A Walk in the Woods

Love the warmth and beauty of wood flooring but not sure where to start. Here are a few tips! As you’re shopping, keep in mind your budget and how long you plan on staying in the home.

Photo of the hardwood floors in the eat-in kitchen of this Louisville home
Hardwood floors bring out the best in any Louisville home.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid wood is durable and beautiful but generally costs a little more. Most styles can not be used “below grade” (i.e. basements, cellars, etc.) because they need to be nailed down to a wood sub-floor, not concrete. They are also not a good idea in areas with moisture or humidity, such as bathrooms, because they do expand and contract to a small degree with the weather.

A benefit of solid wood is that it may sanded and refinished for years of beauty and durability. Bear in mind, however, that solid wood can change color over time due to sunlight and aging, for example, cherry darkens and walnut lightens.

In solid wood, Bruce’s “Manchester Oak” in Gunstock is another versatile local favorite. But Hickory is also making a showing. Exotics, such as Brazillian Cherry and Santos Mahogany are gaining popularity as well.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered woods can be used below grade (glued down), and are better for humid areas. Engineered is usually less expensive than solid wood because it uses the best wood only in its top layer. Because it is constructed of several wood layers stacked at 90-degree angles, re-sanding can result in mismatched grain, so it may not be your best choice if you want the floors refinished in the future.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has the look of wood but costs less and is easy to clean. It can be used above or below grade and can many times go over some existing flooring.

An example of Pergo flooring
Pergo flooring is a laminate brand that has been around for quite some time and gets good reviews.

Laminates are now available in a variety of colors and textures, ranging from distressed, rustic looks to shiny contemporary styles. If sound is an issue, be sure to add a good underlayment (a thin layer of foam or rubber such as VersaQuiet).

Because I work with flooring companies, I can tell you that laminate flooring is popular in Louisville. I love Pergo’s “Accolade,” in color Jatoba, a rich, reddish color that is perfect for formal or informal rooms, and with both light and dark furniture.

Not actually a laminate, vinyl flooring can also resemble wood and fool many who see it. An exciting option is a luxury vinyl plank, such as Mannington’s “Adura” or Armstrong’s “Alterna.” These products offer the look and feel of real wood with the durability and easy cleaning advantage of vinyl.

Pick the floor that fits your Louisville life

Whatever wood, or wood-look, you choose don’t forget to add an area rug for style and comfort. If you can’t find a size and style you like pre-made, any flooring store can custom order carpet bound as a rug. It’s another way to express your personal style and make your room more comfy at the same time!