Which Hardwood Floors Work Best With Light Hardwood Cabinets?

For a very long time, lightly colored hardwoods were the most popular for floors, cabinets, and furniture. Recently, dark hardwoods and bold stains have become very popular. However, a light colored wood is still popular, especially for kitchen cabinets. There are a couple of ways to achieve a light color; you could pick a wood such as white oak that is naturally very light. You can also stain or paint your hardwood cabinets a light color. If you’ve got hardwood cabinets that you like, you might want to pair your floor to match them. So, which hardwood floors work best with light hardwood cabinets?

Yellowish Woods

A yellowish hickory is a great choice for a hardwood floor because it will match lightly colored cabinets very well. It is perfect if you have a warm color on your light cabinets. Yellow is a fairly warm color, which is why it pairs well with other warm colors. Other warm colors could be red, yellow, orange or something along those lines. Those colors generally are somewhat dark but they can work very well in light colors. Pair a light colored yellowish hickory with light colored cabinets for a very bright and open look.

White-Washed Wood

White washing was once very popular but has since become less prominent; however, it is still found in some very exciting applications. There are several different types of white wash. The original white wash is a lime suspension in water; it was less expensive than paint but still protected against rot. You can still buy hardwood floors that are lime washed to get the washed-out, grayish look. That look will pair very well with light cabinets as well. There are some more modern stains that will give you the same look without requiring you to apply the wash every few years. That’s probably the best option for someone who wants a professional, low-maintenance job.

Gray Hardwood

Gray hardwoods are having a bit of a moment in terms of trends. There are a few hardwoods that are naturally gray but typically, they are stained gray. They can also be painted as well. Gray is great for matching with light cabinets because there are so many shades of gray. A light gray will blend well with the cabinets to create a very open look. Dark gray will contrast against the cabinets and make them stand out.

Any of these will pair very well with your lightly-colored cabinets.

The Best Hardwood Floors For People With Dogs

If you want hardwood floors for your home but you have dogs, you need to consider a few things. Namely, the dog is likely to slip and slide around on your hardwood floor, especially if the floor is new. Also, the dog’s claws can scratch at the finish on the floor or even scratch at the wood. There are a few ways to avoid these problems. Many people will recommend a harder wood that will be more resistant to scratches. That’s a great idea but it will not account for the slipping and sliding of your dog on the slippery floor. If you want a floor that won’t show scratches and that your dog can walk on easily, you should consider a textured hardwood floor. Fortunately, textured hardwood is very on trend right now.

Textured Hardwood

Textured hardwood is, as the name implies, hardwood that has a surface texture other than polished smooth. There are several different types of textured hardwood floors but the two that are best for dog owners are open grain floors and wire brushed floors. An open grain floor is one that is sanded differently than a standard hardwood floor. A standard hardwood floor is sanded smooth as possible. An open grain hardwood floor is one that emphasizes the natural grain of the wood.

Open grain hardwood has pores and grains so large that they actually stand up on the surface of the wood and are easily visible. You can run your hand over the floor and feel the grain. While your dog’s claws might still scratch an open grain wood, the scratches will be much less prominent. The surface is already riddled with imperfections and texture; a few scratches won’t stand out. Your dog should also be able to get better traction on the wood as well.

Wire Brushed Wood

If you don’t want an open grain wood type, you can still get a textured floor. A wire-brushed floor is one that has been brushed with a wire-bristled brush. The metal bristles scrape at the wood to make subtle scratches all over the wood. The subtle scratches help to reduce the shimmer of the wood to make it more understated. They also better replicate the distressed look of aged wood that is very trendy right now. The hundreds of thousands of tiny scratches act as tiny treads that will give your dog some traction.

These two different types of textured hardwoods are very popular right now simply for aesthetic reasons. They also have utilitarian uses.

Can You Install Hardwood On Your Porch?

Hardwood is often thought of as purely a type of flooring for your living room or even your kitchen. It’s thought of as a luxurious type of flooring that is high maintenance but looks great. However, hardwood flooring used to be one of the only ways to install a floor on a home. That means it was used in practically every room of a house. Is that still the case?

Choosing the Right Hardwood

Every hardwood is different. Some of them are more appropriate than others for installation on a porch. When installing wood on a porch, the concerns are going to be sun, precipitation, and pests. Pests such as termites enjoy damp wood that has vulnerabilities such as cracks or splinters. Precipitation such as snow and rain will slowly penetrate into the pores of the wood to cause it to swell and crack. This can also lead to mold and mildew that will eat at your porch. Finally, the sun will dry out the wood, causing it to contract. The sun will also bleach the surface of the wood over time.

If you’re installing wood on the porch, you need to choose a wood that is not as susceptible to these things. Many types of hardwood have natural oils that make them less vulnerable to mold and mildew. Some are even resistant to pests. Ipe and teak are examples of wood that is great for use outdoors. They’re also woods that are often used when constructing classic boats. They were used to create boats because of the same properties that make them great for a porch.

