Wood

Hardwood flooring comes as strips 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches wide or planks 4 to 8 inches wide. Domestic species include oak, maple and black walnut. Regional varieties, such as pecan, chinquapin and mesquite, are not widely distributed but offer distinctive grain patterns.

The availability of exotic species of hardwoods varies with market conditions, and popular imported varieties include Brazilian cherry, purpleheart, and African pedauk. To make sure the wood flooring you buy is harvested from sustainable, managed forests, look for certification from the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative).

Coatings for prefinished hardwood have benefited from technological advancements, and finishes may include additives such as ceramics, aluminum oxide, and acrylic monomers that produce incredibly tough surfaces.

Solid wood must be nailed to a subfloor. An advantage of solid wood is that it can be refinished many times over its lifespan.