Hardwood floors offer a classic, natural-look to any home with minimal maintenance. They also add significant home value and will likely last for more than a century. Hardwood is a costly flooring option, but builders, buyers, and sellers consider hardwood floors an upgrade in a home over carpet. Hardwood flooring is one of the most sought after home feature.
Hardwood Floor Options
Hardwood flooring comes in three main types - strip, plank, and parquet. Strip flooring is as the name suggests, strips, coming in pieces between 1 ½ - 2 ¼ inches wide. Plank strips are wider yet, and parquet flooring uses individual squares that make up a geometric pattern.
- Oak is typically used in kitchens, living areas, entryways, and hallways. The grain pattern is a bold look and can easily dominate the appearance of the room. Oak is highly resistant to dents and deep scratches.
- Ash is even harder than oak, and has the same dent and deep scratch resistant properties. Ash also holds the stain color well, and its naturally light color reveals the grain pattern regardless of stain darkness. Ash is used in kitchens, baths, living areas, entryways, and hallways.
- Maple is a light-colored hardwood. The close-grain pattern is more subtle than many other wood types.
- Pine is a much softer wood; the hardness varies greatly depending on the species of pine used. The feature characteristic of pine is knots and pin holes which offer a more rustic look.
- Bamboo began being used worldwide in only the last 20 years. During this time, bamboo has become so common that it is no longer considered exotic and unique. Bamboo has the same hardness quality of oak, but typically stained lighter to reveal its fibrous grain pattern.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
In addition to durability, another primary beneficial quality of hardwood flooring is that it is naturally hypoallergenic. If allergies run in the family, hardwood may be a way to reduce symptoms from floor-loving allergens.
Hardwood can be expensive. This cost can be offset over a long enough time period, definitely pay itself off over its lifetime of the home. Requiring only minimal cleaning with a wood floor cleaner, maintaining hardwood flooring can be accomplished for relatively cheap. However, wood floors may need refinished occasionally, especially in high traffic areas.
Noise can be a nuisance when walking across hardwood floors, particularly in multi-floor situations. Using an area rug over the floor and in high traffic areas will not only help muffle the sound, but also protect the floor standard wear and tear. Rugs are also a good idea in areas prone to falling breakable objects, or elderly and children prone to falls because the rug acts like a cushion, absorbing the impact with the floor.
Hardwood flooring is a durable and long-lasting flooring option which provides an immediate increase to home value and aesthetic appeal. An investment in hardwood floors will pay itself off over their lifetime, possibly outlasting the home itself.
Justin operates a small flooring installation shop, Flooring HQ Store. He likes to share his expertise about all of the flooring update options available in the market today.