If you have decided you want hardwood floors in your home, congratulations -- you just made the first in a long series of decisions. Here are some of the decisions you need to make in order to determine the exact type of hardwood floor you want for your home.

#1: Solid or Engineered Wood?

The first question you need to answer is if you want solid or engineered flooring. You can purchase solid wood floors, which is how classic wood floors were constructed. With this option, the entire piece of flooring is made of the same type of solid wood.

Engineered wood is made from different types of wood. The top layer of wood is made from the wood that you want to be visible in your home, such as oak. Then, the other layers of the floor are made from different types of wood and other materials. The underlayers of the flooring are specifically made to prevent your floors from moving as the wood naturally expands and contracts throughout the year.

#2: Pre-finished or Site Finished?

Second, you need to determine if you want the flooring to be pre-finished or finished on site. When you choose pre-finished wood, you'll know exactly how the wood will look when it is installed. It will also take less time to install the wood, as the wood will not have to be stained or sealed after it is installed in your home.

The advantage of choosing wood you must stain and seal in your home is that you will be able to customize the color of your floors. This can allow the color to be customized more than you would experience purchasing pre-finished wood. If you have a unique color you are going for, this would be a great floor surfacing option.

#3: Type of Finish

Next, you need to choose the type of finish you want on the wood. Oil finishes give the wood a soft and natural look. On the other hand, polyurethane tends to give a shinier finish to the wood. Polyurethane also protects your floors better against wear and tear, and can be a better finish to use if you have kids or pets.

#4: Type of Wood

Finally, you need to figure out what type of wood you want to install in your home. The type of wood will impact the color of your floors, how the wood grain looks, and how well the wood stands up to wear and tear.

Deciding you want hardwood floors in your home is just the first in a series of choices. Then you must determine if you want solid or engineered wood, if you want the flooring finished on site or pre-finished, and then what type of finish and wood you want.