The Different Types of Wood Flooring

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Nothing else marries nature and class more than a beautiful, polished wooden floor. Wood floorings bring a modern touch to any home, and can liven up the room with their earthy patterns and colors.

A good deal of options are available, from hardwood trees like cherry, walnut, and oak, to more unique species like bamboo and mesquite. Whether you have white walls, dimmed lighting, or a vintage aesthetic, the right wood flooring can make any home feel warm and inviting. 

Which Flooring is Appropriate for your Home?

But how can you figure out which type of wood flooring is right for you? With so many options to choose from, deciding which flooring to go with can pose a challenge.

In this guide, we’ll review the different types of wood flooring so you can find the most appropriate kind for your home and office space. We’ll be assessing the different wooden materials based on hardiness, price point, and overall quality.

The Cost-Effective: Laminate

faux laminate wood planks on floor
Faux wood laminate mimics the look of natural wood.

A faux wood, laminate flooring offers the ornamentality of wood without its meticulous upkeep. Laminated is often made from fibers or chips compressed into a hard plank, then layered with a printed image of wood with a protective laminated finish - hence, laminate.

Laminate flooring is a good option for cost-effective flooring that will last long, and is impervious to water spills, oils, and rot. The material is preferred for frequently cleaned areas, as the protective laminated finish prevents damage from mild cleaning solutions.

However, poor quality control in cheap manufacturer options can do the opposite, and make your home look dingy. Low quality laminate flooring can have blurred designs that can be off putting, and even top quality laminate flooring cannot live up to the real thing. Keep in mind that, when choosing faux wood, the material would not be quite the same standard as natural wood. 

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★★

Good for: High traffic areas such as stairs, living rooms, and play rooms.

Highlights: Hardiness, Affordability, Accessibility

Cons: Poor quality control

The Durable: Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood is a slightly more expensive option for homeowners compared to laminate, but has a classier finish. Consisting layers of natural wood, engineered wood is typically made from hardwood trees that can withstand wear and tear. 

Using a click-and-lock fitting, engineered wood is easy to install without the need for adhesives. Its layered construction gives it an edge over solid wood in terms of durability, water-resistance, and overall hardiness. The layers also prevent warping over time, and when maintained properly, engineered wood can last for decades.

Despite its water resistance, engineered wood flooring can still accumulate damage over time. Poor quality planks can create loose air pockets that can warp flooring with regular use, while improper installation can create cracks for water to seep through.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★★

Good for: Moderately humid rooms, like kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and porches. Keep engineered wood away from high-moisture rooms like bathrooms and exposed patios.

Highlights: Easy Installation, Layered Construction, Durability

Cons: Cost, Pests like termites and wood worms

The Classic: Solid Wood

If you’re looking for the classic look and feel, solid wood flooring is your top choice. Each plank is made from an entire slab of solid wood, instead of layered pieces like engineered wood flooring, and its hardiness is dependent on the species the planks were made from. 

Hickory and Oak wood are popular options known for their hardiness, while the equally hardy Teak is prized for its exoticness and scratch resistance. Planks can be varnished or unvarnished, and are able to be sanded down to restore color, flatness, and finish.

While solid wood flooring is a luxurious option for any home, it comes with its own challenges in maintenance. Too much moisture can cause the wood to warp and decay, while dry climates can dwindle the wood. If solid wood flooring is your choice, go for areas with consistent humidity in order to make the most of the material.

Solid wood flooring makes the best decorative pieces in rooms where you can show them off, like dens, living rooms, and bedrooms. Avert installing solid wood flooring on high-moisture areas like bathrooms, decks, and kitchens.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★☆ - Dependent on the species of wooden material used for solid wood

Good for: Decorative areas like dens, and living rooms.

Highlights: Hardiness, Accessibility, Customization

Cons: Maintenance, Cost

The Vintage: Reclaimed Wood

For a truly vintage option, reclaimed wood is a sustainable way to have luxurious wood flooring. Reclaimed wood, as its name suggests, is essentially wood flooring that has stood the test of time, and is either refurbished or left in its original state. Reclaimed wood may have been old solid wood, or engineered wood flooring that has aged.

Some homeowners might be delighted to find a vintage wood flooring already laid out in their home from the previous owners. However, if you weren’t lucky enough to find reclaimed wood in your home, you can opt to buy them from older properties that chose to remove the wooden planks, or have been demolished altogether.

If you decide to use reclaimed wood in your home, make sure to check the state of the planks first. Some planks may have been covered up by carpeting or laminate and have sustained damage from the adhesives, or may have been ravaged by wood worms and termites. Check for any mold spots and rot, which would leave a musty smell in the wood. 

While reclaimed wood gives a rustic, vintage feel to your home, it is available in limited amounts due to the nature of its origin. Otherwise, reclaimed wood is hardy, and can provide a sense of refinement in any room.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★☆☆

Good for: Bedrooms, Den, Living Rooms, and other decorative areas

Highlights: Vintage Aesthetic, Sustainability, Cost-effective

Cons: Age, Limited Availability, Prone to damage over time

Helpful Tip: If your reclaimed wood isn’t refurbished yet, having a professional apply a protective varnish or seal can make your flooring last for generations!

The Aesthetically Pleasing: Parquet

Predominantly light blue living room with dark brown parquet flooring
Parquet flooring yields unique designs to make any space look modern.

That geometric patterned wood flooring you’re eyeing is most probably Parquet flooring, distinguishable by its zigzag or weave placement. Parquet consists of smaller slabs of wood arranged to create herringbone or intricate designs.

Parquet installation can be finicky, as each wooden strip is secured one by one. The end result, however, provides a more unique design than regular hardwood flooring, and can make for stunning decorative fixtures for high-activity areas like living rooms, and parlors. 

