What it costs:
From $1.50 to $8 per square foot depending on wood thickness, species, and grade. Some prefinished solid-wood and engineered wood floors are DIY-friendly, but if you plan to hire a pro installer, tack on $2 per square foot, minimum.
How it will hold up:
Some prefinished solid-wood boards come with a 50-year warranty. With regular care, though, any solid-wood floor can easily last twice that long. Warranties on the finish for engineered wood range from 10 to 30 years.
How to maintain it:
Fight a finish's biggest enemy abrasive dirt by vacuuming regularly and laying runners and doormats near entries.
Where to install it:
Just about anywhere, except in areas prone to extreme humidity and standing water.
Its hardness makes oak ideal for high-traffic foyers. Clear-coated white oak works with cream wall paint and a peach stair runner for a serene color palette.