and it’s known for being softer than most types.
Cork isn’t that common for flooring, but with its impressive insulation and resistance to microbes, we think it’s a solid choice.
  • Janka hardness rating: 200 lbf
  • Density: 15 lb/ft3
  • Resistance: High
  • Flexibility: Low/Moderate
  • Expensive

The Best Hardwood Flooring Is up to You

We all have different wants and needs. When it comes to wood flooring, there is no perfect option. You just need to consider your use case carefully, and with the information provided here, compare the pros and cons and see what suits you and your budget.