Giving your home a facelift with the installation or refurbishment of a hardwood floor can add timeless style, natural beauty, and warmth to your humble or not-so-humble abode.
If you decide to add a hardwood floor to your home, you'll need to know what you're getting into. Choosing the type of floor will be one of the most important decisions you make, after all. So, without further ado, here are the pros and cons of hardwood floors you should be aware of.
Advantages of Hardwood Flooring
The following are the main benefits of investing in a hardwood floor:
1. Easy to install
Installing hardwood floors is an easy process that takes less time and effort than other types of flooring.
Prefinished hardwood floors are usually made ready for installation — everything has been done at the factory and all you do is lay the floorboards after purchasing.
To ensure quality work, the installation of a wooden floor should be done by a professional.
If you do it yourself without knowledge or experience, there is a high potential for errors that will compromise the floor's appearance and durability.
2. Easy to maintain
Unlike carpet or other floor types, care and maintenance of a hardwood floor is the easiest.
Wood does not trap dust or stain easily. This makes cleaning a relatively simple process.
When a floor board gets damaged, you can fix a scratch, dent or even a gouge. If necessary, the entire floor can also be sanded and refinished to look new again.
Hardwood floors lend themselves to elegant and traditional décor in a home. The natural colors and grain patterns of wood are aesthetically pleasing.
You can also enhance the appearance of a wooden floor by adding some patterns and decorations.
Furthermore, area rugs can also be added to hardwood floors to create a sense of warmth and add some dynamic color to a room.
A hardwood floor is a valuable investment due to its timeless nature. Unlike other flooring types, hardwood can last for centuries if properly maintained.
While the initial cost of installation may be higher, in the long run there will be good return on investment.
Homes with wooden floors are rated higher in value than those without. Hardwood floors are generally more highly desired in the market than other flooring types, increasing both the resell value and the likelihood of making such a sale.
Wood comes from various species with different levels of hardness, colors, and grain patterns. This gives a home owner a wide range of options to choose from.
The aesthetic difference can also be enhanced by staining a hardwood floor or painting a desired color.
Common varieties of hardwoods include Brazilian cherry, Tiger wood, Brazilian Walnut, Hickory, Australian Cypress, Teak, Santos Mahogany, Brazilian Chestnut, and Oak (Red and White).
Wood is organic material and a healthy option in a living space. It does not emit toxic fumes or fragrances that can be harmful to kids, pets, and other household members — such as yourself, for example.
A hardwood floor's surface does not trap allergens and parasites such as dust, pollen grains, dust mites, and spores, among others, that cause allergic reactions.
The biodegradable nature of wood also makes it an ecofriendly material for housing.
Disadvantages of a Hardwood Floor
While there are many benefits of having a hardwood floor, there are also a few shortcomings of this flooring type:
Hardwood floors are expensive — in both the cost of material and installation. The cost per square foot varies depends on the type of hardwood species.
Considering the fact that a wooden floor is installed over a sub-flooring, the process and professionalism required in installation may not be affordable to some home owners.
2. Vulnerable to scratches
While scratching and scuffing are unfortunate, they're nonetheless facts of life that will happen at some point to high-traffic areas. Damage happens to pretty much anything, given time.
On the bright side, however, scratched hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished to look new again.
3. Vulnerable to moisture damage
Hardwood floors are highly susceptible to moisture or water damage when exposed to it. Gaps in hardwood floors after installation are also common due to fluctuations in moisture content.
As a natural material, wood loses or absorbs moisture, which causes contraction or expansion. This can lead to wood warping and cupping.
Warping can be prevented by the application of a polyurethane sealant to prevent moisture from entering the wood, or by regulating the relative humidity and temperature of a home.
Wooden floors reflect sound and this sometimes makes them noisy when you walk across in shoes.
While we advise not to wear shoes on hardwood floors as a way of preventing dents and scratches, wearing shoes is sometimes unavoidable in public spaces such as offices.
Fortunately, noise can be minimized by runner rugs.
Old, damaged hardwood floors produce a familiar creaking sound when you walk across them. Squeaky hardwood floors can be fixed depending on the nature of the problem.
Since most of the shortcomings of a hardwood floor can be controlled, wooden flooring remains the best option for a home.
With good care and maintenance, you can enjoy your hardwood floor for many years to come — and enjoy the value and appeal it brings to your home.