Hardwood floors are one of the most important design elements in your home or business. No matter what your lifestyle, wood floors add value and comfort to any décor, but with all the choices available today, how do you know which kind of wood flooring will be right for you?
Benefits of Wood Floors
No other flooring offers the warmth, beauty, and value of wood. Wood flooring enhances the décor of any room, and provides timeless beauty that will increase in value throughout the years. In fact, in a national survey of real estate agents, 90 percent said that houses with wood flooring sell faster and for higher prices than houses without wood floors. That’s money in your pocket!
Types of Wood Floors
There are two types of wood floors available on the market today: solid and engineered.
Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16”. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade.
Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can
be installed above, on or below grade.
Ease of Maintenance
Maintenance of today’s wood floors is easy! New technology in stains and finishes call for regular cleaning that takes little more than sweeping and/or vacuuming, with occasional use of a professional wood floor cleaning product. You will want to use a cleaning product recommended by your flooring manufacturer, installer, or other wood flooring professional. This will ensure that you use the proper cleaner for your type of flooring and finish.
With today’s advances in wood flooring stains and finishes, cleaning your wood floors has never been easier. Regular maintenance requires little more than sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with a soft floor attachment if your wood floor includes a beveled edge that could collect debris. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.
There are other steps you can take to minimize maintenance and maintain the beauty of your wood floors as well.
- Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
- Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt and other debris from being tracked onto your wood floors. This will prevent scratching.
- Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
- Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
- Do not over-wax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
- Put soft plastic or fabric-faced glides under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching.
- Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats, sports shoes and high heels. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
- When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture completely to protect the wood flooring.
- For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
- Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.
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