Wood Flooring has Timeless Appeal

Wood flooring is synonymous with natural beauty and long term durability.  And, it is available in a range of colors and textures to suit nearly any room.  A beautiful wood floor can play a starring role in a room’s décor.   Many homeowners like the continuity of appearance and are even considering wood flooring in kitchen and baths.

If you are thinking of installing wood flooring, don’t let the myriad of options turn you away.  Because it is an expensive undertaking, carefully weigh all choices. Here are some things to consider:

Board Width – Manufacturers now make boards up to 24” in width.  The thinner planks will give you a traditional look. Wider planks offer a modern aesthetic.  You can create any type of decorative style.

Length – Planks are now as long as 10 feet, which is good for a large space.  Shorter planks can look choppy and take stain differently, or look too busy.

Species – White oak remains the most popular choice because it is very hard, can be re-sanded multiple times and takes finish well.  It can also be cut different ways, revealing interesting grain patterns.  Walnut is also popular. Softer woods like hickory, beech, and pine are less popular.  Those looking to modernize a look may choose ash or maple.

Color – Extreme colors like dark ebony finish, or pale grey are falling out of favor, most often because they show dirt easily.  There is a wide range of colors available, and todays finishes don’t yellow like the finishes of past.

Decorative features – Inlays and borders are passé, unless the home is very traditional.  Alternative, you can think about laying boards in other ways, such as a chevron or hexagon. You can also introduce texture through hand scraping.

Manufactured techniques – Beside wood planks, homeowners are buying engineer flooring.  Engineered flooring consists of multiple layers of hardwood veneer, glued and pressed together to improve stability, and lessen the tendency to expand and contract, especially in humid climates.  Keep in mind that the thickness of the top layer of board will determine how often it can be sanded.  Reclaimed boards are also popular and available in planks or as an engineer product.

Finish – Most finished today are better for the environment and dry quickly.  Most people like a matter or lower gloss finish, which shows less dirt and hair. If your floor will be in sunlight, make sure the finished that is used has UV protection, so your floor won’t fade.  And, always match your cleaning products to the type of finish used.

You can do lots of homework up front, but the best thing to do is consult a flooring expert to help you walk through the options.  The National Wood Flooring Association ( http://www.NWFA.org ) has a database of resources and professionals.  Also, don’t forget to contact your realtor, who can recommend local flooring professionals.

Condensed from the National Association of Realtors, 8/6/19 by Barbara Ballinger



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