The beauty, elegance and traditional charm of hardwood floors make it an easy option to choose for installation as flooring for a new home. In fact even when undergoing restoration, this is the preferred option. But it is also relatively expensive because of its qualities of:
- Longevity and
Thus choosing the perfect hardwood floor needs thorough research and deliberation even before embarking on a hardwood floor selection spree. The variety that it possesses can make it quite challenging for the buyer to choose from but certain basics when taken into consideration, make the task easier and much more fulfilling.
These basics have to be mandatorily fulfilled since they form the foundation of a good hardwood flooring while qualities such as colour, texture etc., can only be chosen from after ensuring that the basics are in place. Thus 5 very important aspects which need to be stressed on and understood thoroughly are:
- Place of installation: What most people typically ignore is the site for the installation of the hardwood flooring. This place of installation is of utmost importance since putting up a hardwood floor in the basement is quite different from installing one in the second floor. In fact installing hardwood floor in the basement is generally not recommended since basements are constructed below the ground and tend to have high moisture content. This tends to damage the hardwood floor in the long run. Installation of the hardwood floor from the ground level onwards makes for a beautiful home.
- Subfloor: The importance of the subfloor lies in the fact that it is the one which holds up the floor. In fact the subfloor is generally made up of either concrete, plywood slabs or particle wood. Based on the type of subfloor present, the buyer needs to make an informed choice of whether solid wood or engineered wood needs to be installed since:
- Concrete does not support hardwood floors and if one has to install the same over concrete, an additional layer of plywood needs to be first installed over the concrete,
- Plywood are the most common subfloor material used and they are extremely compatible with the installation of hardwood planks or tiles and
- Particle wood is the cheaper version of plywood and is generally not strong or hard enough to hold the hardwood floor; however, installation of a layer of plywood over it enables hardwood planks to be nailed onto it.
- Living habits: This defines the usage of a room. For example the living area sees much more foot traffic than any other place in the house, the presence of pets and kids facilitate greater wear and tear, kitchen and bathrooms tend to see a high usage of water, homes of people who travel a lot see less usage etc. Thus one should choose the hardwood based on the abuse that it is likely to face in the coming years. The harder the wood, the lesser are the chances of it getting scratched or dinged. Grain patterns present in hardwood, if chosen wisely, also help to hide dents and scratches to a great extent.
- Home Theme: This is applicable to both new installations and restoration projects since the floor influences the outlook of the entire room in a big way. Thus the hardwood flooring chosen should be such that it syncs in with the theme of the room. Of course there are designs and themes which get enhanced by the use of contracting colours and designs on the walls and the floor but generally speaking:
- A dark house or one with less natural light coming in, requires a light coloured hardwood floor,
- Dark floors give a dramatic finish to rooms with ample natural light coming in,
- A modern theme goes very well with hardwood floors of maple, oak etc. while
- Hardwood planks and tiles obtained from hickory etc., go exceedingly well with traditional themes.
- Practical factors: Other than the ones mentioned above, there are three very important factors which also need to be looked into. These pertain to the:
- Budget which decides the quality and type of hardwood that one can afford,
- Maintenance which depends on the type of finish that the hardwood planks and tiles get and
- Appearance which is the deciding factor for the choice of hardwood since those obtained from different species differ in their grain structure.
These tips when taken into consideration ensure that the hardwood chosen is one which is most appropriate in terms of looks, utility and budget, thus ensuring the best quality in terms of buyer preferences.