Flooring Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Trends in home design tend to come and go, but one of the more sensible and aesthetically pleasing movements is hard surface flooring. For the last decade, homeowners and first time home buyers have been choosing natural materials in lieu of carpeting. In particular, hardwood flooring and bamboo floors are exceptionally durable and attractive.
Hard surface flooring is easy to clean, lasts for decades, and it’s renewable. The advantage of using wood over ceramic or stone products is that it has a better insulating value, has more resilience, and is completely renewable. Homeowners anticipating children in the future or those with toddlers appreciate the better bounce factor of hardwood.
Both bamboo and hardwood flooring come from plants, but bamboo is more easily replenished, since it grows far faster. Within five years, a bamboo plant can reach 50 feet in height. Hardwood trees, however, takes centuries to attain that kind of growth. When foresters cut bamboo, it regenerates itself from the stem. Hardwood trees need to be planted from seedlings and their growth is slow from start to the finish.
Another factor to consider when choosing hardwood flooring or bamboo floors is the form of the flooring. The two types include solid wood flooring and engineered flooring. Both have advantages. Solid flooring is milled directly from the bamboo or tree and can be sanded and refinished time after time, which makes it exceptionally durable.
Engineered floors have a finishing layer of the bamboo or hardwood, laminated onto natural or synthetic bases. The advantage of engineered flooring is that it is less prone to expansion or contraction as it changes with humidity levels. Flooring professionals often recommend engineered flooring for basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, where moisture is high. This type of flooring can also be refinished, but since it’s a veneer, the amount the material that can be sanded is more limited than with hardwood floors. As a rule, if the wood flooring is from trees from soft wood like pine, cedar, aspen or spruce, it’s better to stay away from engineered flooring made from these species because they’re prone to dents.
Solid wood flooring is typically more expensive than engineered floors, but people who want the durability of hardwood can select parquet flooring, which is made from the waste products from milling lumber. It can be as attractive as linear hardwood floor and provides all the benefits of hardwood at a lower cost.
Besides the traditional parquet tiles, some manufacturers make solid pieces of wood tile that interconnect, which is also a way to enjoy the beauty and practicality of a wood floor without the price tag. While using reclaimed wood in this way may cost less in materials, it may cost more, since its production may be in smaller lots, which tends to add to the cost.
Taking care of hardwood and bamboo floors is relatively easy, but homeowners have to be careful to choose the proper cleaning solutions for them. Some are damaged by waxing and by harsh chemicals. All wood floors are susceptible to scratching from heavy objects, metal edges or from stone, gravel or grit from the yard. Compared to other kinds of floors, however, living with wood floors simplifies housekeeping and enhances the appearance of the home.
This is a guest post from Erin Devine, owner and writer for DIY Home & Floor, a blog about all things do-it-yourself home design. She also writes articles for Floor & Décor Outlets and has been featured as a contributor on numerous blogs and websites about interior design and remodeling.