Hardwood is one of the most versatile and durable flooring materials on the market, and it has the added benefit of never going out of style. Before you decide to install hardwood floors in your home, take the time to ask yourself the following questions so that you are making the smartest investment possible:

1. Which species is right for me? 

The answer to this question is going to depend heavily on your personal style preferences and budget concerns. If you’d like to make a space look more open and airy, you might choose to select a lighter-colored wood like maple. Warm-colored woods like hickory and oak can make a room appear cozy and inviting. To achieve understated refinement and sophistication, consider a darker wood such as walnut.

2. Should I take my pets and children into consideration?

You should absolutely account for your lifestyle when selecting hardwood floors. If you’re someone that has a high-traffic house, you’ll probably want to go with a harder wood that will be able to stand up to potential scratches and dents. Notably, you can also play around with grain patterns, stains and finishes that can disguise any harm that might come upon your hardwood.

3. Will the lighting in my home affect the color and quality of my hardwood floors over time?

Like all things natural, hardwood floors will experience a slight change in color over time. This process, known as patina, will slowly add character and beauty to your home. If you prefer to minimize this process, you will most likely want to install sunlight-blocking window treatments and purchase some area rugs that can be rotated around the room every so often to protect the color of the wood.

4. How can I know for sure that I’m making the right choice?

The last thing that you want to do is quickly decide to install a certain variety of hardwood flooring in a large space of your home and then realize that you might not have made the best possible selection. You might find that it poses a bad contrast with your furniture or that it is far too light or dark. It’s a good idea to always ask for a 2×2 foot sample of your final selection with the stain and finish that you plan to apply to the final product. The sample can be tested against the color of your walls and the furnishings in the room.

After careful consideration, you’ll be ready to make an educated decision about the hardwood floors that you’d like to install in your home and you’ll be rewarded with an investment that will last a lifetime.