Photo: Amy Neunsinger

The pros at Armstrong Flooring explain what you need to know before installing hardwood flooring in your home by the sea.

Hardwood flooring has a classic and timeless look, which is why we used it in this year’s Idea House in Newport, Rhode Island. Here, Armstrong Flooring pros Sara Babinski and Michele Zelman share their tips for choosing the best hardwood flooring for beach houses.

1. Consider installing engineered wood.

Classic hardwood floors, like those you’d see in century-old homes, are constructed from solid wood. Engineered wood, though, is comprised of a core of hardwood or plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed to the top surface. Because the wood is pressed in alternating layers, this flooring is more resistant to the ever-present moisture in coastal areas and the warping, expansion, or contracting that can come with it. Plus, the wood is still genuine, meaning your cozy beach cottage will still boast the appearance of solid hardwood flooring.

 Photo: Courtesy of Armstrong Flooring

2. Choose a lighter color.

Light to medium woods hide scratches and wear much better than darker tints, which makes them a great pick for high-traffic family beach houses. After years of Fido and the kids running to and from the beach with wet, sandy feet, you’ll be happy that your memories—not your floors—bear the many years of fun in the sun.

3. Pick a textured finish.

Spills need to be wiped up extra quickly on hardwood floors to prevent damage, and the clear coat on prefinished wood gives the surface a solid, cured veneer, making cleanup a breeze. Babinski also recommends a low-gloss wire-brushed or scraped finish to camouflage nicks and scratches. “It’s very forgiving,” she says.

 Photo: Courtesy of Armstrong Flooring

4. Keep width in mind.

Planks with greater widths create the illusion of space, so they’re a smart pick for making houses with open floor plans and teeny beach bungalows feel airier.

 Photo: Courtesy of Armstrong Flooring

5. Get creative with color.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures or colors. Babinski’s favorite style to incorporate in a beach house is Armstrong’s aqua-tinted wood flooring. The subtle hints of ocean blue give floors a breezy style boost that feels just right at the beach.

Header photo: Amy Neunsinger; Photos: Courtesy of Armstrong Flooring