12 tips for picking the right hardwood flooring

with Arrigoni Woods Julia Olson

Story //

Cory Phare

Photos //

Courtesy of Arrigoni Woods

Trying to find the right flooring solution can end up with you sprawled out upon one if you’re not careful – which is why we caught up with Julia Olson of Arrigoni Woods to walk us through the process.

The Vail-based company specializes in custom and prefinished wide plank European flooring sourced from Germany and Austria, on display at selected locations nationwide as well as their primary showrooms which are in Minturn and Denver.

Here’s Olson’s top tips to keep you from shuffling your feet and selecting the right hardwood to leave your guests floored.


1. Consider More Than Just Color

It’s understandably common for people to focus first on the color of wood flooring. However, species, grade, texture, width, thickness, length, finish, and maintenance are all additional elements that flooring specialists can assist you with to find the right fit for your interior.

2. Be Realistic with Expectations

Every construction or renovation project is unique, with different environmental conditions, care requirements, aesthetic expectations, and budget constraints, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and understanding the diversity of project parameters is essential to have realistic expectations for what flooring can deliver.

3. Think Beyond Aesthetic Appeal

The desire for a “magazine floor” that’s pristine and perfect is a common aspiration. However, in reality, a floor is a highly used surface in a home, and people shouldn’t be afraid to actually live within the space they’re crafting. It’s important to strike a balance between aesthetics and practicality.

4. Consider Construction Quality

The quality of wood flooring goes beyond what’s visible once it’s installed. Like buying a beautiful house only to discover hidden plumbing problems, the impulse to save a little upfront could lead to much larger costs down the line. Especially in challenging environments like Colorado, where climate conditions can be harsh, it’s important to invest in products that provide stability in long-term performance to avoid issues like cupping, warping, and gaps.


5. Re-think Solid vs. Engineered Wood

Solid wood and engineered wood have distinct characteristics and in both families we can encounter big differences in quality, performance, and durability. Engineered wood is often a better choice for wider or longer planks, and it can perform well in specific environmental conditions. Understanding the differences helps you make the right selection for your project. Learn more HERE.

6. Compatibility with Your Location

Different wood species have unique characteristics. Some may be more susceptible to dents or scratches. Other exotic species- like Brazilian cherry – may not play well in low-humidity conditions. You can also find replacements which are much more sustainably sourced.  Ash is a suitable substitute for Hickory, which isn’t as stable in Colorado.

7. Explore Grade and Character

Wood flooring comes in various grades, and the price can differ significantly between lowend and high-end options – Arrigoni Woods offers four different grades of White Oak, and the grade alone could significantly impact your flooring estimate. You can get almost any color or texture in any grade. One other significant factor here is that you can hardly see the true character on a small sample, so Arrigoni Woods always tries to show you install photos and/or a whole box of the product to make sure you know what you will get.

8. Texture for Depth and Imperfections

Texture options in wood flooring can provide depth and dimension to your living space. This added texture can help mask imperfections that may occur over time due to daily wear and tear. Conversely, so-called “imperfections,” such as knots, can provide distraction from things that happen to your flooring – it’s organic material and not plastic, after all. See their latest article HERE.

9. Width, Length, and Thickness Options

16” wide? No problem. 16’ long? Can do. Single width or mixed? The options are as varied as your imagination. Wider planks, for instance, can create a different look than narrower ones. Arrigoni Woods specializes in long planks exclusively to avoid creating too many butt-joints and subsequent busyness. In the market there are different Thickness options -though most people don’t realize they’ll get the same functionality/lifespan with our 15mm platform, some solid wood, or our 21mm platform.

10. Selecting the Right Color

While color is exciting and often the most eye-catching feature among many – see point 1 – it’s important to consider practical aspects. Dark and light floors may be more challenging to keep clean, and mid-tones are often the most versatile. That said, it still remains one of the most fun parts of the whole process and options are endless.

11. Decide on the Finish

Do you throw parties? Have kids? Do scratches bother you? The finish, or top coat, plays a significant role in the appearance and maintenance of the flooring. And whether natural oil or polyurethane – the two options offered by Arrigoni Woods – discussing your lifestyle and preferences ensures you’ll end up with the finish to meet your needs.

12. Beyond Flooring

Beyond just the flooring, think about other aspects of your project – even the ones that could be overlooked as boring or inconsequential. This could include everything from stair solutions to installation methods, vents, space transitions, and on-site versus pre-finished solutions. Installation, maintenance, and repair are also important considerations.

Arrigoni Woods offers a range of wood products beyond flooring as well. Options such as acoustic solutions, wood panels, reclaimed wood beams, and siding to enhance your project and add elements to make your space as unique as you are.


Learn more about Arrigoni Woods  here.