Hardwood Flooring

Is anything more beautiful than hardwood flooring? Nothing calms the soul like a delightfully gorgeous home.  The nice thing about hardwood is it looks good in any home.  How many floor coverings can look earthy, historic, modern, clean and classic depending into which house it is installed? Hardwood floors look good in any setting. The trick for orchestrating a successful home improvement project is determining which hardwood product will best fit your style and budget.

The Basics

Before deciding which type of wood you want, there are a few practical elements to your project that you should consider:  costs, room location, and  room inhabitants. Cost is the most obvious factor, so we will discuss that last, but have you considered that the flooring material needs to stand up beautifully to whatever traffic it gets? First of all let’s discuss room location.

Location

In which room are you redoing the floor? Is it the upstairs hall, a staircase, a bathroom, living room, or the whole house? The square footage of the room will have a major impact on cost, as will the durability needed for the floor. If your floor becomes damaged by moisture or high heel marks, you may have to have it repaired, refinished or replaced much sooner than anticipated. If you are installing the floor in a high moisture area, like a kitchen or bathroom, you will need to use a moisture resistant material like bamboo or an engineered wood. If you are installing the floor in a high traffic area like a stair case or hall, you will want a harder wood product that can tolerate or camouflage dents and scrapes. Finally if you are installing the product in the whole house, you will need something that is versatile by being both moisture resistant and durable.

Inhabitants

Another important element in making the best choice for you house is who and what will be on your floors. Do you have pets or a high heel shoe collection? If so, be sure the flooring can withstand scratches and dents. Also, if your pets shed constantly, you may want to pick a specific color to camouflage the loose hair.

Are there small children or mobility impaired elderly In your home? If so, then you might want a wood with a finish that is not too slippery and smooth to help prevent falls.

Are you eco-conscious in you home? You may want to research the manufacturer of the wood you like to see how green their business is and how environmentally responsible their products are. You may want to use a easily renewable product like bamboo.

Budget and Cost

Obviously the cost is the bottom line. You may want a specific look but can’t afford the expense of it.  Do you want to finance the project, save money by installing it yourself,or pay for it with a specific cash amount? These are important questions to ask yourself.

Time and quality are also factors. If you are not an avid do-it-yourselfer, perhaps tackling the challenge of a hardwood floor yourself isn’t the right way to save money. In fact it may cost you more money and time, if the floor isn’t installed correctly. It would be awful if you had to redo a poor installation.  It may be better for you pocket book, house value, and sanity to hire a professional to install your floor. You should estimate the cost of hardwood floor installation and include this in the total cost per square foot, though if you’re looking for an inclusive price they also answer the question ‘how much do hardwood floors cost?’. Once you determine your total budget and square footage of the job, you can determine the price range you can afford. Once you have your price range, for example below $9.00 per square foot, you can more easily choose a hardwood product.

Oak Hardwood Flooring

“The mighty oak”

Chances are you have heard the phrase “the mighty oak.” It brings to mind a great, majestic, and old tree standing up to the tests of time. Oak floors are also timeless and popular. Because they are so widely installed, red oak flooring has become the standard hardness measurement by which all other hardwood floors are judged. If you look at the specifics of any hardwood flooring material, it will list the hardness factor as being harder or softer than red oak. White oak, for example, is 5% harder than red oak.

Oak floors, both red and white, typically are a light to medium colored flooring product. The wood species shows well in many settings as it has a visible grain.

If you are looking for classic or a rustic appearance for your floor, look no farther than oak. It is a popular choice and a domestic wood species which makes it very affordable.

 

Maple Hardwood Flooring

Maple makes a remarkably versatile and resilient wood floor. It is naturally harder than red oak, usually 12% harder but some products can be as much as 25% harder.  Maple is often used for basketball courts and dance floors because it is resilient to pounding feet. It is a great choice for high traffic areas and for homes with children and/or pets.

Maple is another domestic wood and therefore very popular and affordable. It comes in a wide variety of finishes from the very dark to the very light. It also comes in a variety of texture from smooth and glossy for a sleek look and hand-scraped for a more earthy and historic looking floor.

Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring

Wow, talk about classy! Nothing looks quite so luxurious than a well-honed cherry wood floor! The color range for cherry is between a medium amber hue to a dark reddish brown. There is nothing rustic about cherry. It is a wood often used for fine furniture and has refined finish.

A plus to choosing Brazilian cherry is it’s remarkably durable and is 123% harder than red oak.

Bamboo Hardwood Flooring

If you are looking for a green, earth friendly flooring choice, bamboo may be the right one for you.  Due to the surge of eco-consciousness, there are now a plethora of bamboo flooring products. You can now get bamboo in a variety of colors and they even make hand scraped bamboo floors. You can get natural bamboo, carbonized bamboo which is colored by heating, or stained. Stained bamboo now comes in colors ranging from white to black and every shade in between.

Unlike most hardwoods, bamboo is a fast growing woody grass. Easily harvested and regrown which gives it the status of a green building product. It is a very durable product and moister resistant. It is 116% harder than red oak and a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

If you really like the look of real wood and you want to save some money, engineered hardwood is the way to go.

Engineered hardwood is a product with a real wood top layer that is backed with plywood or MDF. This product is extremely stable and resistant to climate or moisture changes. It is a perfect choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and rooms with sub-floor radiant heating.

You can get every imaginable color, wood species, and surface texture in engineered hardwood products. They are an excellent choice for budget conscious consumers.