The best brands of hardwood flooring are Westhollow, North American Hardwood and Kahrs. These brands consistently receive top ratings for quality, appearance, durability, price, warranty options and customer satisfaction. Other notable flooring brands include Harris Taskett, Kahrs and Mannington.
There are two kinds of hardwood flooring: solid wood and engineered wood. Solid wood flooring is heavier and more resilient than engineered floor panels. The price of solid wood flooring depends heavily on the type of wood involved. Exotic woods, such as Brazilian cherry, make beautiful floors but are prohibitively expensive for modest budgets. However, solid wood panels made from domestic tree species often cost less than comparable engineered flooring.
The true cost of hardwood flooring includes more than the material. Installation, staining, finishing and maintenance costs are also important factors. Engineered hardwood flooring has a low installation cost because it does not require sanding, staining or finishing. Solid hardwood floor installation includes all three processes, and the floors require periodic sanding and refinishing.
There are several alternatives to solid and engineered hardwood flooring. Cork is an affordable, popular and ecologically sustainable option. It comes in a large variety of colors and patterns. Cork is also an effective acoustic dampener that reduces noise from footfalls and moving furniture.
Bamboo is another sustainable alternative to traditional hardwood floors. It has an elegant, streamlined appearance and requires the same care as solid wood floors. The primary advantage of bamboo is its natural durability, which is comparable to red oak.