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Hardwood Flooring: Pros and Cons

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Hardwood flooring is considered a hallmark for floor covering. It has been used for ages and gives a warm and inviting look to any home. The reason I can say "to any home" is because these floor coverings range from elegant to rustic in the choices. You can install this flooring in a contemporary home as well as a traditional one. Wood always emits a feeling of hominess so covering the floor in wood will naturally create a welcome emotion.

There are those who are afraid of using wood as their main flooring throughout the house. Perhaps some cons you've heard come from these facts. Solid wood flooring is 100 percent hardwood that is milled from lumber.

Since it is a natural material, hardwood reacts to changes in its surroundings such as moisture and extreme temperatures. These can cause solid wood to shrink or expand. All solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished if needed over the years so they do last forever but there is that maintenance that needs to be addressed. Solid hardwood is not recommended for installation in bathrooms and in kitchens because of moisture in those rooms.

Using wood on stairs is beautiful but noisy. With bedrooms upstairs and possibly sleeping children, the wood stairs will send noisy footstep sounds all over the place. Also, safety is an issue. A wood stair is slippery, unlike one covered with carpet. A wood stairs with a runner up the middle will solve those problems. Realize though, that you are paying for the wood (not cheap) then covering with rug. Nevertheless, it is absolutely beautiful.

Here are some pros. Consider engineered wood flooring. It is built up of layers of wood consisting of three to ten layers that are glued together. This multi-ply structure gives engineered wood superior stability, which reduces concerns associated with shrinking and expanding when temperature and humidity change. Engineered wood can be installed in kitchens and in bathrooms so no worries there.

Consider a laminate flooring. It has four layers consisting of a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer. This layered construction makes laminate floors remarkably durable. And it looks very much like a regular hardwood floor.

A definite pro: Hard flooring surfaces are allergy sufferer friendly. Allergens like pet dander and dust tend to build up in carpet and even with frequent vacuuming, the allergens can still be there. Those allergens don't have as many hiding places in hardwood floors.

Another pro: House sale. A house with hardwood floors will usually have an advantage over one that has other flooring when it comes to real estate sales.
So there you have it, now it's up to you to decide how to cover your floors.

By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., author of "Mystery of Color."

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