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One of the most difficult decisions a homeowner makes is choosing what kind of flooring to get for their home. Not only do you have to deal with choosing between so many flooring material options, you also must pick a design and make sure that it is suitable for the areas they will be installed in.
Not only that, you also have to look at the bigger picture if aesthetics is a main concern for you. You may choose to mix and match them, but they still have to complement each other. And with so many designs available, this will involve making painstaking decisions.
On this page:
- Benefits of Hardwood Floors
- Solid Hardwood vs Engineered Wood
- Types of Hardwood Floors
- Services Provided by Local Hardwood Contractors Near You
- Get Quotes from Competing Hardwood Floor Installers Near You
If you want to avoid all these headaches but still have floors that stand out, getting a hardwood flooring is something you will not regret.
It has been used for centuries in different homes all over the world because of its beauty and durability; if you have been inside a house with this kind of flooring, you will understand why.
Did you end up here because you are interested in getting hardwood floors for your home and are looking for a contractor to do it for you? If so, you came to the right place.
We will be featuring all you need to know about them, including the different types available, and other related services hardwood floor installers normally offer.
But best of all, we will show you how to get up to four free installation quotes from qualified contractors in your area.
Interested? Then, read on!
Benefits of Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors undeniably look good. However, a lot of people think twice about getting them because it is known to be high-maintenance and expensive. Not only that, it is also prone to damage, especially scratches.
However, all these issues can be considered trivial if you really want to have the best-looking floors around. You can still get hardwood without breaking the bank too much, and repairs are relatively easy and not that expensive.
Also, hardwood flooring also has its own set of advantages that not a lot of people may be familiar with.
If you are still on the fence about getting it for your home, having a clearer idea on its many benefits will surely help you decide.
They Have Unparalleled Beauty and are Versatile
Hardwood flooring have an unmatched appeal that fits all kinds of homes, from small bungalows to multi-story mansions.
Not only are they truly eye-catching, they also have a homey feel to it that will match different styles and themes of any home. So, whether you have a traditional home or are going for a modern minimalist feel, this type of floor will not just match but also complement that style.
It is also such a versatile flooring material that it can even work on bathrooms and basements, not just your living rooms and bedrooms. However, some precautionary measures are needed so that it will not be affected by moisture, which these rooms are usually abundant with.
Maintenance is Easy and Effortless
Carpets that require thorough vacuuming or even professional cleaning if they are too dirty. Porcelain or tile must be mopped up and need to be deep cleaned frequently to avoid unsightly marks. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, will not require too much from you when it comes to maintenance.
All you have to do is sweep or use a vacuum and the dirt easily gets removed. And in case of spills, just wipe it off with a rag and you’re done. You can even get away with just a weekly cleaning, since dust is not that obvious in this kind of flooring.
Does Not Have Any Health Hazards
Carpet fibers easily trap dirt, pollen, animal dander, and other allergens, while tile and laminate can also trap such allergens. Tile grout, which is a must for such flooring, is also known to house mold and mildew.
But with hardwood floors, this will never be an issue. Because of its smooth surface, there is no room for all these allergens to get trapped. And as a bonus, your indoor air quality is improved thanks to the absence of allergens.
It Does Not Get Damaged Easily
Carpets can lose their fibers over time after getting stepped on repeatedly, and porcelain and tile can get cracks or breaks when hit, but this is not a problem for hardwood floors. Although they do get scratches and other damages like dents, they will not easily appear because of hardwood’s durability. And with proper care, your hardwood floor can last a lifetime.
It Will Increase the Value of Your Home
If you have plans of selling your home, it is good practice to use materials that will make it sell faster. When it comes to flooring, this kind of flooring will work in your favor; potential buyers will see the appeal of your home and this means being one step closer to closing that deal.
Buyers know that having carpeted, porcelain, or tile floors that do not appeal to them mean getting them replaced, and this extra expense may become a deterrent to your home’s sale.
It Can Be Customized to Your Liking
With other flooring materials, you are stuck with the designs available on the market. But with hardwood floors, you can do a bit of customization. You can stain them in the color or tone you want and have them installed in a pattern you prefer.
And if you get tired of how it looks, you can get it re-stained to freshen up its appearance and give it a new look; your guests will even think you got new floors installed.
Also, they come in different types, which you will find out later, and you can choose which one suits you best.