Ask an Expert

Installing hardwood on your porch is not terribly common anymore but it’s not unheard of. When you’re looking at hardwood for your porch, you should talk with a flooring expert about what to expect. They’ll tell you how to avoid cupping, warping, and swelling. The changing temperatures will affect the wood but a good plan of action can mitigate the changes.

They’ll also be able to help you choose between prefinished hardwood and unfinished hardwood. Prefinished wood is often considered to have a stronger resistance to rot and damage. Furthermore, engineered hardwood is often thought to be more resistant to warping. These are all considerations that could affect the choice you make.

What Is Scratching Your Hardwood Floor?

Scratches in hardwood floors are very difficult to get out. If you haven’t figured out what is scratching them, you could find yourself spinning in circles. You sand and refinish a scratched section, only to find a new section is scratched up. You have to diagnose the source of the scratching before you can put an end to it. Here are some of the common culprits.

High Heel Shoes

If you have to wear them for work or if you are inviting guests over for a party, high heel shoes could be scratching your floor. That’s especially true if the heels are stilettos and if they’re damaged. High heels place a lot of pressure on your floor, but typically, not enough to dent or scratch the floor. That’s because the heels typically have a rubber cap over the point of contact. However, that rubber cap will wear down over time. So, if the heel has exposed the hard material underneath, it can easily scratch the floor.

High heels, especially damaged ones, can be very slippery on a hardwood floor as well. You’re probably better off just carrying them and putting them on in the car or leaving them by the door. Your floor and your ankles will thank you.

Pet Claws

Pet claws can be harder than most hardwoods. If they’re left untrimmed, they can scrape and gouge the hardwood flooring. In fact, untrimmed claws can scratch past the protective finish and scratch the wood. If you keep the nails trimmed, they’re less likely to scratch all the way down to the wood; however, they will still affect the hardwood. Your best options for pet claws are to keep them trimmed and to put down some runners for your pet. They’ll prefer the better traction of a rug anyway.


If you have dinner chairs, they could be scratching your carpet. As someone slides them out and scoots up to the table, they could be leaving tiny scratches in the wood. Some chairs are made of woods that are harder than flooring wood. Others have nails or screws that could protrude from the wood. The best option is rubber caps that go over the chair legs. The rubber caps will keep the chair from scratching up your hardwood. It will also keep the chairs from sliding around.

These are common culprits but definitely not the only ones. Furniture, dirt, and household chemicals could be scratching your floor as well.

Never Do These Things to Your Hardwood Floor

When properly maintained, a hardwood floor is very resilient. The hardwoods used for the flooring are very hard, and the finishes protect them even further. However, some things acn still damage your wood flooring. Other things make it more susceptible to damage. For example, anything that degrades teh polyurethane or oil coating on the floor will increase the chances of damage to your floor.

Never Use an Abrasive Cleaner

Some cleaners that you can buy, especially ones designed for scrubbing the bathroom, tend to come with abrasive elements. The cleaner itself could be a powder, or it just might contain scrubbing elements. Either way, those elements are designed for materials harder than hardwood such as porcelain. If you use an abrasive cleaner on your floor, you could scratch the finish on the floor. In some cases, you could even scratch the hardwood itself.

Never Use Harsh Chemicals

Certain chemicals that you use on your hardwood floor could be too harsh for the coating on your floor. Most floors are coated in either polyurethane or oil. The polyurethane or oil serves to protect the wood itself. If you use a harsh chemical that eats away at the oil or polyurethane, it could expose the wood tod amage. Furthermore, you should void even mild chemicals that will interact negatively with your floor.

For example, dish soap is designed to cut through oil. If you have an oiled floor, dish soap will remove the protective layer even though it’s a relatively mild chemical.

Never Pour Chemicals Directly on the Floor

When you’re cleaning your hardwood floor, it can be tempting to just pour the cleaning chemicals on the floor and then spread them around with a mop or brush. However, that could create problems similar to pouring water directly on the floor. If the chemical seeps between the planks of wood, it can cause moisture to be trapped in the flooring. That can lead to mold, mildew, and warping. Instead, apply the chemical to your cleaning apparatus, and then spread it around.

Never Use Scratching Brushes

Some brushes designed for cleaning dishes or the bathroom could actually be too harsh for your wooden floor. A wire brush, for example, can be used to clean porcelain but it will scratch hardwood. A good layer of polyurethane or oil should protect the hardwood floor. If you need to scrub it to get it clean, you need to make sure you clean more often and/or reapply your finish.

