Hardwood Flooring Options
Hardwood flooring remains a popular choice in home decorating. The warmth and beauty of hardwood adds to the value of your home. You have a variety of choices in colors and styles of wood. There is an option for every home from traditional to contemporary.
Choosing Hardwood Flooring
You have several choices in styles for the overall look of your hardwood floor.
- Plank style flooring material is wide and resembles several strips of wood together in one plank. The planks are between three and six inches wide. The benefit of planks is the installation is a bit faster, since the planks cover a wider area than individual strips.
- Strips are smaller, up to three inches wide at most. These are beneficial for making the room appear larger.
- Solid flooring is one large piece of wood. These vary in thickness and are a custom made floor. They can be refinished many times over the life of the floor.
- Parquet floors are squares of hardwood that resemble ceramic tiles in size. Some are glued and others are nailed down. The squares can be arranged in a geometric design for a unique look.
Your other major choice in hardwood flooring is to get one that is unfinished or come pre-finished. Pre-finished floors come with a factory finish. These are very popular and easier to install. However, they are more expensive. Many find the additional price worth the money, as it saves time in staining and sanding.
Unfinished hardwood flooring must be finished after the floor is installed. You stain and coat the wood with urethane to protect the finish. The sanding and finishing process takes several days. You need to allow sufficient time for the surface to cure at each stage in the process before sanding. The floor must be sanded after each stage of the finishing process. Floor sanders can be used for this process.
Installing Hardwood Flooring
Proper measurement is essential when ordering materials for your room. You will need a saw to cut the planks of wood to fit around corners and through doorways. For a more professional look, remove all the baseboards and trim before you start. Replace these after the installation is complete. The seams should be staggered as the planks are laid.
Before the installation process is started, be sure the subfloor is level. This should be done for any floor including hardwood, bamboo flooring, cork flooring or pergo flooring. If the floor isn’t level, use asphalt tiles to level it prior to beginning the installation.
Special paper can be used under the hardwood to avoid squeaking sounds when you walk on the floor. The planks should be nailed through the sub-floor and into the joists for a stable floor that won’t move. Start the installation in the center of the room and move outward for the best, most even look.
Once the hardwood floor is laid, it needs to be sanded. Floor sanders can be rented through home improvement centers or any store that rents tools. Sand the floor evenly and don’t stay too long in any one area of the room. This can cause uneven spots.
FYI. A great place to include a hardwood floor into your house plans is to the master bedroom suite. Nothing adds elegance and class to a master suite like plans for a hardwood floor. We’ve all been in master suites that feel a little bit like a kids room because they are covered with carpet that you’ll find throughout the rest of the home. Perhaps the better choice is to set your master suite apart by having a hardwood floor throughout the room and the bathroom. This way your room feels special and sacred at the end of a long day.
Keeping Hardwood Flooring Looking its Best
The care needed depends on the finish on your particular floor. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions regarding the care of pre-finished hardwood floors. If your floor is finished with urethane, sweep a few times each week to remove dirt and dust. Wipe spills with a damp towel, but don’t use a very wet mop. This can damage the floor.