Hardwood refers to woods obtained from dicotyledonous trees in a temperate and tropical rainforest. Hardwoods are quite complex in structure, just as the name sounds, and they are usually harder than the softwoods. When used as a flooring material, they are so adaptable that the best hardwood vacuums can be used on them.
What Is Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring refers to the use of hardwood as covering for your floor surface. In the past, solid hardwood floorings were initially employed for making structures and frames, nailing it perpendicularly to the king post of houses in form of joists.
However, in more recent times, concrete is used as a subfloor in most parts of the globe, and as such, refined wood flooring has become more common.
In spite of this, solid wood floorings are still a common sight in most homes because they come as thick wear surfaces and can be finished to look good easier than the engineered wood floor.
All in all, hardwood flooring refers to covering of the floor with sawn planks of hardwood rather than a rug, carpet, ceramic, tiles or any other floor finish materials. It is possible to improve durability of this type of floor with hardwood mop when done regularly.
Benefits of Hardwood Floorings
There exist quite a lot of factors, realistic and ergonomic, which make it logical to always go for hardwood flooring when considering the material to finish your floor with. Let’s examine some of those benefits:
Anytime you accidentally spill liquid on either rug or carpet, the effect is really irritating and undesirable. If you use fibers as floor finish too, there is a tendency of crumbs getting stuck in it.
In order to maintain it clean, it will take a lot of various cleaning chemicals, and besides, it takes a lot of physical efforts, working your hands and legs, rubbing and scrubbing off to get rid of a stain. Dust is equally bound to gather with time regardless of the floor type.
However, when hardwood flooring is employed, the cost of maintenance and cleaning is low. You can quickly sweep through or use the world’s best hardwood steam mop to clean it up.
Besides, it is also possible that you clean the hardwood flooring by simply handpicking what you’ve dropped. You don’t need to vacuum it more than once in a week and the floor will always appear neat with little effort.
Certainly, every good-quality wood will last long. This is even more important if you have children who tend to spill anything and everything on the floor. In such a case, if you have a linoleum flooring it can easily crack, fade or suffer any other deformation as a result of the stress it is subjected to. However, hardwood will always remain sturdy and rugged.
It’s not impossible for hardwood to get scratched or roughened but this can be easily fixed. Just a simple treatment using polyurethane coating will fix the scratches and cause it to appear like new, leaving you with a floor where kids can play without fear of damaging it.
Enhances the Value of Your House
Some people don’t have plans of leaving their homes to their children and new generations. However, if you check this Waterproof laminate options reviewed carefully, you will understand that it is still possible for you to sell it later. In this case, hardwood remains your best bet.
This is due to the fact that hardwood has been associated with high-quality and little maintenance and many home builders prefer it to other flooring alternatives. Some buyers are completely disinterested in using carpets, for example.
Although you can steam clean the carpet from time to time, you’ll likely have multiple stains on it. This is what makes it less suitable option for most people. However, with hardwood flooring, cleaning is easy and this makes it a much better solution.
Filters Dust From the Air
It is not so difficult to understand that carpets will harbor dust particles, animal fur, microorganisms and a lot of other contaminants. Peradventure you are asthmatic or you react to allergens, the contaminants trapped by the carpet’s fibers can cause you health problems.
In the case of tile floors and linoleum, the fissures, faults and impressions on their surfaces can accumulate dirt. However, hardwood does not trap dirt nor allergens. Therefore, hardwood floors afford you better indoor air quality, reducing the chances of allergic reactions and asthma.
If you are looking at choosing a sturdy laminate flooring, then it is paramount to know that the linoleum floor usually synthesized from vinyl, which is not eco-friendly enough since it does not decompose and it is not organic. As more of it is being produced, more resources are being exploited without chances of being replenished.
However, hardwood is totally natural. The trees from which it is made are a biodegradable material that can be regenerated. Besides, it is very likely that you will use your hardwood flooring for a very long time. If you are environment-conscious at all, hardwood flooring is an option to explore.
Of course, hardwood is somewhat flexible when it comes to decorating. Wood flooring gives some class to the interior décor of your home. The hardwood floor is plush and enticing and can give an impression of spaciousness.