Due to its pattern, improperly installed parquet is prone to water damage, mold, and pests. Select rooms which have relatively low-moisture, but high-traffic as you would want to show off the floor design. Stay away from areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and pet rooms as these rooms are prone to frequent spillage.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★☆

Good for: Decorative areas like living rooms, parlors, and dens. 

Highlights: Durability, Aesthetic

Cons: Cost, Maintenance

The Sustainable: Bamboo

Empty room with chair, potted plant, ladder, and light wooden flooring
Bamboo is actually a grass, but acts like wood and is great for light flooring.

Bamboo flooring provides a lighter, finer wood flooring than its hardwood flooring counterparts. Though actually a grass, the hollow bamboo stalks can be split and processed similarly to wood. Bamboo makes for stunning flooring that is slightly more water-resistant, and can be varnished in darker colors. 

Bamboo has become a popular alternative for wood flooring, as it gives the look and feel of hardwood, at a fraction of the cost. Its hardiness trumps that of walnut trees, making it more durable in the long run. 

Unlike hardwood, bamboo flooring has finer grain patterns, and grows more sustainably as bamboo takes a much shorter time to mature than oak or maple trees. Bamboo is also less susceptible to mold, dust, and pollen. 

While natural bamboo has a relatively similar hardiness to hardwood, processed bamboo can contain toxic chemicals, and become weaker during the treatment process. Dyes and wood stains can also start the decay in bamboo flooring, as well as consistent exposure to moisture and sunlight. 

Overall, bamboo is an eco-friendly alternative to wood, and can be used for flooring in practically every room except high-moisture areas. More than just for flooring, bamboo makes for a durable material for chairs, tables, and other wooden fixtures as well.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★★

Good for: Most rooms except bathrooms and exposed patios.

Highlights: Hardiness, Sustainability, Water resistance 

Cons: Processed bamboo can be weaker and contain toxic chemicals, Bamboo is prone to scratches

The Moisture Resistant: Wood-Effect​​

Wood-mimicking tiles in bathroom
Wood-effect tiles can give humid areas a natural feel.

Majority of the types of wood floors are not appropriate for use in bathrooms and other high-moisture areas, but wood-effect tiles are perfect for these rooms as they can withstand temperature changes and moisture.

Wood-effect tiles combine the natural look of hardwood floors, with the moisture-resistance of tiles. Praised for its ability to be used in even the most saturated rooms, wood-effect tiles can give you a uniformed natural aesthetic throughout your home.

Although wood-effect tiles have captured the look of natural wood, walking over them still feels like cold tiles. As this option is still considered tiles, you would need to apply and maintain grout to prevent damage just as you would any regular ceramic tile. 

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★★★★

Good for: High traffic areas such as stairs, living rooms, and play rooms.

Highlights: Water-resistance, Affordability

Cons: Tile feel, Cold, Requires Grout Installation

The Eco-Friendly: Cork

Cork flooring is one of the types of wood flooring made from the bark of the oak tree, instead of the wood itself. As a more eco-friendly option, the bark of the tree can be harvested without harming or cutting the plant. The softness of the material makes it a good option for bedrooms, particularly kid’s rooms, as they also block sound.

Cork flooring is naturally resistant to mold and mildew, but has a softer texture and is prone to warping under the pressure of everyday usage. Heavy furniture, like sofas, tables, and refrigerators, can also dent the material. 

As a natural resource, cork flooring is also biodegradable and compostable, yet is durable enough for frequent use. However, the material would not last as long as hardwood, even with protective varnish.

Cost: $$$

Hardiness: ★★☆☆☆

Good for: High traffic areas such as stairs, living rooms, and play rooms.

Highlights: Sound-proof, Affordability

Cons: Durability

Helpful Tip: When deciding on cork flooring, spring for good-quality cork that is processed cleanly, packed tight, and completely varnished to ensure the material will last long. At the end of its life, look for recycling companies that handle cork for proper disposal.

Types of Wood Finishes

Now that you’ve narrowed down your options for wood flooring, you should look into the different types of wood finishes to protect your floors from dust, mold, and moisture. 

Natural Oil

There’s nothing wrong with going for the natural route, and natural oils like linseed and tung are safe and popular options for homeowners to maintain shine in their hardwood floors. Additionally, natural oils seep deep into wood fibres to create a water-resistant shield. 

Natural oils are relatively inexpensive, and are easy to use even with the DIY route. When purchasing natural oils, choose a reputable supplier that can offer you a selection of pure, unadulterated oils.


Hardwax is another popular option that is used commonly around many households. Hardwax, made from a mixture of natural oils and waxes, provides shine and dries in a hard finish. Hardwax has a more solidified texture compared to the greasiness of natural oils, and repels water well. 

When choosing hardwax, natural is the way to go. Look for waxes that are made from soy or beeswax, and do not contain any ingredients that may cause damage to your hardwood floors.


Whether oil or water based, polyurethane is a commonly used finish for wood floors as it applies clear, and dries clear. A more moisture-resistant finish than natural oils, polyurethane provides a high gloss appearance, solidifies when dried, and leaves a protective layer on wood that can last for years.

While the water-based solution is typically odor-less, the oil-based version has a strong smell, and leaves an amber finish instead of a clear one. When working with oil-based polyurethane, make sure to have ample air circulation, open vents and windows, and wear a mask.

Choosing the Best Types of Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors bring elegance to your home, but knowing which type of wooden floor is right for your room is key to making the best bang for your buck. 

Just remember that wood and water don’t mix, but you have no shortage of options for different wood floorings that can make your rooms pop. Choosing the right finish can also lengthen the lifespan of your wood floors, as well as give it a pristine shine that can wow any guest.

Check our blog for tips on how to clean your wood floors, ceramic tiles, and more!

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