Hardwood floors are universally known for their durability and beauty, and as a result, they are one of the more valuable additions you can make to a property. Thankfully, there are many places where you can find hardwood flooring material and shop for your home’s new stunning floors!
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Due to the popularity of hardwood floors, there are many different kinds of businesses that sell them. Not only does this mean you can shop for hardwood floors from practically any location in the country, but there’s plenty of selection from which to choose. The more places to shop from, the better deals you will find!
Consider Your Hardwood Options
Before you start looking for your hardwood flooring materials, your shopping experience will be a lot more productive if you have a good idea of the kind of floors you want. There are many different types and colors of hardwood flooring, and certain stores may not have what you’re looking for.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of hardwood floors: engineered and solid wood. Engineered hardwood flooring uses manufactured boards that consist of many different layers of wood. The top layer is usually made of a harder and more durable wood. Engineered woods are more resistant to moisture and extreme temperature changes than solid woods; however, they cannot be refinished as much due to their thin top layer.
Solid hardwood floors, on the other hand, use thick boards that come from one species of tree. The tree may be exotic, like Brazilian Walnut for example, or a domestic species like Yellow Birch. Typically, exotic hardwood floors are more expensive, due to their shipping costs and quality.
Many exotic species are amongst the hardest trees that are used for hardwood flooring. The harder the wood is, the tougher it is to damage or mark. Some of the more durable woods, according to the Janka Hardness Scale, include Ebony, Brazilian Teak and Red Mahogany.
You can learn more about each type of flooring through websites like The Wood Database.
You will also need to decide whether you want to buy prefinished or unfinished flooring. The finish helps protect the wood from damage and moisture and, depending on what type is used, the finish can alter or enhance the color. Prefinished boards are usually more expensive than unfinished wood. Remember, however, that it will cost you time and money on supplies to finish the boards yourself.
Engineered and solid hardwood floors also come in a variety of grains and colors, so it’s a good idea to do a little homework and decide which type will look best in your home. For example, flooring with a clear wood or select grade has very few lines and is more uniform in appearance. Second grade wood, on the other hand, has more marks and knots on it and is more rustic-looking as a result.
Although many retailers and stores carry various types of hardwood flooring materials, some may not carry exotic woods. Or, they may only sell engineered boards. The more you know about what type of floors your home should have, the quicker you will find them.
The National Wood Flooring Association is a great resource for learning more about the various types of hardwood floors. It also publishes an online publication called Hardwood Floors Magazine.
The pricing of hardwood flooring materials can vary and depends on many factors. While there’s usually no major difference in price between engineered boards and solid hardwood flooring, exotic hardwood is generally more expensive, as mentioned. The price can also depend on where you reside, and whether you live close to, or far away from, the manufacturer. Of course, the taxes in your state will also affect the price tag.
The cost of your hardwood flooring will depend greatly on where you buy it.
If you take a little time to do some research and shop around, then you could save some serious money!
One of the places you can find hardwood flooring materials is at local retailers who sell products for construction projects and home renovations. Depending on what’s available in your area, the store could be a large chain store like Home Depot, for example, or a smaller, independent business.
Many larger retailers have a wide selection of hardwood flooring; however, depending on the business, they may only carry products from certain manufacturers. Typically, these stores also sell other materials you may need to install the floor yourself or to finish the boards.
Some stores also have hardwood floor samples for you to look at while you decide what boards are best for you home. Other businesses may have displays or showrooms so you can see in person what the hardwood floors look like. They also might sell other flooring products, such as area rugs or floor mats.
Retailers will likely have staff on hand to answer your questions. However, if you go during a really busy time, they could be busy helping other customers. If possible, try to get to the store early or go on a weekday rather than the weekend to avoid large crowds. Depending on the size of the store, finding what you need could be difficult, so it’s important to go at a time when you can get help if you need it.
If you live close to a lumber retailer, then you might want to see what they have for hardwood flooring materials. Typically, lumber distributors sell large quantities of wood products to construction companies and larger home improvement stores, but many also sell directly to individual customers.
Most lumber distributors don’t have large showrooms and hundreds of employees like larger retailers, so you may find their prices to be lower than the chain stores. Before you start shopping at the lumber yard, however, ask if they have a minimum order requirement. If you don’t need much wood, they may charge a fee for smaller orders, or they may not take your order at all.
Staff that work at lumber retailers are typically very knowledgeable about the various types of wood, and they might have a good sense of what boards are best suited for your region. That being said, depending on the distributor, they may not have many staff on hand to provide customer service, especially if they primarily deal with bulk orders.
You can find out more about lumber retailers by searching online or referring to organizations like the Timber Merchants Association.
One of the most convenient ways to find great and affordable hardwood flooring is to buy from an online retailer. You don’t have to drive back and forth to get there, you won’t have to worry about parking, and you won’t have to deal with any crowds. In addition, you can shop when you like, at night time or during your lunch break. It’s up to you.
Websites that specialize in hardwood flooring not only have an extensive selection of materials from which to choose, but many also have plenty of articles and resources to answer any of your questions. In other words, you don’t have to worry about getting the attention of the staff or dealing with a pushy sales environment.
Online retailers have an even lower overhead than lumber retailers and, as a result, they can pass on their savings to you, the customer. In addition, some flooring sites have contacts with various distributors from all over the country, and they will find you the best deal possible on all the materials you need. And, unlike shopping for hardwood floors at a large chain store, you can learn about discounts from all over the country.
Used Wood Retailers
Due to growing concerns over the environment, there are some retailers that specialize in selling recycled flooring materials. Typically, these boards are cheaper than buying unused floors, and some people prefer to buy woods that have a worn and used look. You can find used wood retailers by searching online or ask an online retailer if they sell vintage floors.
You can also learn more about the sustainable use of trees for hardwood flooring through the Forest Stewardship Foundation.
Aside from the convenience, selection, or price that a retailer offers, there are other things you should consider when you’re looking for hardwood flooring materials. Before you buy anything, be sure to ask about the warranty.
Although you may have found discounted floors, if the warranty is no good, then you could end up paying more money in the long run.
Also, be sure to ask about the company’s return policy, and whether they cover damages that might occur during delivery. If something happens to your floors while they’re shipped, or you realize you purchased the wrong materials, you don’t want any hassles if you need to get the floor boards replaced.
In addition, check with the manufacturer to see if your hardwood floors require an underlayment. Depending on where you’re laying the floors, and whether the subfloor is rough underneath, the boards may need an underlayment to protect them. In fact, some hardwood floor warranties require it.
Before you buy your floors, make sure you ask if they should be professionally installed or not. If you don’t have much experience with tools or haven’t done any home renovations, then it’s probably a good idea to hire someone to install them. Not doing so could end up costing you a ton of money in repairs.
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