Steps to Save on Hardwood Flooring Costs
You’ve got the walls painted the perfect shade and the lighting is to your liking. Now you need the right floor to tie the room together. If you want a new hardwood floor, tread prudently: You have a forest of options at a wide range of prices.
It costs an average of $2,400 to $4,000 to buy and install 200 square feet of hardwood floor, according to national survey. That’s a wide range of $12 to $20 a square foot. How much you spend depends on:
The species of wood.
The grade and cut, which describe qualities such as color variation, whether knots are visible and the direction of the grain.
Whether the wood is solid or engineered (multiple layers of wood veneers).
The amount of preparation and cleanup work the contractor must do.
How much does it cost to install hardwood floors?
When a hardwood floor contractor prepares an estimate, the costs are usually divided between materials and labor. There might be another section of the estimate that itemizes other costs.
The cost of flooring is calculated by the square foot. The contractor usually adds between 5% and 12% to the square footage as a “cut allowance” or “waste factor” to account for scraps that will be left over. For example, a 100-square-foot room might require the purchase of 105 to 112 square feet of flooring because the planks will have to be cut to size. The leftover material is the cut allowance.
Less-expensive species of solid hardwood, such as oak and American cherry, cost $5 to $10 a square foot, according to HomeAdvisor, a referral service for home improvement professionals. Pricier species, such as Brazilian walnut and mahogany, cost $8 to $14 a square foot.
TYPES OF REAL WOOD FLOORING
Solid wood flooring is made of one piece of wood from top to bottom and can be used in any room that is on or above ground. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is it can be sanded and refinished many times.
Engineered wood floors are also made of real wood, but include multiple layers, with the top layer made of high-quality wood. Because engineered wood floors expand and contract less than solid wood flooring, they are ideal for basement installations. While this type of flooring can be sanded and refinished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring.
OPTIONS Wood floors are manufactured in almost any width. Some of the most popular styles are strip, plank, and parquet. Each style is available in a variety of species, colors, and widths, so choosing the right one is a matter of preference. Strip flooring is less than 3” wide and often makes a room appear larger. Plank flooring is equal to or greater than 3” wide and often creates a more casual look. Parquet flooring varies in size and generates a geometric, non-linear look.
SPECIESWood flooring is made from hardwoods, softwoods, domestic lumber, and a variety of imported lumber. Each wood species has unique visual characteristics and maintenance needs.
APPEARANCEMany factors impact the appearance of wood flooring, including its grade and saw cut. Wood grades are determined based on the physical characteristics of the wood. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each looks different. Additionally, the angle at which a board is cut determines how the finished product looks and performs as well.
Best Mops for Hardwood Floors
The best type of mop for hardwood floors won’t scratch the surface. It picks up fine debris that broom bristles miss. Then, the best-wet mops for hardwood floors won’t saturate the wood with water.
Best Dry Mops for Wood Floors
Dry-mopping is a gentle but efficient way to keep your floor clean. A quick spin around the house should only take a few minutes if you haven’t let the dirt build-up.
The Freedom dust mop from Libman is best for small rooms and tight spaces. It’s just under a foot wide, but it holds a lot of hair and dust. The secret to its high capacity is the long fingers on the washable microfiber pad. It’s handy for knocking down cobwebs, too.
This dust mop has cut ends, not loops, so it’s less likely to snag. It’s made from natural cotton yarn and hand-sewn in the USA. The handle adjusts from 42 to 72 inches long when you twist to unlock it.
Sladust’s wool mop is impregnated with natural lanolin that draws dust like a magnet. It stays put until you give it a shake. On the downside, you can’t toss this dry mop head into the washing machine—it’s hand wash only. Hand-washing ensures that it retains its natural ability to dust well.
Prolong the Life of Your Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors have long been a coveted house feature because they positively radiate a sense of classic warmth and tradition. Because hardwood flooring has literally been around for centuries and many of the floors found in historic homes are still the originals, it is easy to think of them as being impervious to damage.
But like any house element, hardwood floors are prone to damage from accumulated wear and tear as well as unexpected events such as flooding. The potential for damage is magnified by the fact that, unlike ceramic or vinyl flooring, hardwood is an organic material. Wood’s cellular structure will break down more easily than ceramic’s minerals or vinyl’s polymers, especially when subjected to moisture
Overview of Hardwood Floors
Lines tend to blur when it comes to categorizing hardwood flooring. With technological innovations in floor manufacturing in the last couple of decades, these lines have become even blurrier. Basically, though, it comes down to three areas
Solid hardwood flooring is 100 percent natural wood from top to bottom, no additives or changes except in the case of prefinished flooring, which comes with a factory-applied urethane-based top coating. Even so, this is just a surface coating, and all material below the coating is natural wood sawn directly from hardwoods such as ash, cherry, maple, or oak
Compared to solid hardwood’s deep history, engineered wood is a baby. In the mid-20th century, flooring manufacturers began to laminate thin veneers of real hardwood on top of thicker layers of plywood. Thus, well over 95 percent of this flooring is plywood. However, the top – the part that is visible – is 100 percent real wood
Realtor Q&A: Carpet or hardwoods … which is better when selling?
“Hardwood for sure, as everyone loves that. Carpets, colors, texture can vary and not everyone likes the same thing. Tile would be preferred in the lower level and maybe the kitchen area.”
“Hardwood is preferred over carpet on the main level any day. When you get upstairs, if there is a preference, having hardwood in the hallways is important. It’s all price-sensitive.”
“Hardwood is generally preferred over carpet. Buyers can always add a rug over top the hardwood. We had heard buyers say that because of allergies they prefer hardwood over carpet. Tile can be good too in certain areas of the home.”
“Today’s home buyers are certainly attuned to the specific amenities a home has to offer and as such, hardwood floors are seen as an upgrade relative to homes with carpet (in similar price points). Sellers are aware of these competitive differences and try to position their homes in the best light possible, and often times, offering hardwood floors, over carpeting, can help justify a pricing strategy or help a seller in direct competition with other active homes in a similar pricing category.”
Homes in our area with carpeting are a tough sell. Carpeting is one of those features that buyers often cannot see past (like bold paint colors). Although hardwoods can always be installed after the sale, buyers will not pay top dollar for a home with carpeting – especially if on the main level – and it will surely affect the price for the sellers.”