Property owners have numerous options when it comes to choosing a flooring material for any new home construction or renovation project. Careful consideration must be given to appearance, use, and cost before the buyer makes a final decision. For many homeowners, nothing beats the beauty and durability of a hardwood floor.
A hardwood floor is suitable for any location in the home except rooms where high humidity may be a problem. Excessive moisture can cause premature aging and damage to the wood surface. This means homeowners should avoid installing wood flooring in basements and bathrooms. Despite this minor restriction, wood flooring is popular because it is:
-Made from a sustainable resource
-Available in may styles and colors
-Easy to maintain
Wood floors are pricier than other options, including laminate and tile. The advantage to spending a little more up front is that with proper installation, maintenance and care, wood floors can endure for generations. This means homeowners who install natural wood floors will never have to worry about the hassle and expense of replacing them unless they are destroyed by fire, flood, or some other disaster.
Wood Creates a Healthy Living Environment
One big advantage of installing a wood floor instead of carpeting is the ability to maintain a cleaner and healthier environment. Unlike carpet fibers, wood does not provide a place where particulate matter such as dust and pollen can hide. Carpets can even provide the ideal environment for parasites, which can cause serious health problems. Carpet fibers trap microscopic particles making it impossible to remove them completely. Wood floors are easier to clean and provide a safer living environment, especially for people who suffer from allergies or anyone with an upper respiratory condition that can trigger an asthma attack.
A Hardwood Floor is Environmentally Friendly
Many builders these days are concerned about the environmental impact of their construction projects. Wood is a sustainable resource, making it an ecologically friendly building material. Sustainable management of forests requires replanting after trees are harvested. This ensures an ample supply of wood for future generations. Trees store carbon and produce oxygen, making wood a carbon neutral material. According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, it takes less water and energy to produce wood than it does to process other types of materials.
Many Looks to Choose From When Installing a Hardwood Floor
Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of stains and finishes. One of the most popular finishes involves planing the hardwood floor to a smooth surface. Homeowners who prefer a rustic finish can opt for wood scraped by hand instead of using a machine. Stains come in a range of colors and densities. Some stains will change the color of the wood, while others are designed to bring out the natural beauty and enhance the grain pattern. Stains that alter the color can be useful for making a less expensive species of wood mimic a rarer or more expensive species.
Consumers can choose between different finishes depending on personal preference. Old-school wood floors typically had a high-gloss finish but less shiny floors are trending in the current market. Surfaces that are not as shiny tend to hide small dents and scratches better making this a good choice for households with small children or pets.
Tracking the Trends
Traditional wood planks are between 2.25 inches and 3.5 inches wide. Recent trends in hardwood floor installation, include using wider planks that are as much as a foot wide. These wide planks can create the illusion of more space in a small area and can be installed diagonally for a visually interesting look.
There has also been a trend toward using gray tones that range from lighter neutrals to deep charcoals. This is a trend that began on the West Coast and is now becoming more popular everywhere. Gray tones are ideal for highlighting texture and grain without overpowering the room.
Homeowners have more options than ever before when choosing wood floors. Variations in color, plank width, and finish offer endless ways to beautify any interior space. Installing a hardwood floor typically requires a larger upfront investment than other types of flooring, but the durability and ease of maintenance make wood worth the additional cost for most consumers. In fact, this type of floor is so desirable and versatile that it can easily increase the value of a home allowing the homeowner to recover at least some of the cost of installation when it comes time to sell the property.