November 06, 2013
It's no surprise that wood floors are the flooring choice of real estate agents trying to sell house hunters their next home. Personal taste aside, the durability and variety of wood grains like the richly textured Eagle Lodge collection from Anderson, make a great impression on would-be homeowners.
Interior designers love hardwood floors for their warm, inviting aesthetic, and that's no accident. Exposure to sun and the development of a patina often results in subtle color changes that can add character to the wood over time, according to the National Wood Flooring Association.
Many wood types
While the selection should be based somewhat on color, the function of the space should weigh heavily on what type of wood to choose for a room design. Flooring experts say engineered hardwood floors stand up best to heavy foot traffic and tend to shrink and expand less than solid woods because they resist moisture that comes with seasonal changes.
Created by cross-ply planks, engineered hardwood also has higher relative hardness that resists indentation from furniture as well as normal wear and tear. As a result, it requires less maintenance because of its durability. Using a soft bristle broom or a commercial cloth sweeper is all that's needed for day-to-day cleaning.
Modern floors come in more than 50 domestic and exotic wood species with a variety of color tones, hardness and prices, according to the NWFA. Oak and cherry continue to be popular with consumers, although North American exotics like hickory and maple have also gained favor among many homeowners.
Colors and finishes
Consumers should look over plenty of samples before selecting a color and finish, because each can have a different effect on one's home design. Sometimes part of the beauty lies in the natural imperfections of the wood that give floors their unique appearance.
In addition to choosing a wood type, homeowners have to decide whether they want finished or pre-finished flooring. Most select a wood that's already finished because it eliminates sawdust and finishing vapors during the installation process.
Then there's the matter of color. Heavily trafficked areas won't show every skid mark on darker toned floors, but scratches from pets and sliding chairs in and out may show up less on light to medium-colored floors.
For more informal rooms like family rooms and kitchens, a lighter shade usually looks best. In formal dining and living rooms, a deeper shade often suits a quieter atmosphere.