Benefits and Drawbacks of Hardwood Flooring

People have been installing hardwood floors since medieval times, but they didn’t become widely used until the late nineteenth century. However, improper installation and a lack of knowledge regarding sealers and finishes led to the perception that hardwood flooring was not durable enough to last very long. Improvement and refinement of both installation techniques and sealants/finishers have greatly enhanced the longevity of hardwood floors. In addition, increased availability of wood has brought costs to the end user down to a level that is affordable to many families and small businesses.
Despite the popularity of hardwood flooring, there are some other important things that you should know about it before making an investment in this type of flooring. The first is that climate can dramatically affect the longevity of your floors. If you live in a dry, desert climate like that of Arizona or Nevada, then hardwood floors are not recommended. In desert climates, temperatures during the day are quite warm, while temperatures at night can be quite cool. This constant, daily temperature fluctuation causes the wood floor panels to expand and contract. Over time, this can create cracks in the wood and spaces in between the floor boards. To combat this, you can air condition your home during the warmer months to ensure a more or less constant temperature of the wood throughout the year. However, the best climate for hardwood flooring is one in which there is little temperature variation and sufficient humidity to prevent destruction of the wood.
Another factor to consider when selecting hardwood floors is the amount of traffic that you expect. If the floors will be installed in a high-traffic area, it may be best to use laminated hardwood flooring because it’s scratch-resistant and easy to maintain. For lighter traffic areas, engineered hardwood flooring can provide a classy, luxurious look to your room. (Engineered hardwood flooring is real wood that has already been professionally sanded and finished.)
The facts that hardwood flooring is very easy to clean and does not attract a lot of dirt and grime make it highly preferred over other types of flooring in both residential and commercial settings alike. In addition to its durability and aesthetic appeal, hardwood flooring is an environmentally friendly design option. Wood is a renewable resource, and it doesn’t pollute the air in your home due to its resistance to pollen, dust, and other allergens.
The main drawback to hardwood flooring is that it can be expensive, depending on the type of wood that you choose, and whether you go for laminated hardwood or engineered hardwood. Cherry and cabreuva cost more than beech and maple, but they’re harder and thus more durable. Also, even though it’s considered environmentally friendly, it’s not as eco-friendly as bamboo flooring, for example.
To summarize, the benefits of hardwood flooring are: durability, ease of maintenance, resistance to dirt and common allergens, and aesthetic beauty (that is, of course, in the mind of the beholder). The drawbacks include a potentially high cost and lack of an ideal climate for preserving the like-new condition of the wood. It should also be noted that even though some humidity is good for the wood, this type of flooring should not be installed in high-moisture environments such as bathrooms and pool areas.

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