Aside from that, hardwood is so versatile that it blends perfectly with almost any decoration pattern. The case with carpet or linoleum is quite different where the style and color have to match the décor of your house.
However, hardwood flooring adapts and blends easily. Also, tools for floor sweeping can be used on it without the fear of scratching or tearing it off.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
- Hardwood flooring affords a myriad of different varieties, patterns as well as colors of conventional wood from which buyers can select. Every plank is different with a special natural appearance.
- It improves the value of the house. Homes using hardwood usually command a higher price.
- Repairing it takes simple sanding and staining every time you want to clean it. As such, it is advisable to use it in places with high daily walking traffic.
- Should a particular plank get destroyed, you don’t need to remove all others before you get it replaced or fixed.
- It improves air quality because it doesn’t trap contaminants.
- Cleaning and maintenance are easy as a vacuum cleaner, wet fabric or wood cleaner can be used. Because kitchen flooring should be long-lasting, hardwood flooring is still the best option here.
- It is eco-friendly as it is biodegradable and organic and it doesn’t accumulate toxins.
- It has good acoustics because it does not retain sound on its surface either does it reverberate.
- While it is true that hardwood flooring gives an elegant and executive touch to the home décor, it is costly to have.
- Hardwood flooring is quite difficult to install and it takes a professional touch to correctly nail down the wooden bars to the subfloor.
- Hardwood flooring is very prone to scratching and if you keep pets, then don’t expect that glossy surface to last long.
- Since this flooring expands and contracts in an alternating manner during summer and winter, then, it is not very advisable to use it in places with varying daily temperatures. Similarly, gaps must be left while installing it to accommodate the expansion.
- It absorbs and swells up when it contacts moisture, as such, it isn’t ideal for use in places such as bathrooms, laundry as well as basements.
- Hardwood flooring needs consistent polishing and this comes at a high price.
- Walking on this flooring can make a lot of noise, such that people wearing high heels can make undesirable noises with their shoes.
Hardwood Floor Finishes
If you wish to have your floors to last for a longer period and be more sturdy, it is essential that you coat them with a protective film known as wood finishing. The wood finishes are mostly prepared from polyurethanes or prefinished UV-treated urethane, olefins or related compounds.
Factory-Finished Wood Flooring
Steam mops are great for tiles, but they can be used for wood flooring as well. Factory-finished wood flooring comes with a stain and screening film coating which has been pre-applied during the manufacturing process.
Because the wood will come to you refined, it reduces the time you’ll spend trying to complete your project. This is because installers will not need time to finish the wood nor will you need to tarry before your family walks on the surface.
Unfinished Wood Flooring
In the unfinished wood flooring, it is usually much cheaper when it comes to buying crude materials. However, you can afford to do the finishing in your house even after the experts are done installing it. If you allow the professional to add the finish to the floor, the cost of hiring him will be higher.
Polyurethane Wood Flooring
Because polyurethane is generally more sturdy and stainless, they are more ideal in houses where there are little kids and pets. However, when major damage occurs, it is very common for the entire board to be changed and the whole floor will be buffed and re-coated.
Oil Wood Flooring
The oil finishes lead to a more natural appearance and allow for more easy ways to maintain the wood. While it is not as hard as polyurethane finish, oil wood finish is more prone to damage than other finishes.
However, the advantage is that scratches and other nicks can be easily corrected by coating with a layer of oil each time the surface is traumatized. If you use a carpet, alternatively, you can get rid of debris from carpets with a vacuum cleaner.
Hardwood Flooring Sizes
The conventional thickness for any wood floor should be three-quarter inches. However, there are some manufacturers who keep making a line of thickness that could be as great as 5/16 inches.
The conventional width for wood flooring is usually 2 and a quarter inches, but the larger pieces, usually referred to as “plank floors” can be gotten at 3 to 6 inches. Similar and equally cheaper planks usually have a conventional width and equal length. Nevertheless, a more practical and natural floor pattern can be gotten by using wood that’s wider or by using wood with varying lengths.
More often than not, the wood length depends on the manufacturer and usually comes under a generic classification. The conventional plank length includes:
Short: 3 to 6 inches
Medium: 7 inches
Long: 8 to 10 inches
Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring is good as a flooring product in the sense that it can be easily cleaned using a vacuum that sucks long hair with ease. However, it comes in two types – engineered and solid flooring.
