Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are the traditional hallmark of taste, style and performance in flooring. Floors set the stage for the look and feel of a home. From concrete to shag carpet to all types of wood flooring, the choices are almost endless. Natural wood floors have a timeless appeal and are more popular today than ever. Wood floors are prized for their natural beauty, lasting durability, low maintenance and rich visual statement. Hardwood floors are comfortable and warm. They maintain a relatively even temperature all year round and have a moderate amount of give underfoot. Hardwood floors are the perfect combination of strength, style and comfort for almost every home.

Durable Hardwood Floors icon

Durability

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Versatility

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Natural Beauty

Hardwood floors are one of the most durable flooring options on the market. The natural stiffness of wood and the protective finishes added during the manufacturing process mean hardwood floors are tough, able to withstand heavy use and still look great. Good quality wood floors will last for decades with minimal maintenance. When floors begin to look a bit dull or worn, use Scott’s Liquid Gold Floor Restore to bring back the shine, hide scratches and provide a protective coating that lasts for months.

One of the great thing about wood floors is the versatility. Hardwood floors go with anything and never go out of style. They tend to survive trends, but if styles do change, hardwood floors can be refinished rather than replaced. With a spectrum of woods and colors to choose from, wood floors are a timeless choice.

One of the most appealing aspects of wood floors are the natural beauty and patterns in the grain. It is a unique experience that only natural wood can produce. Other flooring options are not as rich and inviting. Carpets are one color. Tile and stone are cold. No synthetic wood flooring can replicate the beauty of natural wood.

+ Pros

  • Hardwood floors add value. Homes with hardwood floors sell for more and sell faster than homes with carpeting.
  • Hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times. As styles change, so can you change the look of hardwood floors.
  • Hardwood floors are made from a natural, organic material. The variety of colors and patterns adds character to a home.
  • Hardwood floors are strong, durable, easy to maintain, and can last for generations when cared for properly.
  • Hardwood floors compliment all decorating styles. From traditional to modern, there is a wide range of colors and finishes.
  • Hardwood flooring manufacturers often offer warranties on flooring.

- Cons

  • Hardwood floors are an investment. Quality hardwoods are more expensive to buy and to install.
  • Hardwood floors are a natural, organic material that swells and contracts with moisture and climate variations.
  • Hardwood floors will get scratched, scuffed, damaged, dented or scraped, especially in high traffic areas.
  • Hardwood floors can be noisy. Footsteps are more easily heard, and wood floors squeak from friction and planks that rub.
  • Hardwood floors are not right for every room. Wood floors should not be used in bathrooms, laundry or basements.

Reasons to have hardwood floors in your home

baby feet on hardwood floor

Hygienic and hypoallergenic

Homeowners are increasingly getting rid of carpet in favor of hardwood floors because they are generally cleaner than carpet. Wood does not trap dust, animal dander, pollen, particulate matter or other allergens making them a healthier choice for a home. They are the best flooring choice for allergy sufferers. Wood floors also do not harbor unpleasant odors from animals or things that have been spilled. Hardwood floors also eliminate concerns regarding chemicals like formaldehyde, fire retardants and other chemicals that might be emitted from new carpet and synthetic flooring. Hardwood floors help to improve and provide the best possible indoor air quality.

harringbone kitchen hardwood floor

Earth-Friendly

Wood floors are undoubtedly the most earth-friendly choice for flooring. Trees are a renewable resource. There are enough trees planted today to produce wood products for more than 100 years. Wood is also carbon neutral, producing oxygen during its growth cycle and storing it during its life cycle, reducing the carbon footprint. Hardwood floors needs less water, energy and resources to produce further reducing their impact on the environment. Unlike other flooring options, wood floors can last 50 -100 years and can be repaired, restored or refinished without having to be replaced. Lastly, reclaimed wood can be repurposed or recycled after it has served its original purpose and used to make floors, furniture and more.

hardwood floor stairway

Family-Friendly

Hardwood floors are easier to keep clean. Simply sweep, dry mop or vacuum weekly to remove dust and dirt. They are more stain resistant than carpet and if something gets spilled just wipe it up. Hard wood floors also look great with a little bit of wear and tear. Oak flooring stands up to heavy traffic, kids and pets as well as the best vinyl and laminate floorings. Wood floors also improve the acoustics in a room by reducing hollow sounds or vibrations. Improving the acoustics in a home can be a benefit to a home entertainment or sound system. Durable and timeless, hardwood floors last. This makes them a good investment for a family. They cost more upfront but far less over the course of 20 years.

Types of Wood

The type of wood used for flooring can affect the wood’s color, grain pattern and most importantly durability. Each type of wood is unique and personal style choices, like the width of the planks, can dramatically affect how a floor will look in a home. Hardwood flooring can help to make a room look bigger depending upon the type of wood used.

Manufacturers often stain certain type of wood to alter the natural color, but the grain is unique to each species of tree used to make flooring. All types of wood are rated on their hardness. Janka ratings, as they are known, essentially test the pressure required to insert a steel ball to a certain depth in a piece of the wood. A few of the most common types of hardwoods used in floors are:

+Oak

is often cited as a preferable balance of hardness, abundance and affordability. It is domestically sourced and comes in multiple varieties, including red and white oak. Its hardness makes oak ideal for high-traffic areas. Generally, a lighter color, oak is easier to stain and offers a greater range of colors.

+Ash

is very similar to its cousin, oak. It is light in color, domestically grown and very hard. One of the things that makes ash different from oak is a more distinctive grain pattern. Ash has more character or whimsy than some of the other American options.

+Maple

is another popular domestic option. It is an extremely hard and durable choice of wood. Maple is an extremely light color with a very subtle grain. This makes it a great choice for light, airy minimalist design. Hard maple, sometimes known as sugar maple, is the variety most often used in flooring.

+Hickory

is one of the hardest domestic wood choices. It’s unique in that it has a lot of variation in color that is reflected in the grain. It often creates a very special look. This adds interest and dimension to a floor, whereas other options are more uniform in color and pattern.

+Bamboo

is commonly listed with other types of hardwoods used for flooring, but it’s worth mentioning that it is not wood. Bamboo doesn’t come from a tree, it’s a type of grass. it’s an attractive option with its own set of pros and cons. Understand all the nuances when considering bamboo as a flooring option.

+Cherry

is the Cadillac of hardwood options and priced to match. Known for its fine grain and durable hardness, its most prominent feature is its color and aging. Cherry tends to start its life lighter in color and naturally darken over time. While harvested domestically, imported varieties, especially from Brazil, have gained popularity in recent years.

Oak wood sample swatch

Oak

Ash wood sample swatch

Ash

Maple wood sample swatch

Maple

Hickory wood sample swatch

Hickory

Bamboo wood sample swatch

Bamboo

Cherry wood sample swatch

Cherry

A Word About Warranties

Many hardwood flooring manufacturers offer warranties on their flooring. Warranties can vary based on the grade of hardwood flooring and whether it is finished or unfinished. Most hardwood floors have a warranty in the range of 10-30 years. The most common type of warranty is a structural warranty, they guarantee that the milling, grade and moisture content of the wood is manufactured within the industry standards. A finish warranty is for pre-finished hardwoods and is designed to protect your floors from scratches or water damage. This warranty specifies that the finish will not wear off under standard use and does not cover things like scratches, dents or pet stains. Warranties are usually only valid for the original end-consumer and are not transferable. Having a warranty on your floors could be added peace of mind but be prepared to provide documentation if you have issues with your flooring — 1. Save contracts, receipts and a list of all materials used, 2. Keep documentation from the installation, 3. Take photographs and make notes when potential issues happen.