Putting new floors in your home is one of the best ways to make it feel brand new without breaking the bank. Since the floors cover so much space, worn, old or dirty floors can make your whole room look dingy and old. New floors can help your room look bright, clean and fresh, helping to update your home and add instant value. This can be even more noticeable if you are upgrading your flooring type from say contractor grade carpet to wood floors. A survey of real estate agents by the National Wood Flooring Association showed that homes with hardwood floors sold faster and for more money than those without.
Once you’re ready to make the move to new wood flooring, you’ve got some exciting decisions to make. Wood floors comes in so many different colors, finishes, character and construction and it is important to make an informed decision on each characteristic of your new wood floor.
The best place to start with decision making is in the color. The color you want to have in your home can help narrow down the type of wood you will ultimately choose. Any wood can be stained but stain will simply add a tint to the wood. For example, walnut naturally has a darker almost grey hue so you can only stain in darker colors and it will never take on a red or orange tint. On the other hand, white oak is much lighter in color and has very little natural tint to it so you can easily change the color of white oak with the right stain. Wood floors can range from browns, to reds, to oranges and tans. To choose the right color for your space, start by looking at any other wood in the space, whether it is natural trim or doors, or furniture you plan on keeping in the room. Also consider that lighter wood colors can help a room feel more bright and inviting but darker wood will help it feel more elegant and formal.
Next you should consider the finish and character of your new wood floors. Once you’ve got a color, or at least range of colors selected, you can decide on a finish. The finishes on your hardwood flooring can range from gloss to matte and can also range in depth. Depending on how soft of a wood you’ve decided to use, going with a thicker gloss coat can help hide some nicks and scratches in your floor. Also, like bright colors, high gloss floors can help a room look significantly brighter. Satin or matte finish floors often hide imperfections and dust better, but won’t look as bright or fancy. Besides the finish, you also need to consider the character of your floor. Do you want to see a lot of grain and big knots, or are you looking for more of a clean uniform or engineered finish? You may even go as extreme as using rough cut lumber or extremely knotty cuts of wood, or something as simple as laminate wood floors that give a very uniform look with a lot of consistency over your floor.
The last thing to think about is the construction of the wood floors you plan to use. Wood floors today can be much more than wood planks that get nailed down and stained, so you need to choose laminate or hardwood construction. The choice between laminate or hardwood has to do with the intended use for the room, your budget, and what you decided on for color, character and finish. For example, if you have pets, having laminate floors maybe a great option as they are much more resilient to scratching, staining or scuffing than hardwood floors. But if you don’t mind spending a little more upfront, hardwood can be an excellent investment for your home as it can be sanded and refinished many times keeping your home looking excellent without having to put in new floors for years. Laminates also offer an extremely wide variety of colors and patterns and what is installed in your home will be exactly what you see in the showroom. Hardwood, on the other hand, has a surprising amount of variation and what is installed may look significantly different than the showroom floor based on where the wood is from and how the stain was applied. This variation does also lead to a lot of natural texture, variation and beauty.
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