Hardwood Floors – Which Style Is Best For You?
Hardwood floors are the hallmark of a beautiful home all over the world and at any time. Natural wood has been used for hundreds of years to bring timeless warmth and elegance to a wide range of living styles, from rustic to modern. Wood flooring is the platform on which family life unfolds and is the latest environmentally “green” product that brings an earthy palette to home décor. It is naturally allergenic as dust and pet particles are not trapped. Long before vinyl, tile, and wall-to-wall carpeting were invented, natural hardwood flooring was used for older homes. Although the initial financial investment is relatively high, it is a long-term investment that increases the resale value of the home. Hardwood floors are easy to maintain with just a damp mop and can be restored by sanding and re-staining to change the look of your home. They also make a beautiful natural backdrop for rugs to match décor, and hardwood is highly complementary to other flooring materials such as tile, marble, stone, and carpeted areas for a variety of textures in a home.
There are numerous types of wood that can be used for hardwood flooring, with one of the most popular being oak. White oak has a gray or gold tone that has a traditional look and is highly durable. Red oak is less expensive and slightly less durable. However, the warmth of its reddish tones can be perfect for certain decorations. Both oaks are light in color, giving a large space an open, airy appearance. The second most popular wood for hardwood floors is maple and it comes in various grains. Birdseye Maple is pale in color, finely textured, and infiltrated with swirls of darker “eyes” that are stunning. Fiddler maple has distinct parallel stripes that alternate from light to dark, giving it a wavy appearance. It is also used to make furniture and even stringed musical instruments…hence the name “fiddleback”. Quilted maple is the most common and is cinnamon brown in color and the grains are variegated with darker grains. Due to their hardness and durability, both oak and maple are excellent choices for high-traffic areas such as hallways, foyers, and kitchens. They can be stained and stained to provide a variety of looks, from country to contemporary.
Another popular wood used for flooring is American cherry, which has a close, even grain and a wide range of colors from light beige to port wine. This wood slowly oxidizes over time with sun exposure and deepens in color. Since it is softer than oak or maple, it is better suited for areas with less activity. Brazilian cherry is one of the harder woods and less expensive than American cherry. These two woods are sometimes combined to obtain a spectacular flooring effect. Other beautiful woods that can be used for flooring are hickory, ash, teak, walnut, pine, birch, spruce, rosewood, pecan, and mahogany. Hardwood floors are typically installed tongue and groove. Wood planks can be cut to various widths and laid horizontally, vertically, at an angle, and even in intricate patterns. Darker wood inserts and room borders can also enhance the elegance of a home.