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Types of Wood Flooring – A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing

Types of Wood Flooring

With so many types of wood floors on the market, it can be tricky to determine which is right for your needs and budget. This comprehensive guide breaks down the most popular types of wood flooring, including solid hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, and more, along with the factors you need to consider when choosing wood floors.

Basic Types of Wood Flooring

1. Solid Hardwood Floors

Solid hardwood flooring

This floor type is milled from a single piece of wood, making it the most natural and highest-quality wood flooring option. Oak, maple, cherry, and walnut are common solid hardwood species.


  • Can be sanded and refinished many times, lasting over 100 years
  • Natural warmth and beauty
  • Increases home resale value
  • A variety of stain colors are available


  • The most expensive wood flooring option
  • Can dent, scratch, and warp if humidity fluctuates

2. Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors have a thin veneer, or top layer, of high-quality hardwood bonded to a sturdy plywood base. Such making makes this wood floor type more stable.


  • More dimensionally stable than solid wood
  • Well-suited for radiant heat and basement installations
  • Can still be sanded and refinished multiple times
  • Often less expensive than solid hardwood


  • The veneer layer is thinner than solid wood floors
  • Cannot be refinished as many times as solid wood

3. Laminate Wood Flooring

Laminate Wood Flooring

Laminate wood flooring has the look of real wood with a layer of photographic images fused to composite core boards. The top layer is sealed by a clear melamine resin for durability.


  • The most affordable “wood-like” flooring option
  • Extremely scratch and stain-resistant
  • Easy DIY/floating installation
  • A wide variety of styles mimicking wood grain


  • Cannot be refinished
  • Tends to sound more hollow underfoot

4. Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo wood flooring

Despite its name, bamboo is technically a grass that forms into a hardwood over years of growing. Bamboo floors consist of long stalks of bamboo pressed into planks.


  • One of the hardest, most durable floors
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable resource
  • Affordable price for a natural hardwood
  • Light blonde color for a contemporary look


  • Color variations in bamboo strips
  • Prone to scratching despite protective coating
  • Sensitive to moisture

5. Cork Flooring

Cork Wood Flooring

The material for this flooring is obtained from the bark of cork oak trees and can be pressed into durable floor tiles perfect for rooms like basements and kitchens.


  • Naturally water and stain-resistant
  • Adds warmth and cushion underfoot
  • Helps insulate against noise and heat/cold transfer
  • Sustainable and renewable resource


  • Not as hard and durable as wood floors
  • Difficult for do-it-yourself installations
  • Seams between cork planks may be visible

6. Exotic Wood Floors

Exotic wood flooring

Exotic wood floors showcase rare textures. They are sourced from the unique trees around the world, like Brazilian cherry, tigerwood, Brazilian walnut, and Purpleheart.


  • Offer unique colors, grain patterns, and textures
  • Increase a home’s resale value
  • Highly durable for busy areas
  • Conversation starter (wow factor)


  • Very expensive, often cost prohibitive
  • Sustainability and deforestation concerns with some species
  • Difficult installations are best left to professionals

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood Flooring

When deciding which type of wood floor is right for your home, here are some key considerations:


The cost can range dramatically from $2-8 per square foot, depending on materials used and installation. Prioritize quality within your budget constraints.

Traffic Volume

High-traffic areas may warrant spending more on extra durable options like exotic woods or commercial-grade products that can better withstand wear and tear. Consider your lifestyle.

Style & Aesthetic

Evaluate your interior design style. Rustic cabin? Modern farmhouse? Transitional suburban home? Your wood floor should complement your decor. Samples can help envision the look.


Opt for FSC-Certified wood from responsibly managed forests. Reclaimed and hand-scraped woods give a green second life to materials. Bamboo is highly renewable. Evaluate sustainability.

Installation Location

Some wood floors are better suited for basements, kitchens, or areas with radiant heating or potential moisture exposure. Assess each room’s needs.

Ease of Maintenance

All wood floors require some regular care and maintenance. How much time do you have to dedicate? Low maintenance options include super durable finishes and protective surface coatings.


Because there are so many kinds of wood flooring out there, you should be able to find one that meets both your practical needs and your style tastes. Take the time to think about the pros and cons of each type of wood floor. Also, pay close attention to important details like where the floor will go and how easy it is to maintain. If you do your homework and plan, you can be sure that your wood floors will be beautiful and add comfort, value, and good looks to your house for many years to come.

This is a guide to different types of wood flooring and what to think about when buying new floors. I tried to make it useful, clear, and well-organized. To make sure it was easy to read, I worked on using simple language, short sentences, and well-organized, clear sections. Let me know if you want me to change anything or add to the post.

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