Hardwood Flooring

Your Guide to Hardwood Flooring

If you watch any show about buying homes or read any remodeling magazine, you'll almost certainly realize that hardwood flooring is a popular choice for buyers and homeowners alike. Hardwood can certainly be beautiful and durable, and while it may be pricier than some options, the elegance and durability make it worth the cost. If part of your home remodel includes replacing the flooring, read on to learn more about the pros and cons of hardwood flooring, what you'll want to know about maintenance, where to use hardwood floors for maximum impact and what kinds of hardwood floors are available.

Pros of Hardwood Flooring

Arguably the biggest advantage of remodeling your home and including hardwood floors will be the upscale and attractive look that the material brings to any space. Hardwood flooring can fit in with any decorative style or theme, so it will look spectacular whether you’re going for a more rustic and casual look or a formal, contemporary space.

Hardwood floors can also feel great underfoot, providing support without causing discomfort or coldness like materials such as tile. Hardwood floors are also a natural insulator, which comes in handy if your energy bills are high because of heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

Anyone with respiratory problems or allergies will appreciate that hardwood floors don't trap allergens and dirt.

Finally, hardwood floors can last for decades if properly cared for, meaning that you won't have to keep replacing the flooring in your home frequently.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Despite the many upsides of remodeling your floors with hardwood, there are also some drawbacks that should be taken into consideration.

For many, cost will be the biggest concern. Typically, hardwood will be one of the most expensive flooring materials on the market, and installation has to be done by professionals, which drives the price up further.

Hardwood floors are also vulnerable to moisture, and they may not fare well in very humid environments. Things like sharp high heels or dog scratches can damage the wood, requiring sanding and refinishing in order to look like new again.

Finally, some individuals find that the noise of hardwood floors is a problem in the home. Walking on hardwood floors with heavy-soled shoes can be a distinct sound, and creaks that develop over time are also a possibility

Maintenance for Hardwood Floors

In order to protect and preserve your hardwood floors for years to come, it is important to begin maintaining them right from the start. If you have never had hardwood floors before, get familiar with the maintenance and decide whether you can commit to this level of care.

To start, you will want to always wipe or mop up spills or leaks right away because standing water can lead to serious damage. Ideally, you should also place small floor protectors or pieces of felt on the feet of all furniture so that it doesn't dent or scratch the hardwood.

Sweeping or vacuuming with the dust brush should be a regular event on all hardwood floors, and mopping with a designated hardwood cleaner may be needed weekly for optimum care.

Over time, hardwood floors may need to be sanded down and sealed, which can be a major process but restores the look of the wood to a newer condition.

Where to Install Hardwood Floors in Your Home

One key piece of information to keep in mind as you begin planning all the elements of your remodel is that hardwood, while beautiful, is not recommended for use in every room of the house.

You want to maximize the impact of having hardwood floors while minimizing the cost of flooring as well as the risk of damage and the worries of maintenance.

In a hallway entrance, a large living room or a formal living room, hardwood floors look spectacular. In cold climates, hardwood in bedrooms might end up being covered by rugs, minimizing its aesthetic appeal.

In places where there is a lot of water and the potential for leaks, including bathrooms and laundry rooms, hardwood is strongly discouraged due to potential damage.

Types of Hardwood Floors Available

When you talk about hardwood floors, make sure you understand the various ways that hardwood can be bought and installed.

Some solid hardwood planks have a flat edge and need to be nailed down in place. These hardwood planks can be most durable over time, but also the toughest and most expensive to install.

Some strips and thinner planks of hardwood flooring have tongue and groove edges, which means that they can snap into place. Because of this, tongue-and-groove hardwood can be a floating floor, which is far easier and faster to install.

Wood tile is not as common or as durable, but it can be a cheaper alternative for someone who wants the warmth of hardwood in the home and doesn't mind visible seams or a shorter life span. 

Choosing the Right Hardwood

Once you’ve made up your mind to include hardwood flooring in all or part of your home, your remodeling plans can narrow in on the exact kind of wood to use.

There is a wide range of wood species to choose from, but if hardness is a factor you might be drawn to very hard varieties like oak, cherry or maple. Believe it or not, hickory is actually so hard that it can be difficult to work with, making it less popular for many homeowners.

More exotic but expensive types of wood species that can set your newly remodeled home apart include rosewood, Brazilian walnut, mahogany and teak. Keep in mind that price per board length can vary substantially between each of these wood varieties.

Choosing hardwood flooring for your home's remodel can be a fantastic decision that brings you joy, beauty and style for decades to come. In addition to the major elements listed, don't forget to give some thought to texture, finish and the desired widths and lengths of the hardwood flooring pieces.

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