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Hardwood Floors

Written by; Chad Simco / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun Jun 28 2009


Hardwood Floors

Slowly turn the pages of Architectural Digest. Take a leisurely leaf through Sunset. Pore over a few photos in Home and Garden. You very quickly will discover that the rooms you love, all of the most beautiful rooms, have hardwood floors. No matter what style of architecture or interior design, the warmest and most inviting rooms feature fine hardwoods on their floors. Classic to contemporary, primitive to post-modern, regardless of a room's size or shape, the warm colors and rich textures hardwood floors enhance every room's appeal.

Architects, interior designers, and realtors agree: hardwood floors add both beauty and value to every home. Most popular hardwood flooring comes from the lumberyard 3/4" thick and three or four inches wide. Almost all hardwood flooring is, in fact, very high-grade plywood - a wood-composite core with a hardwood veneer. The laminate construction reduces weight, so that flooring puts less stress on sub-floors and joists. The multi-layer construction also keeps down the flooring's cost.

Although it arrives at your site in long planks, contractors and retailers usually measure and sell by the square foot; they can show you how to do the math right along with them. And almost all experienced homeowners agree, when you install genuine hardwood floors, you definitely should hire a licensed professional for the job - the whole job, from assuring the strength of the sub-floor, through laying down the hardwood, to applying exactly the right finish. Especially the last two steps - sanding and finishing - require a great deal of skill. You have too much invested to risk time-consuming and costly mistakes.

Heart-of-pine, ash, and white oak consistently top the wood-floor popularity charts, because they are readily available and quite affordable. Heart-of-pine always ranks high, because you easily can stain it almost any shade you choose. Oak remains popular because of its distinctive color and grain; and ash is just plain rough and tough.

In the last few years, however, "engineered woods" and bamboo have gained popularity. "Engineered woods" are extremely inexpensive and so easy to install that most homeowners can lay them down in a weekend. Engineered wood floors often cost less than medium grade carpeting, they look better and they last longer. Although "engineered woods" may contain nothing but composites, they nevertheless have the look and feel of genuine hardwoods at just a fraction of the cost.

Going all the way to the other extreme, many homeowners have recently rediscovered bamboo flooring. Exceptionally strong, amazingly scuff and scratch resistant, bamboo flooring typically outlives the homeowner who installs it. As you might imagine, though, bamboo flooring also costs a small fortune, and absolutely requires an expert craftsman's installation. If you are building a brand new home and you plan to stay in it forever, then bamboo definitely represents your very best investment.

In general, if you plan to stay in your home for more than just a few years, or if you have purchased a home for renovation and resale, then you cannot afford not to install hardwood flooring.


Copyright: 2009

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