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Hardwood Flooring: Pros and Cons

hardwood floors pros and consNo flooring option is perfect: We walk on it for goodness sake! Hardwood flooring is no different, but you’ll find that the negative aspects of hardwood flooring are vastly outweighed by its advantages. Hardwood flooring is as close to perfect as you can get for just about any home.

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The advantages of hardwood flooring are numerous, and its disadvantages are no more than any other flooring option. Few flooring options can match the beauty and longevity of a hardwood floor. Read on for some pros and cons about installing hardwood flooring in your home.

Con: It Can Be Expensive

It is no secret that hardwood flooring can be costly. Depending upon factors such as the species of wood used, the cut, and any special treatments such as distressing or hand-scraping, hardwood flooring can cost anywhere from $5 a square foot to $17 a square foot, or more. The cost to install hardwood flooring in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room can be from $500 to $1,700 or more in the price of the flooring alone.

hardwood floors cons and prosAdditionally, there are also other installation costs. You probably need to remove your old flooring, and you also have to buy other materials such as nails or glue. If you hire someone to install your flooring, then you can add a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars to the overall cost.

Pro: It’s Worth Every Penny

While hardwood flooring can be more expensive than other flooring options, it is worth every penny. No one can argue with the absolute beauty and versatile look of hardwood flooring.

It is a cherished option due to the array of colors, hues, and patterns. The possibilities are endless, whether you want something that is light and airy or you prefer a floor that is dark and sophisticated. Truly, there is a hardwood flooring option that goes with any interior design or taste.

Hardwood flooring is also highly valued for its superior feel underfoot. Many assert that it feels softer and has better sound qualities than other flooring options like tile. It won’t freeze your feet in the winter or bother you in the heat of the summer.

hardwood floor pros and consHardwood flooring is also a good choice for the environment, as wood is a renewable resource that is replenished faster than it is cut down. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, hardwood flooring uses less water and energy in production, it can be recycled, and it needs to be replaced less often than other types of flooring.

The life of carpeting can be as short as five years, but hardwood flooring can last for decades and beyond if it’s well cared for. Just the lifespan of hardwood flooring alone makes it well worth the higher cost.

Additionally, solid hardwood flooring also increases the value of any home. According to the National Association of Realtors, hardwood flooring beats carpet, ceramic flooring, and tile for attracting home buyers. So, the higher cost of hardwood flooring is also an investment in your home.

Con: It Is High Maintenance

Many feel that the maintenance involved with hardwood floors is too much work. Hardwood floors certainly must be kept free of water and liquids, as water damage will mar the beauty and integrity of any hardwood floor. Spills and leaks must be cleaned up or fixed immediately.

Furthermore, hardwood floors should also be kept free of dirt and grit, as they act like sandpaper every time you walk on a dirty floor. Over time, the small abrasions from dirt and small particles can dull the finish of hardwood flooring.

hardwood flooring pros and consYou also need to use special cleaning products at times; you can’t just use any old cleaner. You should utilize felt pads on furniture legs, mats in front of doors, and rugs and runners on the floor to minimize wear in high-traffic areas. Furthermore, pets and kids can also add additional scratches, dents, and dings, so it is advised that homeowners try to minimize damage from such sources as much as possible.

Pro: It Can Last for Years

Hardwood flooring can certainly be high maintenance, but all of the above cleaning techniques help with wear prevention and with protection of your flooring. If you think about it, it really isn’t that much work. You work to keep your whole house clean on a daily basis, and hardwood flooring might need just a bit more attention.

Every flooring option in your home should be kept free of dirt and debris and as dry as possible. Certainly, you aren’t leaving pools of water and dirt on your tile flooring because it can take it.

Hardwood flooring also cleans up much easier in terms of liquids and debris than other flooring options. If you get a stain on your carpet, you can’t just wipe it up like with a hardwood floor.

Each flooring option has its weak point when it comes to cleaning. Anyone who has ever tried to get a tough animal stain out of a carpet or cleaned their tile grout with a toothbrush can attest to that fact!

hardwood flooring cons and prosHowever, if your hardwood flooring gathers enough scratches and dents that it start to look bad, you can always have it sanded down and refinished. Try that with carpet or tile! The ability to be refinished to look like new is one of the reasons why hardwood flooring can last so long.

Certainly, refinishing a hardwood floor is no easy task, but it’s not rocket science, either. Many homeowners take on the task of refinishing hardwood floors, as all of the equipment can be easily rented. If do-it-yourself is not your thing, there are plenty of professionals up to the task. It is also a process that can be repeated many times over the life of a hardwood floor.

There are historic houses across America that have beautiful hardwood floors that are well over 100 years old. The higher maintenance that should be performed on hardwood flooring will help to prevent damage, but the ability of hardwood flooring to be refinished allows it to last for years and years.

Con: It Can’t Be Installed Everywhere

Many people feel that hardwood flooring loses significant points because it cannot be installed in every room of your home. Below-grade installations, or those below ground level, will void the manufacturer’s warranty for most hardwood flooring.

Generally, below-grade areas such as a basement are too moist for hardwood flooring.

The constant moisture causes the boards to warp, crack, and rot. This is true of all wood, whether you are talking about siding, plywood under the roof, or even wood furniture. Eventually, the wood will be so ruined that it likely won’t be able to be repaired at all.

hardwood flooring and the pros and consSimilarly, hardwood flooring is not a great option for areas with high moisture content levels, such as is found in bathrooms, kitchens, and mudrooms. Essentially, hardwood flooring is best suited to installation in rooms that are at ground level or above, and they are not always recommended for use in areas associated with moisture.

This limit on installation options can be limiting, especially if you want to install hardwood floors in every room for a similar look and feel throughout your home.

Pro: Engineered Hardwood to the Rescue

The limited amount of rooms where hardwood can safely be installed might have restricted your options a few years ago, but newer technologies in the form of engineered flooring have really opened up the possibility to allow hardwood flooring in every room in your home.

Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several layers of different wood.

Usually there is a softer, less expensive form of wood in the middle, and then there are alternating layers of different wood. On the very top is the layer of wood that gives the engineered hardwood flooring its appearance. In this way, you can actually have the look of a more expensive hardwood without the cost, because the expensive wood is used only at the top.

Engineered hardwood flooring can also be a great choice for the environment, according to the Sierra Club. Rarer, more expensive hardwood can be used to create more engineered flooring boards than if they were being used to create solid hardwood flooring, because just a thin strip is needed for each board. In this way, fewer trees need to be harvested to create the same amount of flooring.

hardwood floor cons and prosEngineered hardwood flooring is grouped as a type of hardwood flooring because it is made of actual wood. It just isn’t made of solid hardwood. One of the huge benefits of engineered hardwood flooring is that it can be installed in below-grade areas, such as in basements, and in moisture-rich areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

The way that engineered hardwood flooring is made gives it great strength, according to the World Floor Covering Association. The layers of wood, called plies, are laid so that the directions of the grains are opposite from the previous layer’s direction. This mesh creates a strong product that doesn’t shift and change as much as solid hardwood flooring.

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful option for your home, whether you choose to use solid hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring. It might have its disadvantages, but they can all be overcome by its stunning positive aspects!

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