Question to ask before making a decision
Is this a high traffic area?
The finish and color will be affected by this. Darker colors tend to show traffic quicker, where as natural wood colors of oak and maple do not. High traffic areas need special attention when it come to recoating. Screening (light sanding) should be a part of the preventative maintenance program for your wood floors in these areas. Application of 1 or 2 coats as needed (every 6-18 months) is a good sound way to protect your investment. Make sure the finish being applied is compatible with what is there and is of the shine that will work well in that area. Satin or low shine urethanes tend to show less traffic patterns than do the higher gloss finishes. Walk-off mats are strongly suggested for these areas, ie- working areas of a kitchens, entry ways, entries/doorways from the outside.
What type of wood do you like or will fit the area?
Some types are more traffic friendly than others; Is this species to "grainy" or busy looking ? Some species are harder than others. Maple is harder than oak; has less grain, yet maple can not be stained. Remember, the type of finish and number of coats can also determine how well your floor will fair in high traffic areas.
What color will work with the decor?
Some darker colors make rooms look smaller, show traffic patterns quicker. Lighter, or natural color ( oak & maple being the most popular ) of wood floor species can give an open, airy feeling, making the room appear larger. With today's color trends this is of the most popular selections now being made by the consumer, in home and office alike. Your floor should complement the fabrics, furnishings and accessories already present in the space, as well as enhancing the unique personality of the room as a whole. The most popular color : red oak natural, maple natural running second, but with today's eclectic decoration styles, anything goes.
Darker colors - Formal or traditional interiors, Lighter colors - country, casual and contemporary settings. There are many choices when selecting the right floor for the rooms in your home, as there are many species, colors and grain variations for you to consider.
Who is helping you make these choices?
Builders tend to stay with they same product that has worked for them before; decorators tend to use color as the number one reason for choosing a particular product, which may not be suited for the area. Whether a prefinished or job finished product, have a sample of the wood floor material to make comparisons with other products and materials, such as the fabrics, paint colors and furniture being used in the room.
Who will maintain these floors?
That person needs to know the product as does the purchaser, most of time that is the same person, but not always. Knowing TheDo's & Don'tsand Maintenance Procedures is very important. Make sure that information is provided to you and is a part of your contract. After the floor is installed, and this material is provided to you, this is a good time to purchase a wood floor cleaning kit, right from the get go !
All these question, as well as many others, are very important parts of the process in choosing the right hardwood floor for you. Not knowing all the answers could cause you concerns down the road.
Trying to determine what wood floor product is right for the conditions they will be installed; what conditions they will subjected to; and last but not least, is this the right floor for you?
Some floors are more pleasing than others, but may not work in your conditions, or may not work well with the traffic they will receive. The color you like may be OK with the decor, but bad for wear patterns. The type of wood, say pine for example, (not a hardwood), does not stain well and is softer than oak causing it to "dent" more. Many factors should play a part in your decision about the choices you make when it comes to wood floor products