Hardwood floors offer a timeless and elegant look for any style of home. They are a durable, sustainable, and functional flooring option that can boost the value of your home by 2.5%.
Wood is versatile in design, adding character and warmth to your living spaces. It offers an array of styles, species, and installation and maintenance techniques.
So, is wood the best choice for your new home project? Read on for 7 important characteristics you should know about hardwood flooring.
1. There’s a Wide Variety of Wood Species and Styles to Choose From
Wood floors offer a major design element in the home. So, it’s important to pick the right type and style of wood to compliment the design vision for your living space. You’ll also want to take your lifestyle into consideration, such as being a pet owner.
Different species of wood have certain characteristics to consider. These include their thickness, hardness, and design aesthetic.
So, what is hardwood and how does it differ from softer woods? Harder woods have more durability and longevity. This includes species like oak, maple, and hickory.
Woods with a more mid-level hardness include cherry, walnut, birch, and ash. Cedar, fir, and pine are softer woods. These are more likely to get scratched or dented and need more maintenance.
Trends in the World of Wood Flooring
Oak remains one of the most popular wood types for a traditional or domestic style flooring. Yet, many homeowners are also opting for distressed woods. This includes those with a hand-scraped finish.
Renewable materials like cork, bamboo, and reclaimed wood also offer sustainable living options. Exotic woods are harder to find but can offer a unique style in the home. These wood species include Acacia, Jatoba, Merbau, and Cumaru.
You’ll also want to decide if you prefer solid or engineered hardwoods for your home. Follow this guide to learn the main differences between the two types of flooring.
2. Hardwood Grain and Grading Gives Character
A hardwood floor offers a natural design element with unique characteristics. This includes coloring, grading, and grain.
Each species of wood creates its own unique design from its grain patterns. These patterns show up in the way the wood gets cut. Plain-sawn, rift-sawn, and quarter-sawn styles each offer a different look.
Grading levels also offer big variations in color. Certain woods carry little to no defects for a smoother style. Yet, fewer defects can mean a more expensive flooring project.
Defects within the wood often include lots of knots for extra character. This grading level works well for home styles like rustic or farmhouse.
3. Installation Techniques Create a Unique Design
Hardwood floors are also customizable in the way they get installed in your home. It’s a functional flooring option for living spaces, dining areas, bedrooms, and kitchens. Wood also works well in home offices, fitness studios, and libraries.
Wood flooring can get installed in wide plank sizes or thin strips. You can experiment with different lengths, widths, and patterns for a unique design.
Other installation techniques include different edging. This can feature square or beveled edge techniques.
Board thickness is another element to consider. Thicker boards are popular as they can get refinished more times. The average-sized board can get refinished about 7 times.
Installers also offer special coatings, sealants, and finishes for your floors. These work to protect the floor while providing different surface textures. Flooring pieces can come prefinished or get finished on site.
A flooring finish gets made of polyurethane or oil. Polyurethane works to helps block out stains better. Yet, it can be more time consuming to redo these finishes.
Oil finish leaves less noticeable scratches. Oil finishes are also easier to fix without needing to recoat an entire piece of wood.
4. Wood Is a Cost-Efficient Choice for the Home
Quality wood flooring will likely need a solid upfront investment. Yet, it’s a long-lasting option well worth the money spent.
So, what is hardwood flooring going to cost you? The cost per square foot varies depending on the type of wood you choose. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $14 per square foot.
You’ll also want to go with a professional installer to ensure the job gets done right. Most installers will also offer some type of warranty.
Faux wood is also an alternative for a less expensive option. Luxury vinyl tiles work great in high traffic areas or those that may receive high humidity. This includes mudrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and bathrooms.
The tiles are also less likely to stain or scratch, compared to real wood. LVT’s also need less maintenance and are water resistant.
5. Wood Floors Allow for Added Comfort and Convenience
Wood may not be as plush and soundless as carpet. Yet there are still many ways to make wood a comfortable choice for the home.
Installers can add an underlayment to help reduce noise. Insulation techniques can also provide extra warmth in the home. You can also limit squeaking floorboards with these tips.
6. A Cleaning Routine Is Key to Keep Floors in Top Condition
One thing you need to remember about hardwood flooring is that it thrives when kept clean. This means sweeping and vacuuming up dirt and debris as often as possible. Be sure to use your hard floor mode on the vacuum cleaner to avoid scratches.
You also want to clean up spills as soon as they happen to avoid water damage. Steer clear of harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners that can strip the floors. Here’s a list of safe and easy to make homemade cleaning solutions for wood floors.
7. Use Proper Maintenance to Prolong the Life of Wood Floors
Both pets and people can cause extreme wear and tear on wood floors. Maintenance techniques can help extend the condition and longevity of your floors.
Placing area rugs under heavy furniture helps to protect the flooring. It’s also smart to use floor mats in high traffic areas, like near entryways. This stops debris from getting tracked into the home.
Window treatments can also protect the floor from sunlight. Another preventative method is a no shoes rule. This is especially important for high heel shoes, which can damage your floor.
Floors can also get refinished to buff out scratches and dents. Yet, this should get handled by a professional for best results.
Adding Function and Beauty to Your Home with Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring offers style and function to any home’s design. With the right installation and maintenance techniques, your floors can last a lifetime.
Professional floor installers ensure quality products and craftsmanship. They can also work with you to get the exact species, stain, grain, and grade for the look you desire. Learn more about which style of wood floors are best to transform your home.