Solid wood flooring happens to be one of the best flooring alternatives for domestic use. Regardless of the function of the room, the traffic on it can’t reduce the sturdiness and aesthetics as it lasts for long.
Solid wood flooring is just the careful arrangement of long and strong wood planks like hickory or ash which could be employed at home and in offices. This flooring type is usually employed in locations with lower traffic like the dining room or lounge and the aim is to get a luxurious and neat finish that will secure your floor as the highlight in the room.
Sporting a mix of different colors and woods too, solid hardwood is the right option if you are considering adding beauty to your home amongst other options.
On the contrary, the engineered hardwood ranks as a hybrid solution that mixes hardwood and other vital components to make an affordable material that is ideal for use in homes today.
Floorings made from engineered hardwood are suitable for tenement housing as well as subfloors. They fit perfectly for both residential and commercial apartments.
Engineered hardwood floorings are more resilient than the solid hardwood and so they can be cleaned using the wood vacuum, just like you always clean shag carpet with a vacuum cleaner. It can accommodate heavy traffic and so it is usually fitted in relaxation rooms, kitchens as well as hallways.
Generally, it’s made to be resistant to damages caused by wetness and water drops which usually damage other floor types. This affordable solution is ideal for a home with a large number of people, pets and kids.
Factors That Affect Hardwood Cost
Certainly, the nature of the wood used in flooring has a telling effect on the cost of hardwood. For instance, top-quality materials such as mahogany will cost higher than the low-quality ones such as oak or pine. These are some of the factors that will certainly affect the hardwood cost:
Peradventure you have a large and spacious home where you want to use hardwood flooring, then the cost will definitely be high. You will have to pay expert installers and more often than not, they bill per foot. Therefore, fixing hardwood flooring over a small 400- square-foot kitchen will not be as costly as doing the same on a 1000- square-foot home.
The nature of the subfloor also affects the hardwood cost. For instance, it will be very bad if you have your glossy shining flooring fixed on a sloppy subfloor. As such, you might want to level the rough subfloor surface before installing the hardwood and this will increase the cost.
Perhaps your underlayment or subfloor is placed under a carpet and it is not impossible that it has been damaged or attacked by molds. This might take the extra cost to treat before installing the new flooring.
If you have a rugged and a sloppy subfloor, the technician might request that you fill the slope with concrete first to have an even surface and this can cost you as much as some $1,500 for labor and concrete to make your space good enough for hardwood.
Wood Floor Type
Different hardwood functions in different ways and the cost variations can be great too. It is good that you speak to your technician on the variant of solid wood that is most adaptable for your house.
For example, some woods have marked daily expansion and contraction with temperature variations, giving an ugly cracking look in the winter. If you reside in such locations, it is wise to go for stable ones.
The most popular choices are oak, maple and other similar options. You could, as well, love the hand-fabricated engineered hardwood or even go for teak, bamboo or any other special wood type.
Whatever your final selection is will most probably be a function of the aesthetical appearance and the budget available. Everyday wood such as maple could range from some $4 per square foot while the top-quality options such as mahogany could be as expensive as $10 for each square foot.
Do you desire a modern herringbone motif? Do you want to have parquet-styled hardwood? Going for intricate wood patterns can skyrocket the cost of installation.
The quality or grade of your hardwood will affect the cost, although you can improve your floor’s durability with hardwood mop.
If you wish for a top-grade hardwood, you should be prepared to spend more in comparison to those who just wish to have wood flooring regardless of the quality. There are the lowest tier, middle tier and highest tier grades to choose from, after all.
Hardwood Flooring Material Cost Factors
The material has a significant effect on the cost overall. You will have to choose between solid or engineered hardwood and local or foreign species. Again, you might want to consider the thickness, strength and finish material.
It is best to start by considering how spacious your home is. You can achieve this by determining the square footage of the floors you wish to cover and add an extra 5% to accommodate the waste and planks.
For conventional, solid wood flooring, if you plan to use softwoods like pine, you could spend some $4 to $5 and you will have to maintain it regularly using the world’s best hardwood steam mop.
