By Harvey Zook
So you’ve decided on a custom hardwood floor for your home? You’ve made a great choice because hardwood floors are beautiful, durable, and cost effective. But the decisions aren’t over yet. There are many factors to mull over as you select your hardwood floor surface. Because the floor is a significant architectural feature in any space, the floor will have a big impact on defining the room. Select carefully, because the custom hardwood floor you choose will represent a major investment. The good news is that there are so many custom hardwood choices!
Factor 1: Location
Is the surface in a high-traffic area where you, your family, and guests come and go often — or a more private setting like a den or a master bedroom? Is it a high-moisture location like a basement or bathroom, or a low-moisture setting like a dining or family room? Wood floors will suit any answer to the above questions, but the types of wood recommended for each setting may vary. The answers to these questions should impact your final decision. Wherever you put hardwoods, you will find them easy to clean and maintain.
Factor 2: Lifestyle
Though custom hardwood floors are among the most durable of all surfaces, children and pets can strain even the toughest of all floors. Though they fill our days with joy, pets can make sudden movements with sharp nails on the floor; children hustle around and playfully run their toys across the floor. The daily traffic requirements must be factored into your flooring decision.
Another lifestyle consideration is allergens. Because hardwood floors are hypoallergenic, they are the preferred flooring for medically sensitive family members. Sometimes children with allergies and pets can co-exist if a modification as simple as hardwood flooring is made.
The shoes your family wears sounds like a pretty basic consideration, but it is at the core of your lifestyle decision regarding which hardwood floors to purchase. Is there any chance someone in your family will wear sports shoes, cleats, or even high-heeled shoes on your wood floor? To prevent problems, leave those sorts of shoes outside or at the door and your wood flooring will serve your family well.
Factor 3: Cost
What is your overall flooring budget? Remember that amount needs to cover two factors: materials and installation costs. Though installation can seem like a hidden cost, it is an integral part of the overall job. Solid hardwood floors can last for more than a century so you are making quite an investment. You will certainly want the installation to be extremely well done for longevity’s sake.
Whereas some floorings are priced by the square yard, wood floors are typically priced by the square foot. Prices increase as the quality of the wood, uniqueness (or rarity) of the wood, and overall craftsmanship increase. Remember, wood floors are so coveted by homeowners that they can appreciate the overall resale value of a home. While your budget is probably not unlimited, don’t be afraid to ask for a quote on more unusual wood grains, wood milled from a specific region, or outstanding wood colors if it’s appropriate for your home. Think long-term as you consider hardwood flooring, because you may not just be spending money for the present but be making a wise financial investment in your home for the future.
Factor 4: Maintenance
Keeping your wood floors clean has never been easier. Most of the maintenance required boils down to prevention: avoid damaging or denting your wood floors and keeping them free from surface dirt. Regular maintenance is as simple as frequent sweeping with a soft bristle broom, or vacuuming with a soft bristle vacuum attachment along any edges which catch debris. Quickly wipe up any spills on your wood floor to maximize its life.
You can also clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.
Not all wood floor maintenance is ongoing. Adding inexpensive soft plastic or fabric-faced glides to the bottom of chair and table legs will prevent scuffing and scratching, and it’s just a simple one-time task. It helps to maintain the sheen of your wood floors. When moving furniture, pick up the heavy pieces rather than dragging them on your wood floors in order to protect the surface.
You always have the option of using temporary throw rugs and runners on any high traffic areas. Those rugs serve to collect dust, small rocks, and winter salt rock brought in on shoes, then can be shaken out or throw in the washing machine. The goal: protect your wood floors so they continue to shine their beauty and give you years of durable service. Another simple maintenance measure is to place a small rug on top of your wood floors nearest the kitchen sink, to collect any water that may splash or spill onto the wood surfaces.
If you feel like you can commit to these small maintenance procedures, then wood floors should be an excellent choice. Combined with the factors of location, lifestyle, and price, you can confidently pick out the right hardwood flooring for your home.
About the Author
Harvey Zook, an award-winning custom flooring expert, is a Managing Partner with Valley Flooring LLC, a business he helped launch in 2003. With over 14 years of experience in the flooring and woodworking industry, Harvey grew up helping his dad build custom furniture. Working in the shop each day after school honed his skills and stoked his passion for custom woodworking. That same passion ensures that your experience will be nothing less than delightful. Contact Valley Flooring LLC today and let Harvey and his team install the custom floor of your dreams.