There’s a reason U.S. homeowners spend $4 billion on hardwood flooring every year. They choose hardwood because it not only looks great but can significantly boost the resale value of any home.
If you’re about to install new flooring in your home, have you been wondering about what kind of wood is the best value? Flooring density is the single most important factor to look at when you start shopping for the ideal wood for your kitchens, family rooms, bathrooms, hallways, bedrooms, and other areas that get a lot of foot traffic.
There are three things that everyone should do before making a final decision about flooring. First, it’s important to learn the basics about wood density. Only then can you know which kind of wood is most suitable for the different rooms in your home. Next, get the facts about why it makes sense to use hardwood. The reasons are many, but not all of them are obvious.
Then, it’s essential for owners of wood floors to know how to maintain the look and health of the surface so that it lasts for years and continues to add to the atmosphere of any home. The final step, after you’ve made the key decisions about your wood flooring, is to get reliable, experienced help from a team of professionals. Installing wood flooring is not a DIY project, so it’s vital to connect with a pro who knows wood flooring inside and out.
What Everyone Should Know About Wood Density
Not all wood is the same. In fact, many of the softer varieties of natural wood are not suitable at all as flooring substances because they nick, crack, split, and dent too easily. That’s why you see hardwood floors in so many homes and businesses. But even with hardwood, there is a wide range of strength. For example, pine and Brazilian walnut are both hardwoods, and both are used on floors, but pine is much softer and doesn’t hold up nearly as long as super-hard Brazilian walnut.
In fact, every wood has a hardness factor assigned to it, called a Janka rating. The higher the rating, the harder the wood. Consumers usually choose wood flooring options that are the ideal combination of hardness, appearance, and value for their homes. So, while a wood’s density, or hardness, is a central factor, that doesn’t mean you should automatically opt for the hardest wood available.
There’s also the aesthetic side of the question. Plus, in low-traffic areas of a home, there’s no reason to use the hardest woods. The bottom line for homeowners is to think about how much traffic a given room will experience, how the wood blends in with the rest of the home’s design, and whether the price point fits in with their budget. People certainly have their favorites. For example, oak, maple, and hickory are currently the three most popular choices for residential hardwood floors, Brazilian cherry is also a top pick due to its incredible strength.
Reasons For Using Hardwood
Hardwood is the unsung hero of the home improvement universe. Why? Compared to soft woods and many other kinds of flooring, hardwood looks fantastic, it lasts a very long time, doesn’t require much maintenance, and needs fewer repairs. And those are just a few of the reasons consumers have made the hardwood flooring market into a multi-billion dollar industry. The fact cannot be denied: homeowners love hardwood flooring. Here’s a quick look at the top reasons:
- Durability: When properly maintained, hardwood floors can last for decades. In some cases, and for certain species of wood, floors look better as the years pass because they naturally age and take on a deeper, more beautiful appearance.
- Appearance: There’s no contest between one of nature’s gorgeous wonders, hardwood, and man-made flooring substances like tile, metal, and concrete. Wood is beautiful and has been used as flooring for thousands of years for good reason. That’s not to say tile and other kinds of flooring look bad, but wood is the preference due to its natural look and because it has the power to turn an ordinary room into a true showpiece.
- Low Maintenance: Hardwood floors are relatively easy to maintain and clean. Compared to other types of floors, wood flooring is a low-maintenance affair. Regular dusting or sweeping, along with a monthly cleaning are about all it takes to keep them in tip-top shape.
- Fewer Repairs: Hardwood is sturdy. Don’t let its good looks deceive you. Not only does hardwood stand up to lots of foot traffic and everyday punishment, it needs few repairs. Compared to so much else in an average home, hardwood floors hold their form and appearance for a very long time.
What’s the Best Way To Maintain a Hardwood Floor?
People who have hardwood floors in their homes are familiar with the six-step plan for keeping the surface looking great from day to day. They also know a few tricks for helping their hardwood flooring last for decades. The first three steps make up the so-called “daily-weekly-monthly” routine. The final three are all-encompassing tips for extending the life of any hardwood floor.
- Sweep or Dust: Daily maintenance is pretty low-key. Dusting or sweeping once per day keeps minute particles from building up and getting into the grain. This light chore shouldn’t take more than a few minutes but will go a long way toward keeping your hardwood flooring looking new.
- Vacuum: Use a light setting on your machine, whether it’s a standard or robotic vacuum. A once-per-week vac job catches things like debris, crumbs, pet hair, and other particles that can quickly build up. Some of the robot vacs are designed for wood floors and are a low-cost, simple way to maintain your prized wood flooring.
- Wood Cleaner: Use whatever wood flooring cleaner is designed for the kind of wood you have. This is a once-per-month job that is really the secret to making your floors last for decades and continue to look fresh.
- Furniture Pads: Use substantial padding on the feet of all your heavier furniture. For lighter-weight items like small kitchen chairs, consider fabric pads to avoid scratches.
- Spills: Just as you do with carpeted areas, clean spills the minute they happen. Wood absorbs moisture, so sop up any spills asap. Keep a rag or sponge handy for the purpose of attending to all kinds of spills.
- Refinishing: Speak with your flooring pro to find out about the recommended time to do a refinishing. For many hardwoods, it’s a good idea to have the surface refinished every five years or so. A lot depends on the amount of traffic and punishment the floor has endured. A well-maintained hardwood floor might only need to be refinished once or twice per decade.
Getting Help When It Counts
So, what happens once you decide on your wood preference and which rooms will get new flooring? The last piece of the puzzle is finding a professional team that can help you select the highest-quality wood for your home. Whether your floors will need to withstand extremely high levels of foot traffic, heavy furniture, or other challenges, the experts at Diamond State can show you all the options. Most homeowners aim for high-density hardwood that is natural and attractive.
Give us a call and get started on your hardwood flooring journey. You can reach us directly at 302-257-1605. Any one of our team members will be happy to answer your questions about hardwood flooring and help you get your ideas organized. We specialize in assisting homeowners from beginning to end with their flooring projects. Plus, our experts work with your budget and time constraints, whether you’re looking to have hardwood flooring installed, repaired, or refinished. Check out our website and see more about what we do at Diamond State Hardwood Floors. Enhance the look and value of your home with the very best hardwood floors.