Common local woods such as cherry and oak could gulp around some $5 to $10.The foreign woods such as mahogany could go for some $8 to $15 for each square foot.
The cost of engineered hardwood floorings is much closer to the solid type. The primarily engineered hardwood with three core tiers might cost some $3 to $5 per square foot.
The middle range, whose thickness is greater than 1/12” and not up to 1/6” with five core layers will go for $5 to $10 square foot. The top-quality flooring having 1/6” thickness and beyond with a 7-core layer will take up to $8 and $13 for each square foot.
Although the store and location of purchase can affect hardwood material costs, the brand you buy has a higher influence on the price eventually.
Besides, you equally need to factor in the cost of shipping or delivering the hardwood to your home, if you make an online purchase. However, if you buy directly from a store, you could be able to take it to your house by yourself and no charges for delivery will be levied. Lastly, never forget to consider state tax on the product you are buying.
Hardwood Flooring Installation Cost Factors
The nature of hardwood flooring you are going for can affect the cost of installation. Solid flooring needs to be hammered with a nail, pinned or glued to the subfloor surface.
Engineered hardwood can pretty much be installed in the same manner but it can be fixed as a floating floor or superimposed on a floor that was there before. This can affect the cost of installation in different ways. To start with, solid hardwood ought to be handled by an expert.
Besides fixing the right subfloor and setting each plank, the installer must understand the gap to be left for expansion and shrinking. Again, as discussed earlier, the cost of material should also be added to the installation cost.
When you are looking at the installation cost factors, it is essential to get an expert installer. Alternatively, you can install the wooden boards yourself and save the cash.
Hiring an expert will cost you some $3 to $5 per square foot. This is independent of if you’ll have to work on the subfloor, remove old flooring or make underlayment.
Similarly, how difficult the job will be is also another installation cost factor worthy of consideration. If you will be installing your hardwood flooring around electrical items or around the stairs, the time to do this will be long and so you expect a higher installation cost.
Similarly, the present situation of the subfloor will also affect the total installation cost. There mustn’t be items like nails, debris, tool for floor sweeping on the floor where you want to install hardwood.
Yet another installation cost factor is the finished accessories such as baseboards and trims and the cost of labor to install the materials on your floor. You can either buy yourself or allow the installer to do this. This will certainly add to the installation cost as it goes for some $2 per foot.
Moving your furniture is also another installation cost factor. If you have been resident in that hone before, then you’ll surely need to move out of your furniture to have the hardwood installed. You can do this by yourself or ask the installers to do it for you.
Hardwood Flooring Grades Cost
Wood flooring is in three grades which are narrow boards or planks. They are usually between the range of 3 to 7 inches in width.
Softwoods such as pine and poplar usually cost between $3 and $6 for each foot and an extra $3 to $5 for installation.
These are hardwood types that are fairly popular such as oak or the American Cherry. Here, it might cost some $5 to $10 per square foot to do the flooring and extra $3 to $9 each square foot for technical installation.
The most expensive hardwoods are the foreign or rare types such as tigerwood or mahogany and they could go for as high as $7 to $16 each square foot and the extra $4 to $9 per foot for installing it. Because kitchen flooring should be long-lasting, we recommend that the highest tier hardwood is used in hones, where it is the most affordable.
Additional Hardwood Cost Considerations
Hardwood Floor Refinishing Costs
Should you maintain your hardwood flooring very well, you might not need to ever refine it. A properly-maintained solid hardwood can last over a century and a half without the need for refining, varying with how thick it is and its nature. The cost of refining your flooring is almost the same as the cost of a new one. It could take some $6 per square foot.
Trim and Molding Costs
Trimming hardwood can cost you some $6 to $9 per foot to install or $1.50 per foot to re-paint. Removing and installing the baseboards can take some $150. Immediately after the wood flooring has been installed, the trim moldings are added to obscure the gaps.
Cost to Remove Hardwood Floors
Prior to the installation of new hardwood, it might be necessary to detach and remove the present floors if they give a rough sloppy surface. A review of Lifeproof vinyl plank flooring shows that it might cost you some $400 to $550 to take off current flooring or some $1 to $2 per square yard to take off previous carpets.
