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Replacing outdated or damaged floors with wood flooring is one of the most elegant and practical upgrades you can make to your home. Not only do they add beauty and character to a house, adding value and warmth, but they also clean up very nicely, as opposed to a material like carpet which is prone to staining and damage. Solid surface flooring like wood has a sanitation factor that carpet lacks, because it attracts and breeds allergens and mold, not to mention dust mites. If maintained and installed properly, wood floors can add an entire lifetime of beauty, having the potential to last for up to a century!

There are several different types of wood floors available for residential installation, depending on the wants, needs, and style of the homeowners. One of the biggest advantages to natural wood flooring as opposed to man-made flooring is that they have a tendency to compliment the temperature changes by holding heat in the winter time, and remaining cool to the touch in the summertime. Any type of wood flooring, however, has a strong resistance to damage from pets, children, and other daily wear and tear.

1. Pre-Finished Hardwood Floors: This type of wood flooring is by far the most convenient to purchase if you’re looking to install your floors quickly, and not set on creating your own finish. It creates far less of a mess to clean up, as there is no prep-work involved in making sure the planks are ready to be set. As a homeowner, you can choose your floors based on how they will look completed, because the work is already done for you. Typically, buying pre-finished hardwood is significantly more expensive, although it will save you a great deal of time. If the home is currently being lived in rather than built from the ground up, and renovation is taking place around the daily activities of a family, pre-finished doesn’t require any drying time, which is convenient for a busy household.

2. Unfinished Hardwood: Most contractors and builders choose to purchase the floor planks unfinished. Without the changes made by the finish, they can make certain that the pieces fit together perfectly, and that there are no gaps or unevenness in the floor while they’re installing it. Professionals claim that the end product of unfinished hardwood floors have a more uniform look than the pre-finished. Also, the homeowner is then free to choose the product brand and color that he would like to finish his wood floors with, rather than setting for whatever the pre-finished wood has been treated with. Unfinished wood does require more time and patience, but those that choose to use it believe that the end result is worth the extra effort.

There are over 50 species of wood floors available for flooring, although they range in popularity and price. Some of the more popular types of wood flooring are listed below. All of the following types of wood flooring are available in finished or unfinished varieties:

a. American Cherry: This type of wood was used for cabinetry for many years, and many people have recently used it for flooring in homes and offices. It is known to be easy to work with and finish nicely. It is also a photosensitive wood, meaning that it changes color over time and darkens in tone, which many people believe to be quite beautiful and add to the character of the wood.

b. Hard Maple: This is a popular choice for flooring, and has been since from the early American settlers’ time. It has a harder surface than oak, which makes it naturally resistant to abrasions and other damage. Maple floors can last for decades, and look as they did the day the planks were laid.

c. Oak: A classic choice for wood flooring, oak offers a particular shine to floors, and is available in several different grades. You can purchase flawless oaks, which lacks any sort of knot or blemish in the planks. This can get quite pricey, so many choose to go with select oak, which has a limited number of blemishes, and natural oak, which is sold just as the name implies.

d. Ash: The color of ash flooring is a major selling point for this species of wood. It is the shade of dark mahogany, similar to a cherry wood after the tone has changed. Many choose ash to compliment their traditional decor, or a lodge-type atmosphere.

3. Veneer Wood Flooring: This type of engineered flooring is manufactured with a small layer of natural wood on the top of the plank, with an alternative wood composite as the underneath layer that remains unseen. Purchasing this type of wood flooring can save the homeowner money since the cost of the materials is less that 100% hard wood. Since veneer wood can be joined without an issue, this results in very little waste of the product, and also quite forgiving when it comes to making mistakes. Veneer floors still give the same look as hardwood flooring, but it costs less and is installed easily, often without the help of a professional. They can also be repaired or replaced at a very low cost.

4. Laminate Wood Flooring: While this type of flooring is not made of natural wood and is very much man-made, many people are using it as an alternative to hardwood floors due to its durability and a very friendly price tag. It carries the same look of wood throughout the home and has many of the same advantages, while not requiring the level of maintenance that authentic wood does. It comes in many different colors and textures, and ranges in quality as well. While it doesn’t nick or dent the way that hardwood does, it also doesn’t have the same feel that natural wood does. If you’re looking for something that looks great but won’t break the bank, laminate wood flooring is a budget-friendly alternative to hardwood installation.

The look and feel of wood flooring is certain to warm up any home and bring a sense of coziness to it. It’s helpful to speak with a hardwood expert from when choosing solid surface flooring for your home.

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