Friday, September 23, 2005

Wooden Floors Are In

Wooden Floors Are In
by John McCabe


If you don't believe wooden floors are in high demand, just try watching a show like "House Hunters" on HGTV. If you had a dollar for everytime someone said the phrase "hardwood floors" you could pay your cable bill.

Why wooden floors?

-- They're durable. It's not uncommon for century old homes to have the original wood floors. With proper care, wooden floors will outlive almost any other flooring.

-- They look rich. When the cost of vinyl flooring and carpeting got low enough, wooden floors were reserved for high-end applications.

Is there a downside to wooden floors?

-- They can be cold. While not as cold as stone floors, wood is less friendly to the feet on a cold morning than carpeting.

-- They can be expensive. By definition, hardwood trees are slow-growing. That slow growth habit gives them the gorgeous grains we want in our wooden floors. It also means that the trees such a floor is made up of cost more.

Okay, you want that wooden floor. What are the alternatives?

-- Traditional tongue-and-groove flooring. This is the most expensive option. It can also be difficult to install. Such a floor will require periodic refinishing.

-- Laminates. These are pre-finished and are easy for even the moderately talented do-it-yourselfer to install. Once installed wooden laminate floors look just like the "real" thing. Usually less expensive.

-- Photo over composite. Basically, this is a photograph of wood grain glued to a composite base. Usually the least expensive, these faux-wooden floors are also the least durable.
Wooden floors, especially laminates, come in a wide array of colors and finishes. Make a quick tour of your local Lowe's or Home Depot to get an idea of what your cost might be.

Whether you like striking contemporary, or you prefer cozy rustic, there's a wooden floor for you...

John McCabe writes for Hearth & Home, a collection of home improvement information, articles and resources to make your home more efficient, valuable and fun. Hearth & Home is part of the Web Guides Network .

www.portfoliochicago.com

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