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How to Buy Hardwood Flooring : Floor Improvements

Updated on September 3, 2014

Hardwood Floors Before and After by Lumber Liquidators

Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators | Source

How to Buy Hardwood Flooring : Floor Improvements

Thank you for stopping by today! Below, you'll learn a lot about hardwood flooring, including the advantages and disadvantages of hardwood floors, difference between hardwood and laminate, colors, shades, planks, styles, types, and the cheapest place to buy, etc.

Wood Flooring: A Complete Guide to Layout, Installation, & Finishing

Hardwood or Laminate Flooring?

When buying hardwood floors, shoppers often question if they should get laminate flooring instead. The answer is no! Hardwood flooring is better than laminate. Hardwood flooring can be repaired by removing the damage and replacing it with a new hardwood floor or by sanding the damage. Laminate flooring cannot be repaired because replacing one part can make the whole floor buckle.

For those with families and pets, choose a hardwood floor because it's durable and much stronger than laminate flooring. Laminate flooring scratches very easily with high heels, toys, and anything with major weight or pressure. Laminate flooring will not hold up to these forces.

When laminate flooring becomes wet, it can also buckle due to the layer of cardboard which will break up and flake away. Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is generally repairable when water damage is an issue; laminate flooring would have to be completely replaced.

People generally agree that hardwood flooring looks more appealing than laminate flooring. This is due to the fact that hardwood flooring has very little symmetrical design in its natural state. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, has a distinct pattern which is a dead giveaway that the flooring is not real hardwood. So, don't think that you'll fool anyone by installing laminate flooring in your home.

Hardwood Flooring is BETTER than Laminate!

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Where to install it in your home?

Most people choose to install solid hardwood floors in their hallways, living room, and kitchens. Although, you can put solid hardwood floors throughout your home, including in the bedrooms. Engineered hardwood floors are used in areas where moisture is a concern such as the bathrooms and basements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hardwood Floors

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring - One of the main advantages of hardwood flooring is the ease of maintenance and cleaning. This is because stains and dirt do not stick to hardwood floors. The colors in hardwood floors will remain vibrant for many years, unlike carpet which can fade over time. Hardwood floors are great for those with allergies because they do not hold allergens that can irritate their senses. This type of flooring is durable because if your kids drop something heavy on the floor, it will not become dented or scratched. Hardwood floors will increase the value of your property and help the home to sell faster. They are also extremely versatile matching any type of home d├ęcor or style.

Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring - The main disadvantage of hardwood flooring is the expense. However, this product is costly due to the natural materials which are used. Hardwood flooring has to be laid in strips so they can be time consuming to install; even for a professional installer. Over time, the floor will need to be waxed with a special machine due to continuous sweeping and mopping (with a wood floor cleaner). Oak will need to be waxed often to maintain its appearance requiring extra care. Wood floors are vulnerable to humidity and moisture, which can deteriorate the product. The floor can be noisy when wearing certain types of shoes, although throw rugs can help this issue.

There are certainly more advantages when considering purchasing hardwood flooring. If hardwood floors are in your budget, this is the type of flooring to go with.

Hardwood Floors

Photo by artur84
Photo by artur84 | Source

Colors, Shades, and Planks

There are many different shades and colors, including natural patterns, of hardwood floors to choose from. No two hardwood floors will be exactly alike. If you get tired of the color of your hardwood floors, you can sand and refinish them several times! For a more classic look, consider going with a darker floor stain. Darker floors are great for hiding stubborn stains that can not be sanded out. For a more contemporary look, consider going with a floor with narrower planks. For a country look, consider planks which are set wider apart.

Choosing your Hardwood Floors

Save Money on Hardwood Flooring

Photo by Teeratas
Photo by Teeratas | Source

Where to save money?

You can save a lot of money by purchasing overstocks. Deep discounters, such as Lumber Liquidators order direct from manufacturers and sell it below retail price. Shop Lumber Liquidators by CLICKING HERE.

If you are hiring a professional installer, try to do some of the prep work by yourself, such as prying up the old flooring, leveling or filling the subfloor, and removing any baseboards that are in the way. I've helped my husband do this kind of prep work for a carpet job (same theory) and it wasn't too terribly difficult. You may want to pick up a few face masks for any dust that might get kicked up into the air.

The more expensive choices in hard woods include: walnut, cherry, or oak; which you would not want to and and refinish these.

Plank Wood Flooring

Styles of Hardwood Floors

The different styles of hardwood floors include Strip (or Linear), Parquet, and Plank.

  • Strip (or Linear) flooring - measures between one and one-half inches to two and one-fourth inches. However, the most common one measures two and one-fourth inches. People use this type of flooring to provide the illusion that their space is larger and more open.
  • Plank wood flooring - is also considered a linear flooring, but this style is wider. Plank wood flooring generally measures between three to six inches. Moisture may have an effect on Plank hardwood flooring because of the wider linear floor.
  • Parquet hardwood flooring - comes in wood flooring pieces. These pieces go together to form geometric designs, which range from glue down five-sixteenths inch to a glue and nail down three-fourths inches.

Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Types of Hardwood Floors

The different types of hardwood floors include acrylic impregnated, solid, or engineered.

  • Acrylic Impregnated - acrylics are put into this type of floor to make it durable. Commercial installers typically use this type of hardwood floor for high traffic areas of the home, which obviously would include your living room or kitchen.
  • Solid Hardwood Flooring - one complete piece of wood is received with hardwood flooring. Hence the name, this type of floor is solid from top to bottom. The buyer is able to customer design the solid hardwood flooring in any room of their house. Exotic or domestic wood species are available, each with their own finish type and stain. Add borders, accents, or even paint. The solid hardwood floors can be refinished four to five times professionally.
  • Engineered - this type of flooring is actually layers of wood which is pressed together and then glued. The grains run in different directions for reinforced durability. The flooring is available in three to five ply thickness. The most popular being five ply. Engineered flooring can be used in places of your home where Solid wood cannot, such as areas with moisture concern like the basement or bathroom.

Comments Please...

Do you have an experience with hardwood flooring? Please share your thoughts, comments, and tips below.


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    • Melinda Longoria profile image

      Melinda Longoria, MSM 3 years ago from Garland, Texas

      Express10, thank you for your comments. I hope the hub is user friendly and easy to understand for those new to purchasing hardwood floors. Appreciate you taking the time to read my article. Have a great weekend. Sincerely, Mel

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      This is an informative and very useful hub that even people who are new to home improvement can understand and use. I love hardwood over laminate as hardwood can out last it's owners and complement any décor.