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The Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring

It is fairly common that one of the first things people notice in your home is your choice of flooring. And something as small as replacing your old floors with fresh, new hardwoods can not only make you enjoy your home more, but may also increase the value of your home more than any other renovation. Replacing the flooring in your home can seem to be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Flooring pulls a home together to give a fresh and consistent look throughout the home. Hardwoods are also easier to keep clean and remove triggers for those with allergies, sensitivity to pet dander or even asthma. So, now that you are sold on upgrading your floors how do you know which colour, style or thickness is right for you? Here’s some things to consider when looking to rejuvenate your flooring.

Location

Unlike laminate or engineered hardwood flooring, real hardwoods should not be installed in every location in your home. This flooring type is sensitive to moisture and, if installed in an area prone to dampness (like a basement), planks are susceptible to warping and even separating from each other after installation.

Finish

Thanks to modern technology hardwoods come available in unfinished and finished varieties. The unfinished variety, unfortunately, has to be sanded and finished upon installation whereas if it comes finished from the factory it is ready to be installed without further work. Further, solid wood floors can be refinished at any time without actually replacing the floor itself.

Type

There are three types available: Strip Flooring, Plank Flooring and Parquet Flooring. Strip flooring comes in fixed thicknesses and widths whereas plank flooring has fixed thickness but the widths vary from 3 to 8 inches wide. Parquet flooring is comprised of individual wood planks assembled into a mosaic of patterns.

Colour

Picking the colour of a new floor is probably the biggest deal when making this upgrade to your home. The desired look of your home will, more than likely, dictate the finish you select for your new floors. If you want a more traditional look and feel to your home you might select a finish like cherry or red oak. But if you are looking to have a more modern feel to your home then white oak might be the right fit.

Hardness/Durability

Your floor takes a beating, every day, and if you have small children or pets running around your home the durability of your floors matter. A wood like Douglas Fir is one of the softest types of wood and will show scratches, dents and marks easier than Brazilian Cherry or Mesquite. This is something to take into account when selecting a type of flooring.

Cost

This aspect has two parts: the cost of materials and the cost of installation. If you, or your family members, are especially handy you can save, or skip entirely, the second part involving cost for installation. The flooring will be priced by square foot, so it is a really good idea to have your measurements handy when you go shopping and then you will have a better idea to your cost. If you require someone to come and install your floors it will add, potentially, a lot to your budget. Labor costs to have a floor properly installed, while worth it, is not cheap, so it is important to keep this in mind when pricing your materials.

Installation

Floors can be secured in four ways: nailed down, stapled down, glued down or a floating floor. Floating floors are friendlier for the consumer in that they are easier to install yourself and come ready to install.

Overall, home renovations are exciting and are a great way to feel like you are living in a brand new home without moving, and new floors are no exception to that. Hardwood floors can unify the look of a home when installed throughout a main or upper level of a home. They can also give a warm, cozy traditional feel or change it all up and give your home a modern and edgy look with a dark finish. Regardless of the finish or wood type you choose, investing in new floors will make you want to spend more time at home, and even increase the value of your home should you decide to move.

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