You Get Better Acoustics
A surprising effect of hardwood floors is improvement in terms of sound or acoustics. This is why music and dance studios prefer this kind of flooring, as it does a great job of reducing vibrations and hollow sounds present. Audiophiles will love this effect.
Cost-effectiveness is One of Its Strong Points
Hardwood floors are notoriously expensive, but what people don’t realize is that its long-term benefits will easily offset its price tag.
With hardwood floors, you eliminate getting it professionally cleaned every now and then, damage is lessened, and repairs are inexpensive. And again, you can expect your hardwood floors to last you a long time, unlike carpets that will need replacing in a few years.
Installation is Easier
Just like a jigsaw puzzle, hardwood floors are shaped in such a way to ensure that its installation is going to be seamless. But unlike puzzles, they are very easy to connect because they are uniformly shaped. They can be laid out in any way you want and easily fit together, especially those that feature a click fitting system.
You can even install them directly over subfloors. Just make sure that they are is still in great condition, or you will have to do the necessary repairs on your subfloor first.
You Can Use It with Underfloor Heating
Not all flooring materials are compatible with underfloor heating; fortunately, hardwood floors can work well with them. Do note that the efficiency will also depend on the type of hardwood floor you have, as some are better at distributing heat than others.
It Has Varying Prices
Not all hardwood floor types are pricey. There are also inexpensive types available, and they may even end up costing less than other flooring materials.
This is because unlike in the past where hardwood floors only make use of solid wood cut by hand, modern technology has made the production process easier and have an inexpensive alternative in the form of engineered wood, making hardwood flooring suitable for different budgets.
Its Neutral Appearance Make It Suitable for All Kinds of Furniture and Décor
Have you ever experienced saying goodbye to a piece of furniture that you have been dying to have but you know would clash horribly with your floors? If you have a hardwood floor, this will be a thing of the past.
Its neutral appearance will easily complement whatever furniture you wish to use, no matter how quirky it looks.
Solid Hardwood vs Engineered Wood
In the past, hardwood floors only come in a single type: solid wood. This made it a very costly flooring option that only those with unlimited budgets can afford. Fortunately, a cheaper version known as engineered wood has made it possible for them to be more budget-friendly.
But what exactly is the difference between solid hardwood and engineered wood?
From the name itself, solid hardwood consists of pieces that came from a single piece of wood cut into pieces. Its other notable characteristics include:
- 100% wood from top to bottom, side to side, and on the inside
- Can only be installed by stapling or nailing, but never as a floating floor
- Sanding can be done multiple times, although it may cause it to become thinner and weaken
- It can also be refinished many times
- Comes in either pre-finished or unfinished (also known as site-finished) versions, giving you more leeway for customization
- Gets easily affected by temperature and humidity, making them unadvisable for use in bathrooms and basements
- Takes a bit more time to install
- Has soft hardwood and hard hardwood options
- Repairs are easier to do
- Resale value of any home that uses solid wood flooring is greatly increased
Solid hardwood flooring also comes in these three types:
- Plank flooring – can either be 3/4 or 1/2-inch thick but it has a width ranging from 3 to 8 inches
- Strip flooring – has a fixed width but with varying thickness. Its width is limited to 1 1/2, 2, or 2 1/4 inches, but its thickness can range from 5/16 to 3/4 inches.
- Parquet flooring – has a unique appearance featuring geometric shapes
On the other hand, engineered wood does have real wood components but also has thin layers (or ply layers) of derivative or leftover wood products, like MDF, OSB, or plywood, that are glued together. Only the top layer is pure hardwood and is known as a hardwood veneer.
Also often confused with laminate wood, what sets engineered wood apart are these characteristics:
- Can only be lightly sanded and refinished up to two times max
- Installation is easier and can be a DIY project for skilled homeowners. It also has more installation options available
- May be suitable even for humid areas like bathrooms and basements
- Direct installation over underfloor radiant heating systems, sub-levels, and concrete is possible
- Resists changes in humidity and temperature better, minimizing the shrinking and expanding that wood is known for
- Plank sizes can be larger and thicker. You can get an engineered wood plank that has a thickness between 3/8 to 1/2 inch and a width of more than 5 inches
- Mostly comes pre-finished
- Less durable than solid wood in terms of holding up weight and foot traffic because it is thinner
- Only comes in hard hardwood versions
- Not as durable as solid hardwood
- Installation is quicker
- Any scratch present is not that noticeable
Types of Hardwood Floors
To some people, hardwood floors are all the same; they will only differ on the wood grain and its appearance, making each piece unique. But contrary to popular belief, there are actually different types available for homeowners like you to choose from.
