Choosing the Right Hardwood Flooring: A Guide to Species, Grades, and Finishes

how to choose hardwood floor

Hardwood flooring is a coveted choice among homeowners for its warmth and natural beauty. However, selecting flooring materials isn’t just about choosing a preferred colour. In this article, we will guide you through the process of how to choose a hardwood floor and the specific features you should be looking out for.

How To Choose The Right Hardwood Floor?

Consider The Wood Species

When choosing hardwood floors, it is important to note that the floor’s appearance can vary between different wood species and different woods will offer different benefits for functionality. For example, oak flooring is a popular choice in North America due to its durability, attractive natural grain, and its ability to take stains very well. If you are looking to install a harder wood and want more durability in your floors, hickory and maple are harder wood species than oak. Other hardwood varieties available in North America in addition to oak, maple, and hickory, are walnut, ash, and cherry.  

One question to ask when deciding to choose the right hardwood floor is what kind of look or feel you are trying to achieve. For example, a light oak floor can help create a sleek Scandinavian feel, whereas a dark walnut can evoke a more traditional feel in a room. Consider the colour of the hardwood floors and see how it complements your space. Lighter woods can make a room feel more spacious and darker woods are known to add warmth and elegance.


Select The Grain Of Wood

When choosing hardwood floors, the grain pattern is one of the most important factors. Depending on the way a piece of wood is cut, it will produce a different pattern on the planks of wood and affect the overall look of the floor’s look and texture. There are 3 common methods of cutting wood to achieve certain patterns:

Plain Sawn: This is the most common and most popular. It has traditional wood grain with patterns commonly known as cathedrals. 

Rift-Sawn: This type of cut results in a long and consistent grain but no cathedrals.

Quarter-Sawn: This wood is similar to rift-sawn, but it has irregular specs that produce a unique pattern.

In addition, different wood species have unique grain patterns such as straight, curly, wavy, or knotty which can impact the overall appearance of the floor.


Selecting The Type Of Finish

When you are choosing the right hardwood floor, consider that most finishes fall into either of the following categories:

Oil: This penetrates the wood and feels soft and matte. However, this kind of finish can make your floors susceptible to stains and scratches but it is easier to cover up scratches and do on-the-spot touch-ups. 

Polyurethane: Applying a polyurethane finish creates a hard topcoat on the wood surface that helps it become more resilient to wear and tear and is especially great for people with children and pets. If polyurethane gets damaged or scratched, you will need to replace a board or buff and refinish an entire section of the floor. 

The type of finish that you select will determine how you care for and clean up your hardwood floors and will affect the appearance and maintenance of the flooring. 

With extensive industry knowledge and experience guiding us, Smith Bros. Floors can offer you all the help in deciding how to choose a hardwood floor. We use only the best flooring and finishes to deliver a top-quality finished product to suit your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Choosing Environmentally-Friendly Flooring

Environmentally-Friendly Bamboo Flooring

People choose to install environmentally-friendly flooring in their homes when they want to make healthy, smart, and sustainable choices for the planet. If you have allergy sufferers in your home, or young children and pets who spend a lot of time on the floor then an eco-friendly flooring option is something that you should consider too. There are a variety of flooring options available that offer a sustainable and environmentally-friendly foundation for your upcoming home or office project. Read ahead to learn more about the green flooring options available in the market!

What To Look For In Environmentally-Friendly Flooring

In order for the flooring to be sustainable, you will want an option that is made of natural and renewable resources. In fact, you should consider the ethics behind the material – does the manufacturer source their products sustainably? Are recycled materials part of the final product? It is also a good idea to think about the life cycle of the flooring you choose as well. Long-lasting flooring is better for the environment and especially more so if it is biodegradable. 

Environmentally-Friendly Flooring Options


Cork is harvested from the bark (rather than the wood) of the cork oak tree and the bark grows back within three years making it a great renewable resource. Some cork floors are also made from recycled waste such as recycled cork from the wine cork industry. Cork flooring is durable and can resist cracking and indentations and is naturally resistant to mould, mildew, and termites.

This green flooring option is becoming popular with homeowners due to its ease of cleaning, durability, and sustainability. Sweeping and occasional mopping with a damp cloth is all you need to do to keep your cork floors looking great. This flooring material offers unmatched durability when compared to other flooring materials, and small scratches are able to blend into the overall flooring pattern. Once cork floors are sealed with polyurethane, they can continue looking beautiful for many years to come. When properly maintained, cork floors can last 40 years or more.



Similar to cork, hardwood is manufactured from a renewable resource. It has a very low carbon footprint when compared to other flooring materials when it is sourced locally. Hardwood is environmentally friendly while also being durable and long-lasting. Some hardwood floors have been in houses for hundreds of years! Hardwood can be refinished many times which restores its original beauty and extends its lifespan. It is much more eco-friendly than a complete floor replacement, and hardwood is biodegradable and can be recycled to be used in other projects like furniture, and accent walls, and can be burned for fuel. Hardwood flooring is a long-term investment, and the beauty and timeless appeal of hardwood floors are undeniable.

Smith Bros. Floors is family owned and operated and has been in the industry for decades. We take pride in our craftsmanship and use industry-leading flooring and finishes because we want your flooring to last for years to come. We provide impeccable customer service from site visit, to quote, to installation and follow-up. Contact us today to find the perfect floor!

4 Signs Your Hardwood Floors Need to be Refinished

4 Signs Your Hardwood Floors Need to be Refinished - Smith Bros Floors - Hardwood Flooring Experts Calgary - Featured Image

Hardwood floors are known to be durable, beautiful, and timeless. But like any feature in your home, they need a little love every once in a while to maintain that gorgeous finish. But how do you know when to get them refinished? Our 35 years of experience has taught us that sometimes the answer is in plain sight. Here are four simple ways to tell if your hardwood floors need to be refinished.


Water Damage

You need to act quickly when water damage occurs. Standing water or a leak can be disastrous to hardwood floors. If this ever happens, you won’t only need to dry the floors, but you’ll likely need to refinish them as well. There are a lot of nooks and crannies for water to slip into, causing warps or even mold growth.


Big Gouges or Chips

Over time, deep scratches can turn into gouges and suddenly you’re finding wood chips on your floor. Holes in your hardwood aren’t just unsightly, they are an opening to the surrounding wood. Water and debris can build up in these spaces, breaking down the wood and eating away at the stain. Furthermore, these can begin to splinter. Splintered wood can hurt your family, pets, and guests.



This sign occurs over time as well, though it can be more subtle than chips and gouges. There are two main types of discolouration to watch out for. The first is when your floors start to turn gray. This happens when the polyurethane coating starts to wear down and the floors experience water damage. The second is sun damage. For living rooms with great big bay windows, this can be the biggest threat. Faded floorboards are a huge red flag.


A Shift in Your Style

Hardwood floors often last longer than your personal preferences. Styles change, and refinishing is the perfect way to update your hardwood flooring. In many cases, you won’t need to completely replace them in order to do this. A simple sanding and refinishing could just do the trick!


Keep an eye on these four major warning signs to know when your hardwood floors need some extra love. Once you begin to see the faded areas and deep gouges, it’s time to call in the professionals. Contact us today for an estimate!