Tag Archives: hardwood

Choosing the Best New Floor for Your Home: Are Hardwood Floors Right for Me?

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.

In the meantime I’d love to hear from anyone who currently has hardwood in their home. Do you love it? Hate it?

What’s the Best New Flooring Option for Your Home?

So many decorating projects start from the ground up, the simple choice to upgrade the flooring in a room often leads to full scale decorating projects.
Because let’s face it, if you are going to rip out the baseboards to install the new floor it really makes more sense to replace them..
and if you’re replacing the baseboards well it’s a great time to paint the walls..
and if you’re going to repaint why choose a color that works with the sofa you really don’t like anymore…
the snowball effect!

And, it all starts with the floors, so for the next few blog post I thought I’d go through the pro’s and cons of popular flooring selections to help you make an informed decision before you even step foot in a flooring store!

Impartial advice is invaluable.

Choosing the right flooring for your room ultimately comes down to personal preference and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of all of the options available. So before you start looking at options it makes sense to take stock of your lifestyle, budget and decorating style to help narrow down the list of choices. But even if the option your heart desires doesn’t measure up to your lifestyle requirements don’t dismay. There have been great advancements over the past few decades to compensate for each floorings shortfalls, so even if the option you’re considering isn’t an ideal match for your lifestyle be sure to inquire about upgrades that may increase the lifespan of your floor. Stronger finishes on hardwood, tougher stain-resistant carpet fibres and softer tile-like surfaces are now available so don’t write off you preferred choice before asking a few questions!

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll go into more detail about each flooring option but to get you started I’ve come up with a quick reference chart detailing the pro’s and cons of some popular flooring choices:

Compare New Flooring Options

This is obviously a simplified table just meant to give you an quick overview. Within each category there are exceptions, particularly where price is concerned and there is a LOT more to consider, however this is a good starting point. So I invite you to keep reading this series (as it seems I have a lot to say about the different flooring options available),  I’ll share with you some of my favourite selections and some exciting new options. I started this post thinking it would be short but I already have days and days of material written,  I don’t want to overwhelm right now though!

So, be sure to sign up for our RSS feed so you don’t miss out on the rest of the series!
And, if you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.
What’s your favourite new flooring option?

High Style: Decorating with Natural Wood

There is something stunningly gorgeous about natural unfinished wood, wouldn’t you agree?

The texture, warmth, and uniqueness of each and every piece is something that instantly captivates me. So much so, that I often find myself unconsciously reaching out in admiration just to run my had across it’s texture. Perhaps its the connection to the earth or simply an appreciation of wood’s organic beauty. For whatever reason I think wood elements make a fabulous addition to any home, in any form. From cabinets to floors to decorative accessories wood is simply beautiful.

Feldman Architecture eclectic dining room

I recently came across this home designed by Feldman Architecture, the natural wood planks on the back of the island and the fabulous dining table are a fantastic element of  warmth in this room. Although the room itself is stunning, it’s the wood elements that make the space feel warm and cozy. And I’ll bet there’s a great story behind its acquisition.

I love using natural wood elements in contrast to starkly modern or ornate design elements, to create interest. The tension creates interest and an unexpected delight. Just like these birch poles as a backdrop for the ornate crystal chandelier creates a perfectly balanced focal point for this Dining Room

Although I don’t have a picture to show you, I once saw some very original wooden tiles lining the bar in a restaurant. The 12×12 tiles were created from a fallen heritage tree that had been cross cut into 2″ slabs and formed into the square shaped tiles. This technique produced a fantastically elaborate mosaic of wood grain, each tile a unique masterpiece. The rings, burls and knots were captivating. So much so that I found myself more engrossed in the texture of this wall, than in the conversation at the table. I say this not as an insult to my friend but as a testament to the beauty of the wood! (I really wish I had a picture to share with you, it seems almost cruel, my apologies.)

So I guess to wrap things up my closing thought would be, when you are planning your next decorating project consider using found wood objects. They are stunning, unique and usually come with a great story about how you acquired it.

What do you think? Do you have any great wood decor stories to share, or pictures (even better)? I invite you to post a comment below or send your pictures to admin@decorateITonline.com

Trend Alert: Rustic Plank Floors

After years of polished and stained hardwood and laminate floors in a myriad of colors and finishes there’s a new trend emerging in the world of flooring. From the most starkly modern urban dwellings to the plushest country farmhouses we’re seeing a return to wood in its natural state: wide planks in unstained, distressed, and weathered color tones.

This Mediterranean interior features oak planks with pronounced grooves and a distressed patina


In this contemporary European-style interior the flooring has a clean, fresh look


This antique farmhouse floor features ultra-wide planks that add to the country charm


In this minimal modern bathroom the bare wood floors and matching vanity contribute to a feeling of cool Zen tranquility


For the DIYer wanting the look of hardwood planks without the cost and hassle we suggest Trafficmaster's Allure vinyl plank flooring. It's waterproof, self-adhesive, and a breeze to install, requiring only a tape measure and a utility knife. Plus, the authentic grain pattern and plank size (6" x 36") look more convincing than standard laminates. Available at Home Depot


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