Hardwood Floors 101
Whether you are prepping a house for selling or simply want to upgrade your home, installing new hardwood flooring is a surefire way to improve the look of your home and potentially raise your resale value!
Hardwood flooring has experienced extreme popularity in the last decade or two. It’s safe to say that hardwood floors can be found in most new homes. While the living room area is the most popular area for hardwoods, you can find hardwoods in bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and on staircases. Here is a guide to help decipher the many varieties of hardwoods available!
Real Wood or Laminate?
If budget isn’t a concern, real wood is the best option to increase resale value. That said, as real hardwood floors come from actual trees, not only is the material more expensive, but the installation is more expensive as well. The more in demand the type of wood, the more expensive the hardwood flooring will be.
Laminate is a great alternative if real hardwoods don’t fit in your budget. According to Freshome.com, laminate is wood compressed at a very high heat with an image of actual wood pressed onto the laminate. In addition to being cheaper in both material cost and install, laminate is more durable to scratches and wear and tear. Laminate is also easier to clean than hardwood floors as it doesn’t have those pesky nicks and crannies that trap dirt as with real hardwoods.
One main negative for laminate flooring is that it can look fake depending on the quality of the laminate. Pergo laminate from Home Depot comes in a variety of shades, looks very realistic and is water resistant so it can be placed in bathrooms and kitchens.
Engineered or Manufactured Wood
If you can’t quite swing hardwoods but aren’t on board for laminate, try engineered or manufactured wood. This type of wood contains thin pieces of real hardwoods placed on top of plywood or veneers, so it’s a great in-between option that really looks and feels like real wood. Just as hardwoods and laminate, it comes in many shades and colors.
Color and Style
According to Houzz.com, the most popular color for hardwoods to ensure resale value is a medium wood shade, not too light and not too dark. Here are some pros and cons on various shades of flooring:
- While dark flooring is extremely popular, it scratches and shows dirt easily, making it hard to clean.
- Light colored wood is much easier to clean as it doesn’t show crumbs easily, but isn’t as modern a look as the medium or dark colored wood. It’s really a personal preference!
- A recently popular wood style is gray or whitewashed wood floors. Once only seen in beach houses or in coastal areas, it’s become more mainstream in recent years. Wayfair has a great collection of gray wood in various shades which you can find here.
- Reclaimed wood has also grown in popularity as it fits with the trendy farmhouse style seen in many homes today. This wood type looks antique and distressed.
- Another decision you’ll have to make is the width of the planks. Today’s new construction homes typically have wider plank hardwoods.
Color Pro Tip: If near a window with lots of sunlight, dark wood can slowly fade over time.
Try it first Pro Tip: Much like painting a swatch of paint on a wall to test out a color, buy a small box of flooring to place on your floor to “try it before you buy it.”
Unless you are a contractor or flooring expert, you’re probably calling a professional to install your new flooring. While I think DIY is appropriate for smaller home projects, something as crucial as flooring should be done by a professional who has expert knowledge of the best practices, materials and all the intricacies that come with floor installation. Here’s a way to ensure you are getting the best value and professional service:
- Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.
- Make sure to get more than one quote and don’t be afraid to negotiate using these different price points.
- Don’t be afraid to purchase the materials yourself and hire professionals simply for the installation. Be sure you talk with them about the amount of product you’ll need before doing this.
- Beware of hidden fees: Make sure the quote includes removal and disposal of old flooring and moving furniture.
- Ask what type of glue they will use so you know if they are using potentially harmful chemicals. Some companies offer more eco-friendly materials.
Hardwood flooring can improve the look and resale potential of your home in just a few days, but be sure to do you research first!