Wood Floor Trends

Softwood versus Hardwood: Why Hardwood Is The Better Choice For Wood Flooring

Rob Patwary

Rob Patwary

September 21, 2019

Industry advice is provided by the experienced team at Inner Space Flooring. Helping homeowners create gorgeous spaces within their homes by supplying quality wooden floors and professional wooden floor installation services in Birmingham UK. Experts in Hardwood floors and passionate about Parquet flooring for homes and offices.

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One of the first decisions you should make when it comes to your wood flooring, maybe even before choosing a colour, is whether to use hardwood or softwood.

Both are good choices and each have their own benefits - all of which will be explored below.
But first, let’s establish what softwood and hardwood is, and how you differentiate between the two.

What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Establishing whether a wood is softwood or hardwood boils down to its physical structure and makeup, and not just the toughness of the wood; as the names would suggest.

Hardwood comes from deciduous trees which lose their leaves annually and produce seeds with a form of covering, such as oak and maple; whereas, softwoods are gymnosperms and they come from conifer trees which are evergreen and shed uncovered seeds to the ground.
Hardwoods tend to be slower growing and, therefore, generally denser, making them sturdier and tougher to cut through; hence, the generic name ‘hardwood’. Whilst softwoods are, on the whole, less dense and easier to manipulate.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, for example, Yew trees are conifer, so technically softwood, but produce relatively tough wood. This is why softwood and hardwood cannot solely be characterised by their performance.

Both woods are quite versatile in their uses and are both known to be used for flooring in homes, though hardwood is generally the more popular choice of the two, and the one that we at Inner Space Flooring are experts in supplying and installing.

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Why is hardwood the preferred choice for wood flooring?

One of, if not, the main reason that most homeowners opt for hardwood flooring over softwood, is due to the fact that it’s usually the more durable of the two. Durability is a hugely important factor in choosing wood floors for your home, especially if you have pets, children, a lot of regular visitors - basically, high traffic in your home - because you want to invest in a product that will last a long time and require as little maintenance (i.e. refinishing) as possible.

  • A wood floor that is more resilient means it’s:
  • Less prone to scratches and damage
  • More fire resistant
  • Sturdier
  • Easier to take care of

Not to mention that it will look newer for longer, which is great if you have plans to sell your home after a few years.

Furthermore, there are about 100 times as many hardwood species as there are softwood, along with a variety of types, styles and finishes. Naturally, this would make it a more popular choice, simply because there is more to choose from; hence, you’re more likely to find the right product for your home, particularly if you want a very specific colour or finish.

As you would expect for wood that is more expensive, heavier and denser, it can work in any and every room of the house. There are very few limitations with hardwood; it can be used in kitchens, even with the potential of being exposed to water, in hallways where it may have to withstand the pressure or heavy shoes or the dangers of high heels, and it can even work in dining rooms where cutlery and food may get dropped onto it.

Softwood does have its perks too. It’s less expensive (on the downside, this is a clear indicator that it’s probably not as great a product as hardwood), it’s more environmentally friendly and it looks just as stunning as hardwood.
In fact, aesthetically, there is not really much of a difference between them other than that softwood tends to, naturally, be lighter in colour and hardwood darker.

At the end of the day, it’s all about which works better in your home. Consider how much traffic you have in your house, whether you are likely to switch out your floors again in a few years time, your budget, the look you are trying to achieve, the elements the floor may be exposed to in that particular room etc. - these are the factors which should play a major role in making your decision.

At Inner Space Flooring, we are experts in hardwood flooring and we have built strong relationships with some of the finest hardwood manufacturers in the UK and Europe, which means that we have access to the highest quality of hardwood flooring for our clients.
We also have the ability to create our own hardwood flooring which means that we can provide a bespoke service if you cannot find the exact product that you are looking for amongst our suppliers.

If you would like any more information about prolonging the loft of your wood floors, or if you are interested in any of our products or services then call us today on 0121 684 4772 or email info@innerspaceflooring.co.uk