For those seeking the natural look, nothing compares to hardwood floors. Hardwoods are durable and able to perform better than any other flooring product. Although hardwood flooring can get expensive, the lifespan of a good hardwood floor can last for decades, compared to an average of ten years for carpeting. In the long run, hardwood is a great investment.
Hardwoods are easy to care for, and can be installed in all of the primary living areas of any home, except the bathroom. Other advantages of hardwood flooring include its environmentally friendly makeup, and its ability to increase the value of a home or office. Hardwoods also are great for those who have allergies, since it doesnt hold dust like other flooring. And, wood flooring gives a little underfoot, making it easier on those who must stand for long periods of time.
When purchasing hardwood, understand that you have a wide range of colors and grains to choose from. For instance, its important to know the difference between red and white oak, the two most common wood products. White oak is denser and used for high traffic areas. Red oak is more expensive, however, and sports a trendy pinkish tone.
Hardwood is perhaps the most historical of all floor covering, and today remains one of the most popular. Residential and commercial projects each choose hardwood to achieve casual, professional, modern, antique and many other styles. And every time, hardwood delivers. The benefits of hardwood flooring are many. Hardwoods come in many styles and colors, are affordable, are the top choices for those suffering from allergies, are easy to maintain, and are environmentally friendly. Did you know:
- Wood floors increase the value of a home
- Wood flooring should not be waxed, but instead only need vacuuming or dry-mopped
- Wood flooring increases the air quality of a home by eliminating dust particles that typically reside in carpeting
- Wood flooring comes from carefully harvested timber grown specifically for the industry
Variety of styles
Hardwood comes either pre-finished or unfinished, depending on how much the customer wants to control the end product in terms of color and texture. There are four popular styles of hardwood flooring:
- Natural: Also called solid, this style is truly cut from a piece of hardwood lumber into wood planks, using mostly ash, maple, or red or white oak
- Engineered: This method involves gluing several pieces of hardwood together, making them easily manipulated so that can be offered in a variety of colors, textures, and grains. Engineered hardwood is also very durable
- Longstrip: This style is simply a larger version of the engineered variety, but with larger strips or pieces of hardwood included. The advantage of longstrip gives the appearance more intricate flooring pattern, while in reality an entire section is present on one board
- Exotic: Called exotic because the wood does not originate in North America, this style is mostly the engineered variety and comes in a range of colors and styles
- Handscraped: Also called sculpted, this variety gives a floor an antique look but in reality it possesses a modern finish. Handscraped wood is available in solid or engineered.
Selecting a location for your floor
Not all hardwood floor varieties are ideal for all levels of a home or commercial building. For instance, solid hardwood does not do well when placed over concrete or below ground level because it can change its characteristics based on environmental conditions such as humidity and moisture. Conversely, engineered hardwood styles can be used over concrete and react more favorably to humidity and moisture, making them a good choice for basements.
Thinking about the finished product
One of the best new assets of hardwood flooring is the new finishes available that remove the need for waxing. When choosing a hardwood flooring ask about its finish. Some of the more popular finishes include polyurethane and acrylic-urethane, a chemical that gives hardwood a clear, durable coat and can be put on the wood using water or oil base; or ceramic using this finish puts a coat on hardwood that allows for more resistance to wear. Paying attention to the finish assuming your floor has a polyurethane finish, hardwood floors should not be waxed, because a sticky film will develop and dirt and dust will stick to the woods grain.
Tips for buying a wood floor
Before going to the retailer to purchase your hardwood floor, give some thought to the following:
- Compatibility: Will the style, pattern and texture fit with the environment it will be placed into? Remember that darker colors are used for formal settings, while light colors are usually used in casual environments.
- Performance: Will the finish, wood species, and type of floor hold up under the men, women, pets, children, customer and employees who will walk over it every day?
- Cost: After the flooring cost, be sure to consider installation and maintenance costs.
Need more information?
Access the professionalism of the international INSTALL network. Visit the web sites of INSTALL partners: