How To – Choices For Hardwood Flooring

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    Flooring is a very personal and decorative part of any home. Products that work in one house may not be right for others no matter how much you fall in love with a look.

    Other important aspects are wear and comfort.  Although stone and tile are  your most durable products they are cold to your feet and not nice to lay on in front of the television. Carpet will last you only a set number of years between 5 and 10 depending on how you care for it and its type but you never want to use carpet in a bathroom or kitchen and if you have animals or young children that run with cups of juice you are likely to end up spending your weekends shampooing your tears away.

    No matter what product you pick there are advantages and pitfalls so lets look at Hardwood Flooring to decide if its whats right for your home.

    Materials Costs
    The first consideration you should examine is the cost vs lifetime.

    Red Oak Hardwood Floor

    Hardwood floor comes in in 2 basic types Vernier and Solid.  As the name suggests Solid Hardwood is just that it is a solid piece of one type of hardwood product. Laminate Vernier is a composite material with a thin layer of hardwood on the top and a body made out of a cheaper wood and other materials.

    For price it is interesting that a lower grade solid Oak might actually cost less then a more exotic vernier flooring material. At the time of writing unfinished solid oak is coming in at about $1.50 per square foot on the low end. While some Laminated Vernier products can be as high as $6 or more.

    On average though whether its hardwood or laminate you are looking at about $3 a square foot and up for  a product that you will enjoy.

    Product Life

    Teak Hardwood Floor

    Teak Hardwood Floor

    Most laminates will come with a guarantee for some life of the product. This is either 3 – 5 or 10 years but the guaranty is limited and prorated so near the end of the term they will provide you next to nothing and that is the time when you will need to refinish or replace the product.

    Solid Hardwood floors can last for decades or even hundreds of years if properly maintained and they can be resurfaced, sanded and refinished to remove even major damage unlike Laminate Verniers which may hold up to a light sanding and refinish in spot areas but won’t allow you to perform a full floor sanding and refinish.

    Labor Costs

    Hand Scraped Maple Floor

    Hand Scraped Maple Floor

    Instillation costs for Laminate flooring are much cheaper when compared to hardwood. You can install your own 10×10 foot room of laminate floor in a couple hours with basic hand tools. You will need an air compressor and flooring cleat nailer to install your solid hardwood. Even with a pneumatic fastener it is still a labor intensive job to install solid hardwood and you may want to hire a professional for a cost of about $3 per square foot.

    If the solid wood is unfinished then you have to add in the cost to stain and finish it. This is not a very difficult process and can be completed by a do it yourselfer but if you run into problems you could end up with an ugly looking floor that will need to be redone by a professional. If you like the natural look of unstained wood then don’t shy away from applying a polyurethane finish yourself.

    Wood Types

    American Cherry Flooring

    American Cherry Flooring

    When choosing the type of hardwood product for your floor you need to take into consideration not only the visual appeal but also the durability.

    White Pine is the most common soft solid wood used in our homes. It is used for moldings, shelves, doors and other details. For the most part it should not see a lot of damage but when it does it is inexpensive enough to just replace. White pine has wide grain and is often painted.

    Hardwood is often used in our Cabinets and Furniture. These items are expected to stand up to abuse and look good forever. Hardwood has a tight grain because it takes many years for the tree to grow. Trees grow a layer of wood every year if you cut across the tree you will see growth rings. The tighter the rings the longer it has taken for the tree to grow.

    Bamboo Flooring

    Bamboo Flooring

    Hardwood is more expensive because it takes a persons lifetime to grow a tree large enough to be harvested. Soft wood like pine can grow large enough to be harvested in just 15 years. Oak trees may take 70 years and cedar  and other woods may take over 100.

    The most common product is white or red oak. Pine is another popular choice in historic homes and in older contractor grade floors in south eastern states but pine is not truly a hardwood.

    After Oak and Pine you have a few nut tree species native to the United States that are often used for flooring. Walnut is very popular but more expensive. After the American Hardwoods you have South American and Asian Hardwoods like mahogany and teak.

    Bamboo is another hardwood that is getting some attention because it grows quickly and it is very stable in areas that might see some moisture. Because it grows fast it is also inexpensive. If you are unfamiliar with the product it looks somewhat like white pine.

    The YouRepair Store Carries a full line of Hardwood and Laminate Floor Products

    Plank Floor by Owens

    Building Materials

    Flooring

    Flooring Materials

    Wood Flooring

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