Pros, Cons & Costs Of Hardwood Flooring

How to clean hardwood floors the right way

Hardwood floors add a beautiful touch to just about any room, but there’s some debate about the best way to clean them. “There are several different mixtures to use for hardwood floors, and you’ll want to be sure to try any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first,”

author of “Cleaning Plain & Simple,” offered a word of caution, “Some hardwood floor manufacturers recommend using a mop dampened with water only, and may even void a warranty on new floors that have been cleaned with any other cleaning solution.”

Routine cleaning

In high-traffic areas, like the dining room and kitchen, sweep or vacuum daily if possible and mop hardwood floors once or twice a week. Mop less-trafficked areas once a month or once a season.

How to clean wood floors

Remember: Water is wood’s worst enemy (even on sealed floors!), so use a damp mop rather than a soaking wet one.

Do’s and don’ts

Do use a floor-cleaning product recommended by the floor finisher or opt for plain soap and water. If the recommended product is hard to find or costly, and other floor cleaners contain ingredients that violate your floor’s warranty, try soap and water. Try 1/4 cup of mild or pH-neutral soap (like liquid dishwashing soap) or Murphy Oil Soap (despite the name, it doesn’t contain oil) to a bucket of water.

 

Guide to wood flooring

Getting Started

Replacing carpeted or tiled areas in your home with wooden floorboards can breathe new life not only into the room in question, but your whole house. As well as adding value to the price of your home, they may improve the health of your family, as nasty bugs and germs have nowhere to hide on wooden surfaces.

If you have some DIY ability, it should also be possible to do the work yourself – which will save you money on installation costs. But there are plenty of companies out there willing to do the work for you and so, if you decide to go the professional route, you should be able to get a competitive price. Try your local Yellow Pages or ask a friend or neighbour who has had similar work done for a recommendation.

What does it involve?

For many years, installing hardwood flooring in your home meant a team of professionals arriving at your house with large strips of oak or maple, which would then become your floorboards. It would take a team of four or five people to install the flooring, which then needed to be sanded and varnished several times before it was ready to be used. During this process you would have to leave your home, as the varnish could not be walked on and could take several days to dry. The costs at the end of this laborious process would be huge

Real Wood Floors

Real wood is also known as solid hardwood and there is very little substitute for this traditional hardwood style of flooring. If money and time were no object then real wood flooring would win hands down every time. Real wood flooring is available in a range of wood types, such as Oak, Cherry, Steamed Beech, Maple and Ash and many other more exotic alternatives.

Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood flooring consists of a plank that is made up of several layers of different woods, which are topped off by a veneer top layer of your selected wood type such as Oak, Ash etc.

 

Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring

Wooden floors are a timeless and classic choice for any home. However, sometimes wood floors might not be a practical option for your home, due to either cost or function. Fortunately, there are other flooring materials that imitate wood so you can have a cozy atmosphere that costs less or is more durable than traditional wood flooring.

So how do you go about deciding if real wood is the best flooring option for you or if you should go with an alternative? Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your flooring options.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is a durable and attractive type of flooring. It goes well with pretty much any style of home. It also has a long life, since you can refinish it multiple times. Hardwood floors keep their value over time, as is evident by their resale value: Fifty-four percent of homebuyers are willing to pay extra for hardwood floors. If you think you might sell your house in the future, it could be worth it to invest in hardwood floors now.

Other Options for Wood Floors

Maybe hardwood isn’t the right choice for your home. What other types of floorings are there for you to choose from? Some popular alternatives to hardwood floors are laminate, vinyl, and ceramic tile. All of these can imitate the look of wood. (yes, even tile!) They each have their own positives and negatives, and they vary in price points.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular alternative to hardwood flooring. It is durable and can withstand heavy traffic, making it a good choice for large families or families with pets. Laminate comes in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you’ll likely find the perfect match for your home. Laminate is going to be one of the more affordable flooring options, costing between 2 and 13 dollars per square foot. In addition, you can install laminate over the already-existing flooring.

