Hardwood flooring has enjoyed a boost in popularity thanks in no small part to the refinement of styles and material. This allows hardwood floors to give the same, durable beauty the material is known for while still delivering modern sensibilities and tastes. Here’s just a look at what hardwood has been offering today’s homeowners.
Enjoying the beauty and luxury
Engineered hardwood flooring has been on the rise since it allows homeowners to enjoy the beauty and luxury of hardwood floors without some of the traditional downsides. Engineered hardwood is less vulnerable to temperature and can resist moisture more easily than typical wood floors. While you still shouldn’t let water sit for long, engineered hardwood can be successfully used in basements and kitchens. This makes it a great choice for anyone looking to give their home a consistent look. Engineered hardwood planks are also more durable in general, not just to water and weather. This allows floors to withstand weight and daily wear-and-tear much more effectively. Since it combines the visual appeal of traditional hardwood with better resilience and durability, it’s no surprise that engineered hardwood is in vogue.
Not just the material
Hardwood flooring isn’t stylish just because wood is nice to look at. Everything from the finish to the shape of the planks offers an opportunity to express personal style and taste. Finishes can be used to make a floor stand out and make a bold statement, or let it be subdued and offer support to the rest of your interior design. Planks can be in traditional long rectangles, parquet squares, or other shapes to allow for the creation of unique geometric designs. Hardwood flooring will never go out of style because it offers homeowners so many ways to express themselves while consistently delivering timeless beauty.
Reclaimed wood comes from older buildings, usually barns. It is a form of recycling that delivers a unique, rustic appeal. In Toronto, hardwood flooring made from reclaimed wood stands out as a testament to a rugged history that distinguishes itself from more typical, sleeker looks. Every plank has its own history, appearance, and story that combine to offer a unique look. Reclaimed wood has several different types but typically comes in oak, chestnut, hickory, pine, or poplar. You can also find pine, elm, ash, and cypress, but these are not as common. This variety means it’s easy to find the type of wood you love while still staying green.
Dark wood floors are versatile and can give a room a formal look or lend a more rustic and casual atmosphere. For an extra antique look, you can use darker stains to make the floor appear aged and bring out its character. Another advantage to getting dark hardwood is that it goes well with a variety of colour pallets so you have more freedom when matching it with your walls and furniture. This is true whether you are using a varied pallet for modern styles or are leaning towards soft beige and earth tones.
You can create dark hardwood flooring by using naturally dark woods (cherry, walnut, etc.) or you can take a light wood and apply a dark stain. This is handy if you have your heart set on a type of wood that is less expensive, easier to maintain, or if it has a grain you just die for.
There are a few caveats to using dark wood floors that need to be kept in mind. First, it is best to avoid dark flooring in small rooms since it can draw attention to the size of the space, if you are trying to detract from that. Second, wider boards are better since fewer seams balance better against the darker shade. Lastly, be careful when using dark wood floors next to dark woodwork such as a table or cabinet. This is because people who are sensitive to colour matching may be distracted by differences in hue even if the type of wood is the same.
Light hardwood floors are ideal for smaller spaces
The light palette is also highly compatible and white finishes go with virtually anything. A handy trick is to use lighter burlap shades to enjoy the effect of light floors without committing to a true white colour. Natural, beige shades are the original neutral and are excellent for creating minimalist designs if you want a room to have a sleek, modern, or minimalist appeal. As an added bonus, light wood floors make it harder to see dust or dirt, just like white cars.
Pine and maple are the go-to woods for light hardwood flooring in Vaughan, but you can also use white finishes on darker woods as well. It’s important to remember that the type of finish you use can affect the overall shade of the wood. Using clear finishes on light woods will amplify their whiter shades while oil-based finishes offer a more amber hue.
Oil-based sealers penetrate throughout the wood and emphasizes the wood’s natural grain and colour. Since oil sealers are low-gloss, they are ideal for anyone who wants to keep the focus on their wood’s inherent beauty or promote an antique look. Oil sealers are straightforward to apply, making them extremely DIY-friendly, and need reapplication every five years or so. Keep in mind that oil finishes take 24-48 hours to dry per coat and a proper finish can require several applications.
Acid cured finishes are one of the most durable types of finishes available and are an excellent choice for soft, smooth, or exotic woods that need better-than-average protection. The catch is that acid finishes need more time to cure and set than other varieties. The curing process can take anywhere from several days to an entire month depending on humidity levels and the room will have a noxious odor during this period. Acid cured finishes are highly effective but also difficult to use and will require a professional to apply.
Water-based polyurethane is the most popular finish for hardwood flooring. It provides a clear, glossy coat that produces the signature shine these floors are known for. The finished wood is easy to clean thanks to its high sheen, but the trade-off is that scratches and imperfections can be easier to see, like how they are more noticeable against lighter surfaces. Incidentally, most prefinished floors use a water-based polyurethane finish, which is worth keeping in mind if you choose prefinished over site-finished.
Oil-based polyurethane is another popular choice and is commonly seen when browsing hardwood flooring in Toronto. It is more affordable than its water-based cousin and is easy to apply while still offering solid levels of protection. One thing to keep in mind when using oil-based polyurethane finishes is that they tend to take on a honey-like tint as they age. This can be a pro or a con depending on personal taste and preferences.
Wax is one of the oldest types of finishes still in use today and it offers a low-sheen look that penetrates throughout the wood. Wax is easy to apply by hand but is also more labor-intensive than some other DIY options. On the plus side, retouching a wax finish is straightforward and simple. Wax finishes tend to darken the wood they are used on, which can be advantageous for some designs, but others may wish to avoid this by first applying a layer of shellac or sanding sealer. Wax finishes need to be reapplied about every three years.