Selecting Flooring for New Construction

Choosing the different finishes for your new construction project is an exciting process. There are a lot of choices for flooring and each with its own benefits and limitations. Starting from scratch with a new construction flooring project can be overwhelming especially when you look at all the different flooring types on the market. When you are starting to select flooring you will want to think about the furnishings and feel of your home to ensure the flooring will fit your style.

Stone flooring is a popular flooring type and can be a great option for some homeowners. Stone flooring can be sandstone, marble, limestone or other flooring types. Stone flooring is easy to maintain, helps keep allergies at bay, and can last for years to come. Stone just needs to be swept and occasionally mopped.

Hardwood is another popular flooring type and comes in a lot of different varieties. There is solid hardwood as well as engineered hardwood. These are both classic options that are warm and inviting while still being durable. Hardwood really adds a level of luxury to any more. Hardwood comes in a variety of plank sizes and lengths to change the character of the space. Hardwood is susceptible to damage and dropping heavy items, sliding furniture and some everyday usage can lead to dents and scratching.

Laminate is another flooring choice that is wallet friendly and can look like wood, stone or brick flooring. There are a lot of different styles, colors and patterns available and laminate is good for resisting dents, scratches and staining. Laminate can warm and discolor if liquid is spilt on them.

Tile is another great flooring choice and works best in specific rooms of your home like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. There are tons of colors, sizes, styles and faux finishes available within the tile flooring family. You can even choose tile flooring that looks like wood or stone. Tile is a great option because it is easy to clean, durable and versatile.

Carpet is also a great choice depending on the room you are putting flooring in and what style you are wanting. Good quality carpet can last for a long time and is warm and inviting. Carpet can work well in hallways, in bedrooms and bonus rooms. Carpet does require some upkeep to keep it clean and length its life.

The flooring you choose for your home will vary based on what your needs are. Homes with small children may want more durable flooring and carpet in the family room for playing while a family with pets pay want all hard flooring to eliminate allergens. Your contractor and designer can help you with style and design choices for flooring but the type of flooring is really an individual choice.

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Explaining the Natural Grade Hardwood Flooring Trend

Natural grade flooring is a prominent trend that has been growing in the previous few months. The move towards natural grade flooring is consistent with other trends towards more natural and rustic looking flooring. Other similar trends are moves towards wide planks, reclaimed wood, and hand-scraped wood. A natural grade floor is one that is made from many different grades of wood, which means that it will more closely mimic the natural state of the wood.

Explaining the Wood Grades

Wood flooring tends to come in four different grades. Clear grade is the finest and most uniform grade of wood. In this grade, the wood grain is tight and understated. There are no imperfections, knots, mineral streaks, or worm holes in the wood. These planks are basically flawless. The next grade is select grade. A select grade wood plank is close to a clear grade but it will have some differences in wood tone and coloring. The grain might be more pronounced and little more irregular.

The next two grades are common grades one and two. Common grade two has the most imperfections, color variations, inconsistencies, mineral marks, and wormholes. It is a very irregular wood that lacks almost any consistency. To create a natural grade hardwood floor, all four of these grades are mixed together.

Natural Grade Flooring

When manufacturers mix together all four of these grades of wood, they create something that more closely resembles an entire tree. A tree is made up of many different kinds of wood, affected by all kinds of outside influences, and greatly altered by the way it grew. That means that the hardwood flooring of the past was very inconsistent; it was what would now be called natural grade.

Manufacturers in the past used every part of a tree, which means that they would use multiple grades. If you want your flooring to look more classic and timeless, you should consider natural grade flooring.


Natural grade flooring is also more diverse than higher grades. They are easier to repair because there is already a significant amount of inconsistency in the wood. That means that replacing a damaged plank with a mismatched plank won’t stand out too terribly. Furthermore, you’ll be able to mix and match widths and lengths to give it an even more authentic look.

The natural grade flooring trend has also led to some less expensive floors because more of a tree can be used. Also, some parts of the tree that were previously thought undesirable are being used in great-looking floors.

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Black Stains Are Very Trendy in Hardwood Flooring

There are many different materials in 2018 that are designed to look and feel like hardwood flooring. None of them match the warmth, comfort, and timeless quality of authentic hardwood though. Also, they are not nearly as durable. If you take good care of your hardwood floor, you can keep it for several decades. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right hardwood floor; they can be an investment that will last you for a very long time. So, what is popular in 2018 and what will be popular for the next decade or two?

Dark Stains

Dark stains have been popular for up to a decade. In the past, hardwood floors were almost all light colors or even just bare wood. However, that has been changing for awhile now. That means that you will likely be able to find a manufacturer who offers hardwood flooring stains in a range of colors. Furthermore, it will be more likely that your floor will still look great a decade from now. Everyone has an experience of getting on board with a trend that did not age very well. Dark stains are not going to be like that. So, what colors are popular?

