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Hardwood Flooring FAQs - Part 1

Part 2

Common questions and answers for those considering the purchase and installation of a hardwood floor:

hardwood flooring
Figure 1 - Tongue and groove hardwood flooring

Is hardwood flooring expensive?

Of course what someone considers expensive others may not. If hardwood flooring is compared to other flooring materials it is very competitive. Hardwoods, depending on the species, board quality and finish can vary in price from a dollar a square foot to $20 a square foot for some of the more exotic species. Installation can be accomplished by any home handyman and if professional installation is required it can be had for a couple of dollars a square foot. In most cases, little work is necessary to sub-floors in order to install hardwood flooring, which can be a major cost saving. When considering hardwood and comparing it to other flooring one should also consider that a hardwood floor will never have to be replaced. Very few flooring materials offer that benefit.

Is hardwood flooring a cost effective material?

Properties with hardwood flooring sell faster, obtain higher prices and show better than homes with other floor coverings, by three to one in a study performed by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). In a similar study real estate brokers stated that a home with hardwood flooring would sell 58% faster than a carpeted home and bring a higher price.

What hardwood should I choose?

The choices are vast:

There are over 32 standard species of hardwood flooring.

And probably another 20 more exotic varieties.

Each variety or species has a unique color, grain and patina and accepts stains in different manners. Flooring is the second largest surface area that must be covered in a home, only walls have more square footage. Using different hardwoods, different colors, and installing the material in different patterns, you can show your creativity.

Although hardwood floors have always been very popular, colors and designs change over the years. Currently the most popular hardwood flooring is natural red oak, followed by natural maple. However, recently the darker colors have become very popular. In today's decorating environment there are no rights or wrongs on choice. As a general statement:

  • Dark colors - use in a traditional interior or a formal setting.
  • Light colors - use in casual and contemporary settings.

Following is a small sample of some of the more common hardwood flooring:

red oak hardwood flooring
Red Oak hardwood flooring
birch hardwood flooring
Birch hardwood flooring
American walnut hardwood flooring
American Walnut hardwood flooring
American cherry hardwood flooring
American Cherry hardwood flooring
ash hardwood flooring
Ash hardwood flooring
hickory hardwood flooring
Hickory hardwood flooring

Which rooms are best served with hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring can be installed in almost every room in your home. The exceptions are full bathrooms, because of the high humidity and below grade, because of the dampness that may rise from below the hardwood. For these locations; rooms below grade and full bathrooms, a product that has the appearance and basic attributes of solid hardwood flooring can be installed - engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is a layer of solid hardwood, usually an 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick, which is laminated to a piece of moisture resistant plywood. The plywood provides the hardwood with dimensional stability and prevents, shrinkage, expansion, bowing and twisting.

What design styles does hardwood flooring work with?

Hardwood flooring is rated as one of the best materials for overall home decorating. It provides flexibility, the ability to apply creativity to the installation, uniqueness, beauty, and an overall luxurious appearance. Coupled with the aforementioned benefits to its design capabilities, it is equally usable in contemporary and traditional home decorating. Home owners are pleased with the ease of maintenance, the overall durability and life of the product.

With the natural colors and stains that are available it is easy to identify a hardwood that will highlight any room design and decorating theme.