Hardwood flooring is becoming increasingly popular. Today, it is part of a Canadian market worth an incredible $1.3 billion. Homeowners want premium floors that add value to their properties and last a lifetime.
Of course, if you are considering purchasing hardwood flooring for your property, it is wise to do your research first. Here are the five things you need to know before you invest.
There is more than one type of hardwood floor
Hardwood floors are varied. While some are made of oak, many others are available. Take bamboo floors, for instance. These are made of environmentally-friendly materials that resist moisture and pests.
Engineered hardwood is also available. This option is a better choice in high-moisture environments, such as basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. The material contains various layers of wood that prevent water from penetrating and warping it.
Then there is vintage hardwood. Here, vendors sell aged or antique hardwood panels, sometimes extracted from existing properties. This option is ideal for homeowners who want their homes to be rustic.
You can also choose from a wide array of species, too. Choices include:
Woods differ in their hardness. According to the Janka rating, hickory, pecan, and oak are at the top of the list. Softer “hardwoods'' include walnut, soft maple, and elm. Harder hardwoods are less likely to dink following impact. However, all woods are susceptible to damage if you drop heavy objects on them.
Cleaning hardwood floors is surprisingly easy
Prospective hardwood flooring owners imagine that cleaning them will be challenging. But, in truth, it's surprisingly easy, much more so than cleaning a carpet.
To clean a hardwood floor, sweep up dirt and debris as often as possible. This approach prevents abrasive damage to the upper layers which can make the flooring most susceptible to water.
Don’t use harsh chemicals. If you need to use water, use a slightly damp cloth on a hot, sunny day. Alternatively, use specially formulated solutions. Mopping should be avoided.
Hardwood flooring might be a cost-effective choice
Investing in hardwood floors is often good for property prices. Research suggests that the return on investment for hardwood floors is between 70 and 80 percent, with some experts suggesting that it may add to home values outright (on the order of 2.5 percent of the sale price).
The average price of hardwood floors in Canada is between $4.50 and $15 per square foot, depending on which option you choose. This compares favorably to porcelain tiles, which are between $5 and $10 per square foot.
To benefit fully from hardwood flooring’s investment appeal, always hire a professional installer to fit it. Going down the DIY route can lead to costly mistakes. Also, ensure that you get some sort of warranty with the installation. If it goes wrong, you’re protected.
If regular hardwood is outside of your budget, there are other similar options. Engineered hardwood, for instance, gives you regular hardwood aesthetics at a slightly lower price.
You’ll need to protect them
Proper maintenance is essential for hardwood floors. Animals, people, and furniture can all cause wear and tear, harming the value of your original investment.
Here are some strategies that you can use to protect your hardwood floors and keep them looking their best for longer:
- Put down mats in high-traffic areas, such as entrances, to stop people from dragging dirt into the home
- Lay rugs underneath heavy furniture, such as sofas and sideboards
- Apply effective window treatments to prevent sunlight from discoloring areas of material
- Regularly refinish floors to eliminate dents and scratches. Use professional services for best results
Hardwood floors aren’t temperamental. But as a natural product, they do require protection. If you want to reduce maintenance, choose engineered hardwood instead.
Grains give hardwoods a unique aesthetic
Lastly, each type of hardwood has its own design and grain. In fact, because of the natural wiggliness of wood, every installed floor is different. No two are the same.
Before buying a new hardwood floor, check different species visually to see which pattern you like the most. Also, explore woodcutting techniques. Quarter-sawn, rift-sawn, and plain-sawn all produce different grain effects.
In summary, it pays to educate yourself about hardwood floors before installing them. You need to take care of them properly to make them last.