Wood flooring has many advantages over types of flooring. This type of flooring adds value warmth and style to new as well as newly renovated homes. Installation will cost more than say buying new carpet. However wood floors can last more than 100 years with regular maintenance and repair if needed.
Solid Wood Floors – Besides longevity, wood floors are very durable and very resistant to daily living wear and tear. Unlike laminate or man-made flooring, wood can hold warmth and will be warm to the feet. Laminate will always be cold to the touch. A hardwood floor is good for people with allergies. It is not a breeding ground for mold, mildew or dust mites. Keeping hardwood clean is easy compared to carpeting. Vacuuming or damp mopping is routinely all a wood floor needs to stay fresh. This is especially true if you occasionally find yourself cleaning up after pets and small children.
Pre-finished Hardwood – Hardwood flooring can be purchased either finished or pre-finished from online or brick and mortar companies. Pre-finished is more convenient. There is no sanding required. Therefore is time saved on installation as well as no sawdust to clean up. Since the wood is already finished there is no drying time to deal with. Floor varnishes and lacquers and other coatings take a half day or more to dry in order to be able to resume work or to walk on the surface.
Unfinished Hardwood – Many professional installers prefer working with unfinished wood because it gives a better overall and uniform seal to the project. It is easier to make sure that all gaps and joints are completely sealed before the finish is applied to the surface. This uniform surface seal guards against moisture, which is the primary enemy of wooden floors. Working with unfinished wood takes much more time, labor and expense, but in the results make it worth the trouble in the end.
Flooring Surfaces and Stains – One of the advantages of wood flooring is the variety of surfaces and stains for finishing the floor that are available. Some flooring is planed to a smooth surface. It is the most popular finish selected by consumers. However, one surface that is gaining in popularity among home owners and professional installers is hand-scraped hardwood flooring. This is floor is made using planks that have been worked by hand rather than machine, giving the wood a more lived in rustic type finish.
More variations can be obtained depending on the type and colors of the stains used on the wood. Some stains are made to bring out the natural beauty of the wood itself. Other stains are made to change the color and caste of the flooring completely. This is usually done to make the floor look like it’s made from one kind of wood when actually it is constructed of a different and lesser variety wood.
Choice of Wood Flooring
Another of the advantages of wood flooring besides its durability and long life is the ease with which it can be integrated into almost any design scheme in home or office décor. It adds a structural strength that is not apparent with other types of flooring.
Popular Choices for Hardwood
Red and white oak – Are both naturally pale in color with the slight pink color running through the red variety. Both are known for their ease of employment across all different types of projects. White oak is harder than red oak. But red oak is easier to saw and nail than white oak.
American Cherry – Primarily used for cabinet making, can be used as flooring and is known to be easy to work with. It is a photosensitive wood that changes color over time, darkening in tone.
Hard Maple – This is an excellent choice for flooring. It is harder than oak with a naturally abrasion resistant surface. It was the favorite wood used by the early settlers of America.
Brazilian Cherry or Jatoba -The most striking feature of this wood is its color, a rich reddish brown which ages to a luxurious burgundy over time. What makes it so expensive is the fact that it is harder than some mahogany woods.
Some Do’s and Some Don’ts
Do – Choose a wood that will stand up to everyday traffic in your home. Read your warranty carefully about care and maintenance. Hire a professional to do it for you if you have no clue or are not a do it yourself at heart. These professionals use products such as sanding products, hard wax oil and wood floor finish from Buzz. Mistakes can be costly and extremely time consuming. If you’re unsure about the kinds of stains to use to finish your project, ask the experts at your local home improvement store first.
Do – Install a moisture barrier between the subfloor and flooring for added protection. Open all boxes of wood in order to see the color variations from box to box. Allow your wood to acclimate to the climate where it is being installed. Once installed, use a dry mop or vacuum to clean the surface.
Don’t – Install hardwood flooring in an area subject to excessive moisture. This means not in bathrooms or in basements. Don’t install in a summer home or cottage that you only visit a couple of times a year. Wood flooring needs regular attention. Harsh or wax based cleaners will dull the finish. Don’t use steel wool or other hard abrasives either.
Never – Use excessive water to clean the flooring. And try to keep off the floor while wearing sports-spiked shoes or spike high heels. These types of shoes will mar the floor causing dents or scratches. Clean up all moisture laden spills as soon as they happen. Moisture will seep into the wood, drawn like a sponge and cause major headaches down the road.
As always, when in doubt, seek out the advice of the experts at your local home improvement warehouse or store.