Thinking of adding wood flooring to your home?
Here’s why you should.
Studies show wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service even claims that the average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals. In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency claims indoor air quality is better with wood floors. With environmental protection becoming an increasing concern among home builders and re-modelers, many are choosing hardwood over carpet and tile. Wood floors can last for hundreds of years, so they don’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options. However, if you plan on installing wood floors, it’s important to know all the facts first.
There are a lot of factors that will determine what kind of hardwood floor your home can accommodate including where you plan to put your wood flooring. Before you install read these tips from Bill Beazley Homes and determine exactly which flooring is right for you.
Unfinished Vs. Finished Flooring
What kind of finish do you want? No matter which flooring type you decide to purchase, all wood flooring will require a finish at some point. A “finish” is a protective coat that seals your floor against every day wear and tear. With unfinished wood flooring your installer will sand the wood and apply the finish directly on the job site. With finished wood flooring the finish will be applied at the manufacturer. Both types of flooring are equally available. The benefit of finished flooring is that it takes less time to install and can be walked on immediately after installation. However, the drawback to finished floors is that they sometimes have irregularities in height and unsealed seems that can leave space for dirt and grime to get caught.
Solid Vs. Engineered Wood Flooring
What type of wood do you need? Solid wood flooring refers to wood floors that are installed as a solid piece of wood from top to bottom while engineered wood floors are manufactured using multiple layers of different wood veneers. One of the benefits to solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and finished many times. However, engineered wood floors expand and contract less than solid wood floors during fluctuations in humidity in temperature. Because of this engineered wood floors work best in areas exposed to heat and moisture and are recommended for all concrete slab sub-floors. With plywood or particleboard, both engineered and solid floors are acceptable, although you may have to replace the particleboard with plywood before any installations can be made.
Above, On, or Below Grade?
Where is the floor going? A space beneath ground level is what’s known as below grade. A floor that’s even with the outside ground level is on grade, and any floors above this are above grade. Where you’re installing the wood will limit your recommended options. Putting solid wood below grade for example will cause problems because of the moisture coming up through the ground. Nothing but engineered wood is recommended for below grade.
Soft Vs. Hard Wood
Do you have kids and/or pets? Do you host large parties often? If so, your floor can expect to take more abuse and will need a specific type of wood built for durability. A high-traffic house requires harder wood. You can also play with grain patterns as well as with stains and finishes that will hide dents and scratches easily.
Modern Vs. Traditional
What style is your home? Before choosing a wood consider your cabinets, trim work and door castings to make sure the wood will not clash with the other elements of the home. Some woods lend themselves better to certain styles. For modern homes, natural maple lends itself well as well as gray-stained oak and boards without knots. For more traditional homes, hickory will mix well as well as boards with knots and wider planks. Of course don’t discount anything until you’ve tried it out. Always ask for a 2- by 2-foot sample of what the floor will look like with a stain and finish on it. Use this to test it with your paint colors and decor to make sure it’s exactly what you want.
Cost Vs. Maintenance
What is most important to you? Engineered wood isn’t always the cheapest route, so don’t think you can’t have solid wood floors on a budget.
If you want something that will hold up over time, you’ll want to look at the harder woods, floors with higher Janka ratings. Also pay attention to the stain. The traditional method for staining wood uses a polyurethane finish, which produces a higher sheen. If the floor gets dinged or scratched, light bouncing off the semigloss finish can remove the appearance of those flaws.
For more great homeowner tips, make sure to follow Bill Beazley Homes’ Facebook page. To contact the home builder call 706-863-4888
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