Different Types of Wood Cost Comparison
Oak Flooring Cost
Oak has good detailing and impressive pattern with nature-inspiring tones. Red oak features a thick but well-outlined grain in reddish earthy profiles. Oak is a medium-level material whose prices can be from $3 to $10 for each foot to get the materials. The thickness is 3/4 inch (19 mm).
Hickory Flooring Cost
Hickory comes as a long-lasting wood with ingrained thrilling grain design and diverse color ranges. It is very suitable for locations with great daily traffic and the price can be $3 to $6 for each square foot. It is 5/8 inches (15.88 mm) thick.
Walnut Flooring Cost
Walnut presents luxurious brownish color grades with a special grain. It is very hard and long-lasting and the price could be anything from $5 to $10 per square foot for the material. Steam mops are great for tiles but they work perfectly well when used on walnut flooring too. The thickness is 3/4 inches (19 mm).
Pine Flooring Cost
Hardwood flooring using pine will cost you some $2 to $4 for each square foot but the engineered pine will cost some $10 to $11 for each square foot. The thickness is 5/8 inches (15.88 mm).
Maple Flooring Cost
The average cost of buying maple wood is $3 to $6 for each square foot while the engineered maple goes for $10 to $12 for each square foot. For this cost, the thickness is 3/4 inch (19 mm).
Ash Flooring Cost
For each square foot, ash hardwood goes for $5 to $6 while the engineered ash wood goes for $12 to $13 per square foot. The thickness is 3/4 inch (19 mm).
Bamboo Flooring Cost
The price range for bamboo flooring varies up from $2 to $4 for each square foot. This bamboo size is 5/8 inches (15.88 mm).
Different Types of Hardwood Installation Costs
If you use carpet flooring before, you can get rid of debris from carpets with a vacuum. But if you wish to use float installation for your hardwood, you can expect to spend some $6 for each square foot and this varies with the wood type you are going with.
Peradventure you have had a wood subfloor, nail installation is the best choice or else, you might have to factor in the cost of fixing a wooden subfloor prior to installing the real flooring. Nail installation will take some $4 per square foot and this varies with the wood type you select.
For a solid flooring, if you plan to install it using glue, you should expect to get some $4 for each square foot, with the price varying with the wood type selected.
Other Types of Floors vs Hardwood Costs
Laminate vs Hardwood Cost
On average, it costs some $3 to $8 each square foot to fix laminate flooring as opposed to the $6 to $12 required for installing the hardwood flooring per foot.
The installation cost for the laminate floor hovers around $1,400 to $3,400 while the average expert fees for installation paid by homeowners are usually some $2,350.
Carpet vs Hardwood Cost
If we take the average of what it cost to install carpet, we should be looking at some $2 to $4 per square foot while hardwood flooring can gulp some $6 to $12 for each square foot.
Tile vs Hardwood Cost
To install a vinyl or laminate tile, you can expect to spend $2 to $7 for each square foot for ceramic tiles or between $5 to $10, while for hardwood flooring, the installation can be anything from $6 to $12 each square foot.
How to Install Hardwood Flooring
Step 1 – Plan the Layout
The very first step in installing hardwood flooring is pre-determining the layout to give room for expansion. Measure the length and width and set how you want the flooring to look.
Step 2 – Prepare the Room
Remove old carpets and padding to show the plywood subfloor. You can begin by vacuuming the subfloor.
Step 3 – Laying the planks
This step is pretty much self-explanatory. You should lay the planks following the predetermined pattern you like the most.
Step 4 – Start cutting the planks
Cut and replace around edges and corners to get a perfectly-laid setting.
Step 5 – Leave some space between
Give room for expansion and contraction in the flooring.
Step 6 – Finishing
Use baseboard molding to hide the expansion spaces and fasten a shoe molding to the baseboard.
How to Clean and Maintain Hardwood Flooring
Cleaning your hardwood flooring is easy to do since the wood is finished to a glossy shining face. However, you can equally improve your floor’s durability with hardwood mop. Here is a step by step guide to clean and maintain your hardwood flooring:
Step 1 – Clean thoroughly
Start by dusting or sweeping your floors thoroughly.