To give you an idea, here are the most common hardwood flooring types available out on the market:
- Oak – a popular choice, it comes in different shades and is extremely durable and will withstand wear and tear because of its mid-range hardness rating. Price of oak floors: $3 to $14 per square foot
- Cherry – another popular type, it has a signature red or pink hue that darkens over time and grains that are wavy and closely spaced. It is considered as a soft hardwood that can easily get scratches and can get discolored with prolonged sun exposure due to its photosensitivity. Price of cherry floors: $3 to $8 per square foot
- Mahogany – known for its dark color and durability, it has become a favorite of many because it looks better over time. Price of mahogany floors: $8 to $14 per square foot
- Bamboo – while it is a type of grass, it is still considered as a hardwood floor and has various colors available. The downside is that it is prone to scratches and is unsuitable for humid areas. Price of bamboo floors: $2 to $7 per square foot
- Lyptus – is a hybrid of two Eucalyptus tree species, namely the Eucalyptus urophylla and Eucalyptus grandis. It can warm up rooms but it is not a common flooring material. Price of lyptus floors: $5 to $11 per square foot
- Rosewood – mostly used for furniture-making, rosewood is fast becoming a favorite because of its various colors, including purple and yellow, and one-of-a-kind grain patterns. And yes, people claim to smell roses with this type of floor. Price of rosewood floors: $5 to $10 per square foot
- Ash# – best known for its light hue, it has very noticeable wood grains and has a medium hardness. Do note that there are 45 to 65 different species of ash available for you to choose from. Price of ash floors: $7 to $18 per square foot
- Maple – suitable for homes that have pets and children, maple is extremely durable and comes in light hues and has a unique grain pattern. Price of maple floors: $6 to $14 per square foot
- Brazilian Cherry – comes in a reddish-brown color that gives off an elegant feel to any room. Price of Brazilian cherry floors: $4 to $9 per square foot
- Pine – while not a hardwood, pine is used on floors and is a favorite of many because of its famous rustic appearance that consists of knots and pinholes. Because it is a softwood, it gets dents and dings easily. It is also known to look better as it ages. Price of pine floors: $4 to $6 per square foot
- Hickory – famous for its durability, this material can easily last decades, or even centuries, if properly maintained. It has a light red-brown to medium tan color but it can also come in a lighter shade. Its durability works against it because it makes hickory hard to cut and even install. Price of hickory floors: $3 to $6 per square foot
- Teak – has a natural appearance that attracts many to just leave it unfinished. Unfortunately, it is high maintenance and must be bought from reputable sellers, as some retailers get endangered species and buying from them may get you in trouble. Price of teak floors: $11 to $17 per square foot
- Douglas Fir – has a signature uniform appearance with straight grains that makes its planks nearly indistinguishable from each other. It is also a soft hardwood that makes it prone to damage. Price of Douglas fir floors: $6 to $8 per square foot
- Birch – a popular option because of its light color and affordable price tag, it can be stained with different colors. However, it is a soft wood that makes it susceptible to damage, not to mention easily affected by humidity and temperature changes. Price of birch floors: $3 to $5 per square foot
- Walnut – comes in different varieties, it has a unique purplish-brown color and swirling grains and is also resistant to constant sun exposure. Because it is a light wood, it can be used in upper floors, but it is also susceptible to damage. Price of walnut floors: $7 to $11 per square foot
Other available hardwood flooring options, although not as popular as the ones above, include:
- Brazilian Redwood and Tigerwood
Services Provided by Local Hardwood Contractors Near You
By now, you are aware that the work involving hardwood floors does not stop with its installation. To make sure that your flooring will last you a lifetime, you need to get it repaired when you see any issues with it. And if you are thinking of updating your home, you can also give your flooring a fresh look to suit the new look and feel of your home.
Fortunately, all of these are services that are readily available and offered by most hardwood floor contractors.
The average cost of hardwood floor installations ranges from $2,600 to $6,800, or $6 to $11 per square foot. But for a 1,000 square foot home, it ranges from $6,100 to $10,200 on average.
There is a varying degree of difficulty when it comes to installing hardwood floors, as some materials are harder to install than others. As a result, the installation cost of hardwood floors will mainly depend on these two factors:
- Choice of flooring material
- Labor, including the chosen method of installation
Other factors that can also affect installation costs include your location and other related work needed, such as transferring your furniture elsewhere, leveling the floor, and repairing floor joists.
