hardwood floor plank

How to Choose the Right Hardwood Flooring

When selecting the optimal type of Chicago hardwood flooring several crucial factors come into play.

Firstly, considering the region’s diverse climate with cold winters and humidity variations, it’s wise to opt for hardwood species that are well-suited to such conditions, like oak, maple, or hickory.

These woods tend to be more stable and less prone to warping or expansion due to moisture changes. Additionally, a durable finish, such as polyurethane, will be essential to protect the floor from potential wear caused by heavy foot traffic and seasonal elements. 

Choosing a suitable color and grain pattern that complements your home’s interior design is equally important. Darker tones might add warmth, but can show scratches more readily, while lighter hues offer a more spacious feel. 

Ultimately, balancing aesthetic preferences with practical considerations like durability and climate resilience will help you make the best choice for your hardwood flooring in your Chicago residence.

Hardwood or solid wood flooring is made entirely from real wood. It is crafted from a single piece of solid wood, typically cut from trees like oak, maple, or acacia.

Hardwood floors have long been regarded as a traditional and timeless flooring option that are known to add value to any property.

Unlike engineered wood or laminate flooring, solid wood flooring can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing it to maintain its original value for decades. In today’s market, hardwood flooring is considered one of the most luxurious and desirable solutions for most homes.


red oak vs white oak hardwood


Oak is one of the most widely used tree species, has great durability and resilience. It has long been a choice for traditional and rustic designs because of its distinctive grain pattern and warm, golden tones. There are two common types of oak: red oak, which has a faintly reddish hue, and white oak, which has a more subdued grain and a cooler tone. White Oak is slightly more expensive and a bit stronger than Red Oak. Both species absorb very well the stain and are videly used in unfinished hardwood flooring. 


Maple hardwood has a smoother and more uniform appearance with a lighter color, often ranging from creamy white to light golden hues. It is slightly harder than oak, making it more resistant to dents and scratches, however, in most cases, it is also pricier than oak hardwood. The price difference is mainly due to availability and sourcing since there is an additional effort required for harvesting and processing maple trees. Maple is a preferred alternative for contemporary and minimalist designs because of its constant graining look.

hickory wood sample


A hardwood recognized for its extraordinary strength and toughness is hickory. It has a range of shades, from milky white to reddish-brown, with a striking grain pattern that combines bold swirls and straight lines. Similar to Red Oak, Hickory wood has a lot of caracter in its appearance. It does take staining and finishing well, however, due to it’s hardness, the sanding part takes some extra effort. 


Any room will feel luxurious with Brazilian Cherry hardwood flooring’s warm, reddish-brown tone, which deepens with age. It is indeed one of a kind and can’t be confused with anything else. Brazilian wood species are some of the hardest species listed on the Janka Hardness Chart. Brazilian Cherry is one of the most widely available hardwoods from this list. Due to its hardness and distinct color, this wood can only be buffed and varnished but no staining will apply. If you purchase a Brazilian Cherry wood it will most likely come prefinished from the manufacturer.

Brazilian Cherry wood sample
Acacia small leaf wood at Simple Flooring Company


Acacia hardwood floor is known for its unique look and great durability. Its rich and intense patterns, ranging from light golden to darker browns, create a unique, luxurious appearance. Acacia wood is highly dense making it resistant to dents, scratches, and wear. With its distinct beauty, strength, and resistance to wear, acacia hardwood is a popular choice for those seeking a truly unique flooring option. Similar to Brazilian Cherry, Acacia wood is rather difficult to refinish and in most cases, your wood floor will come prefinished from the manufacturer.


Another easily accessible hardwood option is American Walnut. Given that it is the softest wood on this list, it is typically not advised for homes with small children or pets because it can dent easily. However, in a formal living room or a more high-end setting, a walnut hardwood floor can serve as a gorgeous focal point. With its rich and deep colors, this wood radiates sophistication.

American Black Walnut wood
Ash hardwood floor


Ash hardwood flooring has delicate grain patterns and a bright, pale yellow color. Compared to other species, it has a more subdued look, making it a perfect fit for modern and Scandinavian-inspired environments. Ash flooring give any room a sense of brightness and space.

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the most popular and common hardwood floor species in North America, it’s worth mentioning that understanding wood grading is an extensive and quite complicated topic of its own. The grade, wood origin, and how it’s finished can all make a huge difference in the final look of your floor. 

Remember, hardwood floors are a product of nature and each floor is unique in its own way. So, it’s normal to have some imperfections. That’s part of what makes solid wood floors so special and beautiful.


maple hardwood project by Simple flooring Chicago
PXL_20220805_203904924 Large


Choosing the best option for your home’s hardwood flooring is important and calls for considerable thought. Deciding between unfinished and prefinished hardwood is one of the things to think about.


Unfinished Hardwood:

Unfinished hardwood is a term used to describe unfinished wood planks that are installed on-site before being stained and given protective coatings. Unfinished hardwood has a variety of advantages, including the ability to alter the final appearance of your floors. It is cheaper, the stain color, sheen level, and finish type are more flexible with this choice. Since it is sanded and finished after installation, unfinished hardwood also offers a smooth, uniform appearance. It’s essential to bear in mind, too, that installing unfinished hardwood can take longer and call for experienced specialists to handle the sanding and finishing.

Prefinished Hardwood:

As the name implies, prefinished hardwood refers to flooring that has been factory finished prior to installation. These planks offer a ready-to-install choice because they are pre-coated with stain and protection coatings. Even though this option is more expensive, the prefinished hardwood has many benefits, one of which is ease. There is no need for on-site sanding or finishing because the finishing process is carried out in a controlled manufacturing environment, which reduces installation time and minimizes dust or odors. Additionally, prefinished hardwood frequently has factory-applied warranties, giving customers confidence in the finish’s lifespan and sturdiness. However, compared to unpolished hardwood, customisation options could be constrained.


Regardless if you opt for an unfinished or prefinished hardwood, once your project is completed the maintenance part for them is the same.


  • Start by routinely sweeping or dusting your hardwood floors to remove any loose dirt or debris. For this job, a soft-bristle broom or microfiber dust mop works best because they efficiently collect dust without damaging the surface.
  • Use a vacuum with a floor brush attachment for a more thorough cleaning. In order to prevent any potential harm, make sure the vacuum is set on the hardwood floor setting. Vacuums with revolving brushes should be avoided since they can damage the wood. Finer particles and allergens that sweeping could miss are helped to remove by vacuuming.
  • To get rid of stains or persistent grime, you might need to damp mop your hardwood floors every now and then. Use a microfiber mop pad or a mop that has been thoroughly wrung out and saturated with a pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaner. Avoid too much moisture because it can damage the wood. Always adhere to the directions provided by the cleaner’s manufacturer.
  • Accidents happen, and it’s important to clean up spills on hardwood floors as soon as possible. Any spills or liquid messes should be cleaned up right away with a paper towel or soft, absorbent cloth. This stops moisture from penetrating the wood and harming it.
  • The best way to maintain the beauty of your hardwood floors is through preventive maintenance. Put doormats at the entrances to collect grit and debris before it gets to your floors. To shield furniture legs from dings and scratches, felt pads or furniture protectors can be used. Avoid using sharp tools or shoes with high heels that can scratch the wood.

Simple Flooring has the best selection of hardwood flooring for you to see in person. You can visit our hardwood flooring showroom just outside of Chicago at 1445 Tonne Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007, USA

On average, hardwood flooring installation in Chicago might range from $12 to $22 per square foot. This cost usually includes the cost of the flooring material itself, labor, and any additional expenses like underlayment or adhesive.

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