In a world where convenience is the new currency, it’s not hard to believe that traditional flooring products are being left behind. A recent study showed that only one quarter of flooring remodels opted for hardwood floors in 2019. Compare that to the one third that opted for wood in 2017 and it seems like hardwood is the floor of our ancestors, especially in a world where products like wood look tile and vinyl are popping up as often as trees in your backyard. Although tile and vinyl do offer benefits like affordability, lower maintenance, and durability, taking a closer look at hardwood will help you see that you shouldn’t count it out just yet.
Before we dive into the advantages of hardwood floors, we need to explore the differences between engineered and solid hardwood. Solid hardwood is just as it sounds: a single piece of wood that is usually about ¾ of an inch thick. Engineered hardwood consists of a 1-5 millimeter wood veneer that is then followed by layers of high-density fiberboard glued in opposite directions. Solid wood is significantly more expensive than engineered wood, but you can sand it down and refinish it numerous times. You can’t get the same results with engineered wood. Due to its thin veneer, you can only get one to two sands out of engineered hardwood (if even that), but it does offer better moisture resistance. Moisture has to travel through at least three to seven layers of fiberboard before it reaches your subfloor. With solid hardwood, it’s a straight shot through the wood.
Now that we’re familiar with the two main types of hardwood flooring, let me take you on an excursion of why hardwood may be the answer to your hankering urge to rip out your floors for something new.
1. No Cracking
If you live in Corpus Christi you know how bad our roads are, especially after it rains. This is because of the black soil we have here. Just as our roads suffer, so do our houses. The black soil expands when it rains and then contracts when it gets too dry. This causes the foundation in your house to expand and contract as well. In consequence, your tiles that cannot expand and contract go crack, sizzle, and pop. You can counteract this with crack suppression products, but that kind of prep work can cost an additional $0.50-2.00 a sq/ft. Hardwood, on the other hand, can expand and contract with your foundation. Engineered hardwood is exceptionally good at resisting moisture and can resist the warping and cracking associated with foundation movement with a proper installation.
2. Can’t Perfect Nature
As hard as wood look tile and vinyl try, they’ll never stand up to the authentic beauty of real hardwood floors. This is because hardwood manufacturers are very selective with the trees they transform into the floor you walk on. Only trees that feature few knots and a tight grain are used. By selecting these trees, hardwood manufacturers are elevating the quality and look of their product, giving consumers that organic and genuine appearance we’re all pining for. There’s a reason wood look tile and vinyl include the “wood look” in the title. They can mimic knots and grains but no one does nature quite like nature does.
Can’t find that exact color of tile or vinyl you are looking for? Too bad. You’re going to have to wait until a manufacturer has the same idea as you. This isn’t the case with hardwood floors. Stain matching is an option and can offer endless possibilities when it comes to customization, whether you want to match existing floors or even your crown molding. Tiles and vinyl also go out of style and are dropped and discontinued left and right. If you didn’t save a box or two for a small repair, you’re out of luck. Even if they do discontinue your hardwood floor, stain matching can prevent you from having to replace your entire floor for one repair.
Tile and vinyl can only serve their purpose once. Think of it like this: when you use a paper plate, you use it once and then throw it away. When you use a ceramic plate, you wash it over and over and it lasts a lifetime as long as you can take care of it. The same can apply to floors. With tile and vinyl, you use them once and after that they have to be thrown away. If you grow tired of that baby pink floor you thought you could live with when you first moved in, you are going to have to rip it out and dispose of it. Depending on the thickness of your veneer, you can sand engineered hardwood down to match your new vision (as long as you take care of them).
5. Higher Home Value
Studies show that homes with hardwood floors sell faster and at higher prices than homes with other flooring products. Having hardwood floors in your home can increase your house value by up to 2.5%. In fact, most home buyers prefer hardwood floors in their main living spaces. Hardwood also can last more than 100 years when taken care of and installed properly. This means that it’s a good long-term investment. Home buyers are aware of this, and if your home is the home of their dreams, investing a little bit more initially can pay off big time in the long run.
6. Health Benefits
There’s nothing quite like stepping on warm carpet when Corpus Christi decides to have its two weeks of winter. However, carpet can be a hazard for people that suffer with allergies. It can trap and then release allergens every time you walk on it. Hard surfaces like hardwood are ideal for people that suffer with allergies; all you have to do to get rid of those pesky allergens is wipe the surface clean. Hardwood is also softer on your feet than other flooring surfaces like tile. It’s easier on the joints and isn’t as cold on your feet during the winter.
Hardwood floors are timeless, stunning, and inviting. They can provide you with the support and comfort you need to feel at home. Even though there are new products on the market that try to disguise themselves as wood, hardwood’s beauty, flexibility, and impact on resale value are hard to beat. So whether you’re looking to improve the value of your home or want a floor that you can pass on to your kids (and maybe even your grandkids), hardwood is a floor you can indeed count on.