 

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Perhaps one of the most desired and treasured part of a homes décor in consumer’s minds is a home that has hardwood flooring. Ask any home realtor they will confirm that a home that has hardwood flooring will sell faster and for more money. Hardwood flooring will add warmth and beauty to any home and it is the most desired floor covering and will increase the value of any home.

The real value of hardwood flooring

If you stop and analyze the true value that quality hardwood flooring can add to your home it’s a real deal. You can spend $20,000-$80,000 for kitchen cabinets that do not have anywhere near the amount of square footage of valuable wood compared to 6-7 rooms full of solid wood flooring for about $8,000-$10,000. Hardwood Flooring will add warmth and beauty throughout your home. You can refinish or re-coat solid Hardwood flooring several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life. There are solid hardwood floors that are well over 100 years old and are still in good condition.

There are hundreds of styles and colors available

When we think of a solid Hardwood flooring we generally think of the standard strip red oak wood flooring that is 3/4″ thick by 2 1/4″ wide, but solid Hardwood flooring is also available in various sizes from 3 to 6 or more inches wide (called plank floors). Prefinished versions of solid wood flooring are available in various thicknesses from 5/16″ – 3/4″ thick are sold as random lengths anywhere from 12″ – 84″ long.

If you need flooring a particular size not commonly available in prefinished versions then you can obtain Custom Milled unfinished wood planks in sizes less than 2-1/4″ wide or wider than 6″ wide which are available in different thicknesses made to order. Custom Milled unfinished wood planks lengths can exceed 12′ long.

What to expect when choosing a hardwood flooring style

One of the tips in choosing quality solid wood flooring is to know what you’re purchasing there are several grades that have their own particular price points and visuals. Prefinished flooring is available in most all wood species and stain colors. It is important to remember that wood flooring is a product of nature and no two pieces are a like. Wood flooring is not perfect and it is recommended that you purchase 5-10% more than you need for cutting and culling waste. For more information on What to expect check our article on Customer Expectations.

 

How to Protect Wood Floors

Both engineered and solid hardwood floors are a great asset to any home. Learn how to avoid scratches and protect wood floors (and your investment!) with these simple tips!

My husband and I both grew up in old homes, and while that didn’t always mean fancy, it did mean solid hardwood floors. That’s just what we were used to. And when we married, we lived in two 60+ year old homes – again with solid hardwood floors. When we bought this 1990’s home, we knew that we wanted to replace the tile and carpet with hardwoods, and we settled on two types of engineered white oak. All that to say, we have a lot of experience with hardwood floors… and with four kids, we have had a lot of practice protecting them! Read on for five tips on how to protect wood floors.

HOW TO PROTECT HARDWOOD FLOORS

Preventing scratches on hardwood floors doesn’t have to be difficult! Knowing how to take care of your hardwood floors is key, and it helps to have some simple rhythms and routines,

LAYER WITH RUGS, ESPECIALLY AT ENTRIES

Area rugs are not only fun decorative elements, they provide incredible protection for your floors. By layering rugs throughout our home, especially in high traffic areas like entryways, we’ve managed to minimize the wear and tear on our engineered wood floors. Additionally, having rugs near entries traps much of the dirt before it makes it onto the wood floors, avoiding more scratches and damage throughout the home. Shop our home and its rugs here if you’re interested.

LEAVE SHOES AT THE DOOR.

Speaking of entryways, I think it’s helpful to try to establish a system of leaving shoes near the door. It is not a hard and fast rule in our home (we wear shoes throughout the house often), but we do have a shoe box (a piece I built to replicate an antique firewood box) near our front door. This not only helps to prevent scratching by limiting the amount of dirt tracked into the home, it also keeps mom from losing her sanity every time the kids need to put their shoes on to leave. 😉 It also goes without saying that soccer and baseball cleats and particularly sharp high heels are best left at the door, too.