Benefits Of Hardwood Floors

You'd be hard-pressed to​ find a​ homeowner who doesn't want hardwood floors. Wall-to-wall carpeting is​ out, and​ hardwood floors are in. But are they worth the price? Let's face it: at​ $8-$10 per square foot (installed), wood flooring is​ more expensive than carpeting or​ the increasingly common​ laminates that offer a​ similar look.

if​ you're on​ the fence and​ can't decide whether to​ install hardwood floors (or maybe peel back your​ old carpeting and​ refinish the wood underneath), this​ list may be able to​ help. We're going to​ take a​ look at​ some of​ the benefits of​ hardwoods:

1. Longevity

Thanks to​ durable finishes that are easy to​ repair, solid-wood floors can last for​ a​ hundred years or​ more. There are very few flooring materials that have been around as​ long as​ wood. Over the centuries, it​ has shown itself to​ be a​ lovely and​ durable floor choice. Other newer materials have yet to​ prove themselves.

2. Coziness and​ Warmth

Not only is​ hardwood more pleasant to​ walk on​ than laminate (which always feel cold and​ a​ little "plastic" underfoot), but it​ is​ naturally warm. Wood is​ an​ excellent insulator, thanks to​ its thousands of​ tiny air chambers per cubic inch, which hold in​ heat.

3. Hypoallergenic

Got allergies? Unlike carpets (read: breeding grounds for​ mold, mildew, and​ dust mites, all of​ which can be tough on​ anyone with allergies), wood floors don't give pollen, animal dander, mold, etc. any place to​ hide and​ thrive. Even when you​ steam clean carpets, it's impossible to​ get them entirely clean. in​ fact, getting them wet just makes things worse. Hardwood flooring is​ an​ excellent choice for​ anyone with any kind of​ environmental allergies. (and​ it​ makes good sense for​ everyone else too--who wants to​ lie down on​ a​ floor that's hiding mold?)

4. Easy to​ Clean

A little sweeping and​ a​ little mopping, and​ your​ hardwood floors will keep looking nice for​ a​ long time to​ come. Even families with dogs and​ kids are realizing that it's easier to​ mop a​ hardwood floor than try to​ spray/scrub/wash grape Kool-Aid out of​ a​ carpet. Another perk is​ that a​ scratch here or​ a​ gouge there really just adds character to​ wood floors (of​ course, you​ can always have them refinished if​ you​ prefer perfection).

5. Increase Home Value

Unless you're going to​ be living in​ the same house for​ the rest of​ your​ life, you​ should think about how the flooring choices you​ make today will affect the price you​ can get for​ your​ home when you​ sell it. Carpet will look old and​ used in​ just a​ few years, whereas wood floors last a​ long time and​ add value to​ a​ home (if​ you've ever watched those house hunter shows on​ television, you've doubtlessly seen just about every potential buyer looking around hopefully for​ hardwood floors). Even laminate flooring, which looks like wood flooring, is​ a​ distant second choice for​ homebuyers. it​ just doesn't have the same warmth and​ feel.

These are just a​ few of​ the benefits of​ hardwood floors. We didn't even mention​ the aesthetic value: at​ the end of​ the day, they just look better than the alternatives. if​ you​ can afford to​ pay an​ extra couple dollars per square foot, go with hardwood. if​ you​ have hardwoods hiding under your​ existing carpets, tear those suckers up and​ get the wood refinished.

if​ you​ settle for​ laminate or​ just replacing the carpeting, you​ may regret it​ down the road.

for​ more information, visit the Hardwood Flooring section​ of​ the author's Home Improvement site.

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