Every hardwood floor creates a distinct feel. It might be cozy, casual, rustic, formal, elegant, dark, bright, or any number of other moods, but each floor has a character that sets the tone for a room.
Five elements will be crucial in determining the feel of your finished hardwood flooring.
Each species has a unique grain pattern. Some species have prominent patterns; others are more subtle. For a sleek, minimalist look, or for a formal room, less-prominent grain is often preferred, whereas bolder grain patterns create a more traditional, casual look.
You’ll also need to consider whether you can see pores within the grain (“open” grain) and how the boards are cut.
Each species also has a unique color. Light colors create a more open, breezy feel, while dark colors generally help “warm up” a room.
You also can decide to stain your hardwood floors to alter the natural color or accentuate it.
Hardwood floors can be wire-brushed, hand-scraped, or hand-distressed to add texture that helps create rustic, aged, and well-lived-in looks.
Hardwood is generally categorized as first, second, third, or rustic grade, but first grade isn’t necessarily the best—it just means it has the least color variation, knots, wormholes and other “defects.” Which grade is best depends on the look you’re after. If you want a natural look, irregularities in the wood are signs of character.
Finished hardwood flooring will reflect light, but how much (its “sheen”) depends on how it’s finished. There are various levels of sheen, ranging from high-gloss (very reflective) to low luster (the appearance of no finish at all). Typically, the more reflective a finish, the more formal floors appear.
Putting It All Together: Ralph’s Hardwood Floor Collections
We’ve been installing finished wood floors for almost half a century, giving us plenty of opportunity to learn firsthand which combinations of species, color, texture, grade, and sheen work best together to create certain moods.
Over the years, we’ve used this knowledge to develop a line of hardwood floor Collections. Each Collection consists of multiple hardwood floor choices, which we designed by matching each of the five elements above to achieve a specific look and mood.
If you’re after a particular feel, there’s a good chance we have a product in one of our Collections that was designed with that feel in mind.
Not sure of what you want? Looking over our Collections can help you see the possibilities.