Black Floors

As stated earlier, hardwood stains have been trending darker for years and years. Well, they have finally reached their natural conclusion: black floors. There are a few options for black floors. Usually, the flooring professionals will offer you a range of different shades of black. Typically, they will mix an ebony stain with a dark walnut. Ebony stain is a thin, black stain. That means that it will soak into the wood, and the wood grain will rise to the top. The wood will still be noticeably brown, especially in the grain. If you want it to be darker or if you want to hide some of the grain, you can find a thicker stain that is a true black.

A true black stain is very popular for people who have different types of wood in their hardwood floor. For example, if you have had to replace damaged planks or if you want to match rooms in different floors, you’ll have a hard time making the grains and colors match. However, a dark black stain that masks some of the grain will cover up any differences.

That’s one reason black is so popular; it is very easy to repair and match with other woods. The biggest concern is that black floors will show every bit of dust; you will have to stay on top of your cleaning regimen.

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Hardwood Flooring Takes a Turn for the Exotic

The most common hardwood used for flooring in the United States is oak. Oak generally comes in two different varieties: red oak and white oak. Red oak generally ranks about 1260 on the janka hardness scale. White oak is a little bit harder at 1360. Both of them are great choices for hardwood floors because they are readily available, hard, and very attractive. They provide floors with a great grain; they’re easy to clean and easy to maintain. However, oak floors are not necessarily the most trendy floors. They’re something of a base type of hardwood flooring. If you want something a little more exotic or unique, you’re in luck. Exotic woods are very popular now.

Brazilian Woods

Some of the hardest and most popular exotic woods are Brazilian woods such as Brazilian teak and Brazilian walnut. Brazilian walnut is, in fact, one of the hardest woods readily available for flooring. It is more expensive than other types woods because it is more rare and harder to mill. However, it is such a unique wood with such a unique grain pattern that it will always stand out. Also, a wood that is that hard will resist scratching very well.

African Ebony

Ebony wood is known for its dark color that ranges from a very deep brown to almost a jet black. However, that’s only the heartwood. The sapwood is pinkish that trends towards a darker red. If you have a floor that is made of ebony sapwood, it will be a deep red color that will deepen over time. If you have an ebony heartwood floor, it will range from dark brown to completely black.

Ebony wood is also a very hard wood, which means that it will last a long time. If you want a dark wood without having to stain it, you should consider ebony. If it’s a naturally dark wood without a stain, that means you’ll be able to sand away scratches or damaged portions without affecting the color.

Australian Red Mahogany

Another wood that is popular is Australian red mahogany. This wood, as the name suggests, is reddish in color. The heartwood is a rich, dark red in color. The sapwood is a creamier, lighter complexion. The wood is very hard but it has an open, coarse grain. That means that it will take stains better than many woods of similar hardness.

These are three exotic woods that have been trending in popularity. The popularity of rare woods generally depends on their appearance and their hardness. All three of these woods are beautiful and very hard.

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Can You Install Hardwood in the Kitchen?

Hardwood flooring suppliers and installers are often asked what alternative to hardwood can be used for the kitchen. There are a lot of conflicting ideas about whether hardwood can be installed in the kitchen at all. Well, it can be but you need to be aware of the concerns. Many people believe hardwood flooring cannot be installed in the kitchen because hardwood flooring is susceptible to heat and moisture. The kitchen, obviously, is very vulnerable to spills and drastic changes in temperature. That means that you’ll need to be able to account for that.

Engineered Hardwood or Solid?

Since heat and moisture vary so considerably in the kitchen, you need to be concerned about cupping. Cupping occurs when heat and moisture cause the edges of the wooden planks to curl upward. To avoid this, you could choose engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is made from a thin veneer of hardwood with plywood or pressboard underneath. The layers of softer wood and the glue itself help to prevent moisture from getting into the layers of the wood. That means that it will be less likely to cup.

Prefinished Hardwood

You should also consider the finish on your wood. The finish will protect the wood from moisture and heat. One solid option is prefinished hardwood. Prefinished hardwood is treated at a factory with urethane that is embedded with aluminum oxide crystals. This finish is harder and more durable than anything that could possibly be applied on site. You will not be able to change the stain or the seal on your floor, but it will last as much as five times longer than polyurethane.

Invest in Fans

The biggest danger your floor will be in is from moisture. To combat that danger, you need to be able to dry your kitchen as quickly as possible. The best ways to do that are with dehumidifiers and with fans. If you can blow a fan across the surface of the floor or dehumidify the kitchen, you will reduce the likelihood that the floor will be damaged by moisture. A local dehumidifier tends to work very well if you don’t want to dehumidify your entire house with an HVAC system.

Wooden floors in the kitchen require a little more work than some synthetic materials, but they are definitely worth the extra effort. You should seriously consider these durable and attractive floors. They’ll last for a very long time and look great the entire time.

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