Your Hardwood Floors and You


Hardwood flooring is very popular with homeowners. Although carpeting was at one time what many people preferred throughout their homes, hardwood is now a serious contender. Even still, however, carpeting continues to make up a good 51% of flooring purchased in the United States. If properly cared for, carpeting will last a long time. Cleaning, which would consist of shampooing and deep cleaning, every year to year and a half is recommended to keep carpeting looking its best.

With the escalating desire of homeowners to have hardwood floors installed in their homes comes advancing research into the origin of the wood typically used for this type of home improvement. Hardwood flooring is produced from any timber product that is specifically designed for floors. Wood can be purchased in a great number of different colors and styles, each one easily falling into place with the decor of the home.

When choosing a hardwood that will provide lasting durability in spite of daily wear and tear, hickory would be the most likely candidate. Hickory is known to be the hardest of commercially available hardwoods, and the one that will last the longest. On the other end of the spectrum, aspen is one of the softest. According to the Janka Rating System, which is the system by which the hardness of wood is measured, hickory is five times harder than aspen.

Engineered flooring begins with a base of plywood which is then covered by wood with a thickness of 1/16 inch to 1/8 of an inch. This type of wood flooring is recommended for locations such as basements and bathrooms where moisture might occur. Quite simply, engineered flooring is a core layer of either plywood, or even hardwood, covered by a layer of hardwood veneer. This is actually better able to handle heat and moisture than is a solid hardwood floor. Engineered flooring, as mentioned, is excellent for any room in the house, as well as being a favorite for bathroom design.

Solid hardwood flooring is exactly what its name says it is. Every board comes from one piece of hardwood and is usually about 3/4 of an inch thick. Being as thick as it is, solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished and will last as long as the house is standing. An interesting fact about solid wood flooring is that it can last for a good 100 years.

When embarking on a home remodeling project, many people will choose to install hardwood floors, either natural, solid, or engineered, because of its longevity and easy maintenance. Engineered hardwoods can be refinished and repaired easily very often without having to replace planks or even the entire floor. Natural wood floors are softer than solid or engineered, and are more prone to dents for that reason.

Laminate flooring is also used to give a room the look of genuine wood. It is synthetic flooring in multiple layers fused together by lamination. It can resemble wood, or even stone, because of a photographic applique layer that is placed over it. A couple of important differences between laminate and wood flooring are these. Hardwood is just what it is; hard wood. Because it is real wood it increases the value of a home greatly. Laminate is produced from pressed wood. It is more resistant to moisture, regular wear and tear, and scratches. Additionally, it is easier to clean than hardwood flooring.

Hardwood can be used for much more around the house than flooring. Closet shelving is often made from different types of wood, as well as laminate and different grades of plywood. Kitchen cabinets can be constructed from solid wood or any engineered wood product. As far as the best type of wood to use when building kitchen cabinets, very often maple is a best seller. However, cherry is the least expensive, and hickory, pine, and oak, while not the most expensive, do run very close with each other in price. Types of wood like alder, oak, and mahogany, as well as teak and redwood, typically sell at a higher price than do oak or pine. Another type of material often used in the construction of kitchen cabinets is MDF, or medium density fiberboard. This will resist heat and moisture in high humidity, where wood may buckle or shrink.

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