Wood is a flooring material that adds economic value to any property. Wood flooring imparts grace and character to any room. Wood flooring is often maligned for being responsible for rampant logging. But for the ecologically conscious there are several sustainable wood flooring options available now. Wood flooring may be obtained from used railway sleepers, demolished houses or from sustainably managed forests.
Two types of wood flooring
Hardwood flooring is obtained from plants like Oak, Maple, Cherry, etc. These are mostly deciduous trees i.e., trees that shed their leaves usually in autumn or in winter. These trees have narrow vessels in their stem and this makes the wood dense and hard.
Softwood flooring is obtained from fast growing and evergreen trees like Pine, Spruce, and Poplar. Soft woods are generally not suited for flooring but some species like pine can be a good flooring choice. Pine trees accumulate tannins in their wood and these make the wood tough and resistant to pests.
Wood Flooring Finishes
When installing a wood floor one can obtain either pre finished or unfinished wood depending on one’s taste and time available for installation. Prefinished wood can be installed much more quickly. If unfinished wood is chosen it will require a lot of sanding and coating before the installation is complete resulting in plenty of sawdust and odors during installation. The advantage of unfinished wood is that it may be possible to get a finish and texture that is not available in prefinished wood.
Wood Flooring Installation
Nailing, stapling, and gluing are some of the common techniques used to install a wood floor. You may also choose to install a floating floor. The wood floor in this case is installed over a sub floor of concrete, sand board, tiles, laminate or other material and is free to move over the sub floor.
Advantages of Wood Flooring
- Hardwood flooring adds value to a property – Hardwood flooring is not a favorite of homeowners for nothing. Installing hardwood flooring increases the value of any property.
- Ambience and warmth – Wood flooring creates an ambience that is difficult to imitate even when one uses the best imitation vinyl.
- Healthy and hygienic – Wood flooring does not trap pollen and dust particles like carpets and grouts of tile flooring can. Wood flooring is therefore an excellent choice for people suffering from allergies.
- Wide range of choices – Wood flooring comes in a truly mind boggling variety of choices. There are the traditional maples and oaks and then there are the imported varieties that are sure to be any home owners delight and his neighbor’s envy.
- Easy to change and replace – compared to ceramic tiles and stone it is easy to change wood flooring or to replace a damaged portion.
- Versatility – Wood floors can be painted to change the look of a room. It is possible to add a theme to any room by painting suitable design on a wood floor. In a kids room for example board games painted on the floor can add a dash of spice.
Disadvantages of Wood Flooring
Wood flooring and its installation is expensive, it requires more care than many other flooring options and is not suited to areas that see water seepage or use. It can also be damaged by pests like termites.
Maintenance of Wood Flooring
Wiping with a damp mop is usually sufficient for daily care of a wood floor. Furniture glides ensure that the floor is not scratched when heavy furniture is shifted. Area rugs installed in areas that see heavy use ensure that a wood floor requires less maintenance. Bleaches and harsh chemical detergents are a strict no when it comes to cleaning and maintaining wood floors . One can also choose to apply a polyurethane coat over a wood floor that will dramatically enhance its life.
Choosing the Right Wood Floor
When choosing a hardwood floor, the grain, texture and color must be considered. It is also important to consider the rating of the wood floor on the janka hardness scale. Soft woods like fir may have a janka index of 0060 while hard woods like ebony weigh in at a truly impressive 3692. By contrast Common wood flooring choices like Oak have a janka index of around 1300. Among the different hardwood choices available you may choose traditional options like Maple and Oak or opt for more exotic wood flooring options. Remember to factor in not just the initial cost but the cost of installation, characteristics of the wood, hardness and the maintenance it will require.