Home buyers often look for amenities like hardwood floors when purchasing a home. Others look to the most popular trend when installing updates. Currently the most popular is wide-plank wood flooring.
If you are debating whether to install hardwood flooring in your home for yourself or for resale value, first investigate all options and consider the pros and cons.
Types of Hardwood Flooring
Unfinished vs. Finished
Prefinished hardwood flooring arrives from the factory already sanded and sealed. This means the installation job moves quickly and there are no odors or VOCs from finishing onsite. In addition, the floor can be walked on immediately.
Unfinished hardwood flooring is a good option if you want to match the color of existing flooring, or if you want a custom stain applied before the final finish. After installation and staining, the hardwood receives several coats of protective finish. This is a great option if you want hardwood flooring in your kitchen, because the protective coats will penetrate and seal the seams between boards. This helps prevent liquid from seeping through.
Solid vs. Engineered
Solid hardwood flooring is 100 percent wood. It can be sanded and refinished many times. However, this option is not suggested for below-grade basements because it is susceptible to changes in humidity.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a veneer of real wood glued to several layers of wood, like plywood, underneath. Engineered wood has excellent stability over time and is a good choice for any area of your home, including below-grade basements. Depending on the thickness of the veneer, this type of flooring can only be sanded and refinished once or twice during its lifetime.
The best hardwood floors are made from wood species that are readily available and durable. Red oak and white oak flooring are among the top choices for hardwood. Other species include maple, cherry, hickory, walnut, ash, acacia and bamboo – which is actually a grass. You can expect to pay premium pricing for exotic species, such as teak, Brazilian walnut, or mahogany.
Pros vs. Cons
Pros of Hardwood Flooring
- Value: Buyers are willing to pay top dollar for homes with hardwood floors. Homes that already have hardwood installed tend to sell faster than houses with wall-to-wall carpeting. Builders consider hardwood an upgrade.
- Simple Maintenance: Hardwood floors are durable. Homes that are 100 or more years old can have original flooring if they have been cared for properly. Routinely sweeping and vacuuming paired with occasional wood floor cleaner can extend the life of your hardwood flooring.
- Various Styles: Hardwood pairs well with any design style, from traditional to contemporary. Because of the different species and stain color options, you can find a hardwood that will match any room.
Cons of Hardwood Flooring
- Cost: Hardwood is a more costly flooring option. Material can run from around $3 per square foot and higher for more exotic species. This type of flooring must be installed over sub-flooring. In addition, most hardwood flooring installations will be more difficult than average homeowners can handle on their own.
- Refinishing: Over time, floors may need to be refinished due to scuffs and scratches from longer term use. The softer your wood is, like pine for example, the easier it will scratch and blemish.
- Noisy: Hardwood floors can be noisy when walked across. If you live in a multi-level house or complex, this can be a nuisance to those downstairs. One way to muffle the sound is adding an area rug over the floor, or smaller rugs in strategic areas.
Are you thinking about a renovation project that involves new flooring? Let our experts help guide you each step of the way, from design to material selection to build. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.