Labor alone will cost around $3 to $9 for every square foot, so expect the cost of materials and labor to be nearly equal. Labor can be pricey because professional hardwood floor installations do not only cover installing the wood planks or pieces on your floor. It also includes removing the old floor, adding trims, and any other related finishing work.
Hardwood flooring repairs can cost between $420 to $1,400 on average, or $3 to $6 per square foot, depending on the kind of repair needed.
Over time, hardwood floors will get damaged. Some of their most common issues include:
- Scratches, breaks, and discoloration due to foot traffic
- Moisture or water damage, such as sagging, shelling, cupping, splintering, or warping
- Formation of gaps
- Wood rot
- Buckling after detaching from the subfloor
For very minor issues like shallow scratches, getting those $30 to $60 repair kits may work for your hardwood flooring. However, most of these issues will require professional intervention.
For spot repairs, it can set you back by $250 to $300 if the work can be done in half a day. This usually involves using fillers and sanding, as well as refinishing to make it blend with the rest of the flooring.
But if extensive work is needed, a more practical option may be to replace the damaged planks, pieces, or boards with a new one. Your contractor will also have to refinish the new one to match it with the others.
Sanding a hardwood floor costs an average of $0.70 per square foot for light sanding and $2.30 for hard sanding.
Working on any existing hardwood flooring will require sanding to ensure a smooth and easy work. Although this sounds like something that anyone can do, sanding is best left to the pros because there is a possibility of gouges to form when sanding. This can be challenging to remedy and may require you to replace the damaged wood.
Sanding involves the use of sandpaper or a sanding machine to remove any shallow damage present and as preparation for staining or refinishing. A light sanding may not always work on hardwood floors, especially if there are thick layers of wax and stain that need removal. In such instances, hard sanding is needed and this likely involves three rounds of sanding.
This work is known to be messy, but there is another method of sanding that minimizes this problem. Dustless sanding is done with a sanding machine connected to a vacuum that collects all the dust produced. But because the machine is quite expensive, ranging from $300 to $6,200, not all contractors may offer this service.
To refinish a hardwood flooring, expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,400, or $1.50 to $6.00 per square foot, on average
Hardwood floor refinishing is done as a means of repairing damaged floors or as part of regular maintenance. But in either case, hardwood floor refinishing normally involves these steps:
- Screening or buffing, if possible (costs $1 to $2 per square foot)
- Staining, if you want to change its color
- Coating or finishing
Refinishing hardwood floors may take some time to be completed because of all these steps involved. In fact, pros normally take 4 to 5 hours on average to refinish 100 square feet of a hardwood flooring.
Other factors that will affect the cost of refinishing are:
- Floor size, with smaller floors costing more in terms of price per square foot
- Location, as cities and other metropolitan areas have higher labor rates
- Any floor repairs needed
- Moving or transferring your existing furniture and floor coverings and returning them once the work is done
- Condition of the flooring, since a hardwood flooring still in good condition will cost less to refinish
- Presence of radiant floor heating
If you also want to refinish your hardwood stairs to match your flooring, expect to pay between $80 to $140 for each step. It is pricier because this must be done by hand, which means more work for a contractor. Also, the existing railing may have to be removed first and later reinstalled when refinishing the steps is completed.
Hardwood flooring staining costs $0.30 per square foot on average for every coat. Each gallon of stain is enough to cover 150 to 300 square feet, with low-quality stains priced at $30 and high-quality ones at $100.
If you want to give your hardwood floor a new lease on life without spending too much for it, staining it is your best bet.
Just to be clear, staining in construction speak means completely giving it a new tone or color and not giving it unsightly marks.
The process of staining a floor is time-consuming. Aside from all the needed preparatory work to make sure that the wood surface is smooth and will allow the stain and coating to adhere properly, applying the stain itself can take some time.
The stain must be applied carefully for an even finish, and each layer must be completely dry first before the next layer of stain is applied. Unfortunately, it can take 24 hours on average for a layer to dry, with darker stains taking even much longer. Also, it usually takes two to three coats to properly stain soft hardwoods.
Get Quotes from Competing Hardwood Floor Installers Near You
Good for you for finally choosing to get hardwood floors for your home! But don’t celebrate just yet – you still have to look for an installer to do the work for you.
Finding a qualified installer can be a daunting task to many, especially if they have no clue where to start looking.
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