Hardwood Floor Patterns, Edges and Styles
No matter what color or finish you select, it’s the hardwood patterns and edges can add that ‘WOW’ factor to your rooms.
From thin strips of flooring to wide planks, and various geometric patterns, the hardwood patterns and edges you choose will either create a distinct look, or a more neutral one.
Widths and Lengths
Hardwood floor is sold in various widths and lengths.
Widths are sold in three various sizes:
- Strips, which are approximately 2¼” wide.
- Planks, which range from 3 inches to 7 inches wide.
- Random widths, which vary depending on the manufacturer’s discretion and availability. This can create more of a reclaimed or rustic look.
When dealing with a solid hardwood, a wider plank will have more expansion and contraction with weather changes. Stick with hardwood strips or an engineered product if you have uncertain weather.
Flooring lengths don’t give you quite as many options. Most manufacturers sell hardwood flooring with a variety of lengths in each box. They will note on the box the range of lengths. If you want your floors to all be the same length (which often signals a higher quality), it’s more expensive.
No matter which option you choose, your floors will still appear to be varying lengths because they are staggered during installation and must be cut.
There’s several patterns when it comes to installing your hardwoods – some a little more fancy than others. The two most common are plank style and parquet style.
- Laying the ends of the planks or strips together. This is the most common and traditional installation of hardwood floors.
- Planks should be laid length-wise to natural light and windows.
- Parquet style is when you create a geometric shape using the wood floors. This is more expensive and gives an elegant, classic look.
This is where the floors are laid diagonally. There are several subsets of this pattern, including:
- Brick pattern, where the floors look like bricks.
- Diagonal basket, where the floor is laid in diagonal squares with three boards per square.
- Square basket, where the floors are laid in a linear pattern with alternating horizontal and vertical squares, using three boards per square.
- Square and diagonal herringbone, where the pattern is in a zigzag parallel with the walls.
- Single herringbone, where the floors are laid in an M shape with only one board per angle.
- Double herringbone, where the floors are laid in a W shape with two boards per angle.
- Chevron, where the floors are laid in a V shape.
With the random width hardwoods, you can create a unique pattern in your space. Usually laid length wise or horizontal, you can achieve more of a rustic feel by mixing up the sizes of the wood.
Want to add a little bit of luxury to your room? Lay the floor diagonally! This is especially appealing in larger rooms. Most diagonal floors are laid at a 45 degree angle, but just a slight angle can also add dimension and help to transition one room to the next.
You can also frame your room with a hardwood border. Use a simple one or two plank frame, or spice things up with a geometric patterned border. This is especially popular in entry ways and foyers to make a statement upon entry.
Natural vs. Stained
Every piece of prefinished hardwood flooring is stained with a protective finish. Sometimes, this protective finish is clear, bringing out the natural color and pattern of the wood. Other times, the manufacturer will use a tinted finish to stain the wood a specific color.
Natural coloring is most often used with exotic species. Other species are light or dark in color. The clear coat enhances their natural hues making them look bolder and more attractive. For example, Maple and Red Oak are light in color, while Brazilian Teak and Wenge are dark. These colors remain true to their natural form when the clear protective sealant is applied.
Stains give manufacturers a little more flexibility to offer a full spectrum of color options. Some manufacturers use a variety of species and stain options to give you a wider selection of colors to choose from. These can give a glossy, matter or more weathered appearance.
Some manufacturers will make it easier on the buyer to find the right hue by categorizing the colors into “light,” medium,” and “dark.” Other manufacturers will break it down a little further by categorizing floors into “yellows,” “golds,” “tans,” “browns,” and “blacks.” This categorization approach is often used by dealers to combine the various color choices in a way that makes it easy for shoppers to browse.
Color Changes Due to Light
Wood is sensitive to the light. Over time, the color can darken the more the wood is exposed to sunlight. Some types of wood are more sensitive than others. If you live in a primarily sunny area, these floors might not be on your list.
If you’re concerned about your flooring darkening over time from the sunlight, you might want to avoid these types of wood:
- American Cherry
- Australian Cypress
- Brazilian Cherry
- Brazilian Mesquite
- Brazilian Redwood
- Brazilian Teak
- Brazilian Walnut
- Indian Rosewood
- Santos Mahogany
- Sucupira (the dark variety)
- Tiete Rosewood
The least light sensitive woods include:
Before you buy your wood flooring, consider the patterns of sunlight that enter the room. Chances are some areas will see more sunlight than others. If you choose a light sensitive flooring, you could see a clear discoloration in the exposed areas. It is recommended to use blinds, curtains and area rugs to help protect the coloring over time.
To give the patterns in your room extra pizzazz, you might want to use a unique style of plank edging. Much like laminate, hardwood planks have a variety of edge styles to choose from depending on the look you prefer.
The edging affects the overall appearance of the installed floors. The various types include:
- Square edge, where each edge of the board meets uniformly making a smooth transition from plank to plank.
- Micro bevel or Eased edge, where the boards have a shallow groove to hide irregularities in the height of the flooring.
- Full bevel, where the boards have an obvious groove making planks distinct. If buying unfinished, the bevel will be coated in the surface stain and top coat allowing the floors to be easily cleaned, but maintain the beautiful plank appearance.
- French bleed edge, where the boards are distressed and stained to make the edges more prominent.
- Pillowed edge, where the edges are soft and smooth.
Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your hardwood flooring questions.