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5 Things you should know about wood floors

Maris Callahan is the author of "In Good Taste," and, as an avid self-taught home cook, is widely knowledgeable about all things culinary. She is especially passionate about helping women on-the-go cook healthy, delicious meals and snack...

Regardless of what color your walls or the style of your furniture, one of the most important parts of your home decor is beneath your feet. Maybe even, beneath your rug. Hardwood floors are are versatile and popular way to add style to your home but when it comes to what's underfoot, one size does not fit all.

Livingroom with Hardwood Floor

There is a lot to consider when you're planning to refinish or replace the floors in your home and we caught up with Chris Sy, national sales director and industry expert from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors to talk about five of the most important thing that anyone should consider before they purchase wood flooring.

Wood Type

Wood Type - Pine

There are two primary categories of wood floors: pine an hardwoods, with the former being the softer material. "Pine floors account for 50% of our sales," said Sy. "Most are reproduction quality boards up to 20 inches in width. They mimic the flooring seen in the colonial homes of the 1700s." If you're considering hardwood, white oak, hickory and walnut are all popular choices. "The White Oak is a very hard wood with a nutty brown color," said Sy. "Hickory has very warm honey-brown tones and is very tough. Walnut has a dark chocolate color with a rich flowing grain making it a good choice for contemporary homes."

Plank Size

Plank Size

The width of each plank of wood can have a big impact on a room. Wider boards make a room look larger and there are fewer joints, allowing the wood to become the focus."The overall dimension of the boards both in length and width is an important consideration when shopping for a wood floor as this will have the most profound effect on the interior design," said Sy. "Wider planks create an illusion of more space." Because wide planks leave fewer joint lines, a wide plank floor looks less choppy and allows onlookers' eyes to admire the wood's detailing, which is important when investing in a wood floor.

Distressing

Distressing

You certainly don't want nicks in your floors once they've been installed in your home, but some styles of wood are naturally marred or scraped for an older, more natural looking floor. Even when people buy their floor new, they are ofte proud of a distressed look. "Our most popular floor is Eastern white pine which is going to show the dents and dings of daily life, which is why most people buy it," said Sy. "[Some customers] do not want the floor to stay brand new looking. They want it to develop it's own unique character that reflects the life they live,  the way an old antique should."

 

Reclaimed WoodRECLAImed wood

In addition to distressed wood, another option, that isn't quite as bright and shiny as some of the choices on the market, is reclaimed wood. Most reclaimed wood has been recycled from natural sources, like old barns that have been dismantled. Some homeowners like knowing that part of their home includes a rich piece of history. "There is a unique story found in each plank," said Sy.

 

Finishes

Finishes

When selecting a finish for your floor there are a two primary things you can consider: the materials and the color. For materials, ask for a finish with low VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, chemicals with significant vapor pressure that tend to be harmful to the environment. The lower the VOC level in a product are better for the air quality and your health. As far as finish, you'll want to choose a color that matches your home. A darker wood might not be the best fit if your home design is bright and airy, so consult with a designer if you don't know right away, which is the best for you.

No matter what, you should work with a manufacturer who you trust so they can create a personalized grade. Your floor manufacturer, like an interior designer, should help shape your end product to be a reflection of your own personal style.

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