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Are you thinking about replacing your carpet and installing hardwood floors? Or are you building a new house and trying to decide whether you want to install hardwood flooring? In any case, hardwood floors have become a very desired home feature due to the fact that they add a nice modern, yet classic touch.

If you’ve decided you want to install hardwood floors, the question is what type of hardwood floors? Finished? Unfinished? Engineered? Solid? There are many questions to ask yourself before you start the process. The following is a compiled list of what we think are some of the most important things to know about the types of hardwood floors.

  1. The two most common types of hardwood flooring are solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring. Which one you choose to use depends on your project and budget.

Solid Wood Flooring flooring-solid

Solid wood flooring is made from one large piece of timber and it’s thickness ranges from ¾’’ to 5/16’’. Solid wood can be purchased in narrow strips, wide planks or parquet squares, strips being the most popular. Narrow strips usually measure from 1-1/2 and 3 inches wide. Planks measure wider (3-7 inches wide) and are commonly used for larger spaces. Parquet squares are either available in preassembled tiles or custom-made from wood strips and are commonly used for unique geometric shapes, herringbone and weaves.

Engineered Wood Flooring 

Engineered wood flooring consists of three or more layers of wood glued together forming long planks, with the top layer being a thin solid-wood veneer. This type of floor is highly popular for DIY-ers as they easily ‘snap’ together and the fact that the planks can be installed on top of existing floors. Another popular feature of engineered wood flooring is that the grain of each veneer runs in different directions, making it much more stable and resistant to varying humidity and temperature.

  1. You also have to choose whether you want unfinished wood flooring or finished wood flooring. Much like solid hardwood flooring and engineered wood flooring, your choice depends on the project.

Unfinished Wood Flooring Unfinished-Wood-Flooring-Wholes

Unfinished wood flooring, also known as site-finished, is exactly what it sounds like – the boards are not yet sanded or finished until they are installed and ‘finished’ at the work site. People who choose to use unfinished wood flooring enjoy the benefits of being able to even out the flooring when sanding and choosing a custom finish. Other benefits also include the ability to customize the flooring to exactly what you want or to match it to the existing flooring.

Finished Wood Flooring

Finished wood flooring is finished at the manufacturer facility. Finished wood flooring is a quicker and easier option, and can be less expensive. The benefits of finished wood flooring is that it is already sanded and the finish has already been applied, therefore making the process a much simpler and faster one. Other benefits include the stability of the material – the floorboards are able to contract and expand according to the environment it is exposed to (to a point).


Below is a pros and cons list comparing unfinished and finished hardwood floors:

no custom staining floor yes, can custom stain floor
prefinished with 3-9 coats** must apply finish on job site
ultra-violet cured urethane finish no UV cured urethane finish
can complete job in 1-2 days usually takes several days or a week
walk on after installation must wait for finish coats to dry
minimal mess and smells very messy and can smell
trims won’t match planks trims can be stained to match planks
can have “overwood” between planks planks are sanded smooth and flat
solid & engineered wood planks generally solid wood planks
costs less to install *** costs more to install ***
flooring more costly *** less costly for flooring ***



Now that you have a bit more knowledge on what types of hardwood floors are out there, you can make a more informed decision if you plan on installing hardwood floors to your home!

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