Great rooms start from the floor up, and replacement flooring often the sparks full scale decorating projects. So I created this series to help you find the perfect flooring solution for your new home or reno project.
I’ll kick start this discussion with the ever popular hardwood floors, the natural beauty, texture and visual warmth of hardwood has made it a preferred flooring choice for centuries. But is it right for you?
Here are a few of the reasons why so many people choose hardwood floors for their homes:
- Easy to Clean – A quick vacuum and a light wash (not too much water though) is all you need to do for regular maintenance. Because there are no flailing fibres to trap dust, this a great option for allergy sufferers or clean freaks! There are several hardwood cleaners on the market but if you are going to use a chemical always choose the manufacturer recommended products to ensure that you don’t void your warranty, however I find a damp (not wet) rag works well too!
- Hardwood has Flex – Because wood is not as rigid as tile there is a little bit of bounce when you walk on them, this slight flex will make it considerably more comfortable to stand on for hours reducing back, neck and leg strain.
- Durability – Although hardwood will scratch and dent it is pretty hard to destroy. Minor surface scratches and wear can be fixed via a screening process where the floor is given a light sand and a new finish top coat applied. Large dents or areas of damage can typically be fixed by replacing individual planks, however this is not a DIY project and may involve refinishing the entire floor.
- Beauty – No two trees ever grow exactly the same, so each and every hardwood floor on the planet is unique
And here are some of the common complaints:
- Price – Hardwood is an investment in your home and often the priciest option for flooring. Once you include the materials and the skilled labour required it can take up a significant portion of your decorating budget.
- Refinishing is a Hassle – Sanding is extremely dusty and time consuming making the process more cumbersome that other flooring options.
- Unpredictable Outcomes – because each floor is unique you’ll never know exactly what you are getting and that makes some people uncomfortable. A good installer will use planks from several different boxes at once to create a more uniform look across the entire floor but even a good installer has no control over the variety of planks that are in the box.
- Scratches and Dents – No matter how careful you are accidents happen, expecting a piano like finish on hardwood floors forever is unrealistic. Regular vacuuming and the diligent use of floor mats at doorways will help tremendously. Surface scratches happen when dirt and dust get dragged across the finish causing it to wear and become dull. Using throw rugs or carpet runners in high traffic areas will also help preserve the floors finish.
- Humidity Control is a Must – Wood is fussy, it likes a range of 35% up to 50% humidity at all times, too much moisture will cause the wood to expand and in extreme cases buckle, too little moisture in the air will cause the wood to contract creating cracks and gaps in the floor. Having a humidifier or dehumidifier (depending on your climate) installed with your hardwood is a very wise choice!
Is hardwood still an option for you? I hope so!
But, there is still a lot to consider including the variety of wood species available, stain choices and installation methods. So before you decide to invest in hardwood be sure to read the next post in the series where I’ll cover some of the options that you probably weren’t even aware of, including a caution about flooring transitions and what you’ll need to know about the sheen you select for your new floor.