Step 2 – Make a cleaning solution
The next thing to do is to make cleaning water by mixing soap with water in the right proportion.
Step 3 – Clean section by section
Gently stir the soap mixture and thereafter mop or scrub the wooden surface section by section.
Step 4 – Dry the floor
Dry the surface with a neat, dry cloth or use a dry mob to do this.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When it comes to buying and installing hardwood, spending more does not directly guarantee to have better quality products. You need to carefully go through a lot of reviews on cost, the types, installation process and other things before dashing to the market for the purchase of a particular hardwood type.
Do’s and Don’ts to do With Hardwood Flooring
- Always make use of a floor-cleaning mixture recommend by the manufacturers.
- Ensure you don’t use hardwood in places where water always spills such as an uncovered balcony, bathroom or laundry areas.
- Never make use of oils, waxes or furniture sprays.
- Never make use of ammonia or alkaline substances to clean the surfaces of hardwood flooring.
- Don’t attempt to install hardwood by yourself, consult an expert installer instead.
- Don’t clean the surface with vinegar, lemon or any similar chemical.
Quick Tips on How to Save on Hardwood Costs
Here are a few tips you can use to save costs on hardwood flooring purchase and installation:
- Carry your furniture by yourself as contractors charge a heavy bill on moving furniture from one room to the other.
- Remove the carpet and check for necessary things to remove prior to the arrival of contractors. It saves cost.
- Go for cheaper wood types. Cut down huge bills on your hardwood flooring by selecting the ones that are relatively cheaper such as oak or maple.
- Install hardwood only in places where it is necessary. Use porcelain or ceramic tiles in other situations where it isn’t very necessary.
- Do the installation yourself. However, if you can afford it, it is best to have an expert install your hardwood for you.
Do hardwood floors add value to your home?
Yes, they give a luxurious, elegant and aesthetically-pleasing look to your home. This, in turn, increases the resale value of your home.
In which rooms can you install hardwood flooring?
You can install it in rooms where moisture or water droplets are not expected to be a common occurrence. Places such as bathrooms and laundries must be avoided. Use other flooring materials instead.
Why should I choose hardwood floors?
There are quite a lot of benefits associated with this flooring. Durability is one. For instance, kitchen flooring should be long-lasting, so hardwood perfectly fits this class. Ease cleaning is another advantage. The list goes on.
How much does old floor removal cost?
You should prepare some $400 to $500 if you wish to remove your hardwood.
How much does softwood flooring cost?
For softwood flooring such as pine, you can expect to spend some $3 to $6 for each square foot.
How much does engineered hardwood flooring cost?
The cost of engineered hardwood flooring is very similar to that of a solid flooring counterpart.
How long does hardwood floor take to install?
In a matter of days, hardwood floor installation should be complete. However, this depends on the space to be covered and how easy is to work in that area.
How to hire a hardwood floor installer?
You can either hire a hardwood floor installer online or on-site. A lot of them will be glad to offer you free estimate services. Is it necessary that you level the floor? How will you remove the present hardwood? They can give a hint on all this.
How much does it cost to install hardwood on 1000sq feet?
The national average cost expected to be spent on a 1000sq feet room space to install hardwood is $600.
How much does it cost to install hardwood on stairs?
Because of the additional stress involved in installing the flooring on stairs, the cost is slightly above what obtains when installing hardwood in a level-ground room.
Where can I buy hardwood flooring?
You can either buy it online or from local retailers or from lumber liquidators at discounted prices.
How long do hardwood floors last?
On average, a good and rightly-installed hardwood should last some 120 years to 160 years before the need for replacing will arise.
The most-efficient means of planning the budget for your hardwood is to factor in all the possible costs you’ll expend upfront. Having foreknowledge of your budget will assist you in predetermining the nature of flooring that will perfectly match your parameters.
It will equally help you in determining which type to go for – solid or engineering, as well as how to save cost while purchasing and installing your hardwood flooring.
Photos from: aruba2000 / depositphotos.com, marsan / depositphotos.com, mark52 / depositphotos.com, peter77 / depositphotos.com, stockasso / depositphotos.com, shawn_hempel / depositphotos.com, IgorTishenko / depositphotos.com and igorr1 / depositphotos.com.