Wood flooring adds value to your home and is an investment, not an expense. Look at the real estate ads and count the number of times hardwood flooring is mentioned as a selling point. Now compare that to carpet or laminate. Carpet and plastic laminate are disposable floors, whereas wood flooring lasts for centuries if properly maintained, and can be returned to brand new condition. Wood flooring does not harbor allergens like animal dander, fleas, ticks, mites, or hold dirt like carpet. After a few years, nearly half the weight of carpet is accumulated trapped dirt.
Wood is a naturally renewable and biodegradable material, and is probably the only material in your home that satisfies those criteria. We also think it is more beautiful and individual than any other flooring material.
In terms of design, it’s hard to make a mistake with natural wood, and the ultimate advice is to choose something you like. Wood is compatible with any décor or design statement. We’ve sold knotty woods to modern hi-rise apartments, and rich dark exotics to log cabins. Different woods do not “clash” with one another in the same way as paint and fabric. I have never had the experience of walking into a home and thinking “boy, that Walnut looks ugly… why didn’t they use Maple instead?” Wood is an ancient part of our surroundings and always creates a harmonious environment for people.
If you have six children and three dogs and anticipate extra wear-and-tear, a harder wood may be more suitable. If you take your shoes off at the door, you can expect to keep that “brand-new” look forever regardless of the hardness of the wood. Even the softest of woods have survived over 300 years of use and abuse, and you’ll never walk through a wood floor. Most every accumulation of “history” is cosmetic, and one of the major advantages of wood flooring is that it can be returned to new condition. Even severely damaged pieces or areas can be repaired or replaced without compromising the rest of the floor.
If you have any of the following three criteria: radiant heat, below ground level installation, direct installation on concrete, Planet Hardwood recommends an engineered floor, which is designed to provide superior stability. Below ground level, moisture can cause solid hardwood floors to expand excessively. Modern radiant heat systems are less stressful to wood flooring than they used to be, but still create a dry environment outside the comfort zone of solid wood. The National Wood Flooring Association only recommends solid wood over radiant heat with a floating subfloor (created by attaching two layers of 1⁄2” plywood to each other, but not to the subfloor… thereby “floating”). The floating subfloor is an added expense and puts an extra 1” of wood between you and the heat source. Other important jobsite conditions pertain to moisture migration, and seasonal changes in relative humidity. A more detailed jobsite assessment is described in GENERAL INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS.