Tips on Matching Existing Hardwood Floors to New Flooring

Tips on Matching Existing Hardwood Floors to New Flooring

A common question we hear from customers who want to replace their floors in certain areas of their home is, “Can I match my new floors to my existing hardwood?”

In short, unless you purchased the flooring product yourself within the last 1-2 years or know the specific hardwood manufacturer, wood species, color and plank size, it will be very challenging to find an exact match. So, if you’ve recently moved into an older, pre-existing home, unless you’re provided a builder’s manual highlighting the original materials used to construct the home, it is almost impossible to identify the exact hardwood you are looking to match up. Meanwhile, shifts in demand will cause shifts in the products supplied by these flooring manufacturers, so overtime certain product styles become obsolete.

To better understand the likelihood of being able to match up new floors to your existing hardwood, below are questions you first need to know answers to, so you can define the exact type of wood floors you are looking for.

What type of hardwood is it?

There are a few specific types of hardwood flooring that dominate the marketplace: Solid, Bamboo and Engineered. Hardwood floors can vary based off how it is produced and the materials used to get it ready to be sold in the marketplace. Bamboo hardwood flooring, being the more environmentally friendly option, is softer and made from sustainable materials. Solid and Engineered hardwood floors are comprised of similar materials, but are made differently, therefore both should be cleaned, installed and treated in unique ways.

Where did the wood come from?

Hardwood is wood that comes from a number of different tree species. The majority of hardwood harvested domestically is oak, which can be further categorized as red oak or white oak. There are other tree species used for hardwood floors that will vary in color and hardness such as: Cherry, Walnut, Hickory, Pine and Maple. Each tree species that gets manufactured into wood planks will have natural varied grain patterns, color variation (due to how well the wood absorbs stain) and character such as knots which creates a more rustic appearance.

Who is the manufacturer?

Every flooring manufacturer (Shaw, Bruce, Mohawk and Harris to name a few) has a different process for producing flooring products that enter the marketplace. It’s common to see carpet, laminate, wood and vinyl specifications vary across each manufacturer, this is because they each have developed their own innovative solution that sets them apart from other distributors.

When was the wood installed?

Knowing what year your hardwood floors were installed will help retailers gauge the year the product was manufactured and if their current product selection has any wood plank styles that have been in production for that long. To ensure the best results, always if you can, take a sample of the wood plank with you to your local flooring retailer(s), so you can compare the color, texture and size of it to the other hardwood samples.

How thick and wide are the wood planks?

There are several different plank sizes, so knowing the exact width and thickness of your hardwood floors, is a great starting point when trying to identify an exact match. Common width dimensions include: 2 ¼ in., 3 in., 5 in., 7 in. and 9 in. The thickness of the wood, as well as the layer materials (Medium-Density Fiberboard, Plywood, Particle Board, Solid-Wood, etc.), can range anywhere between 3/4 - 5/8 inches and this will often determine how the wood was installed: Click-Lock, Nail/Staple or Glue.  

Why choose hardwood flooring?

Solid Hardwood floors are a great option for households who are not worried about water damage or scratches, and want the true authentic look of wood planks. Solid hardwood floors can also be sanded and re-stained up to 3x depending on the wood species. For those busier households who don’t want the upkeep that comes with maintaining solid hardwood floors, consider an Engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood construction produces a more stable product, available in multiple finishes and is usually finished with a tough, waterproof surface sealer, making it a great option for all areas of your home.