WHEN IS WOOD RIGHT FOR MY HOME?
A question often asked - the answer is anytime. The real question is when is it right for the Homeowner on a personal level. The use of Wood in our homes has and always will be a personal preference. Wood has long been a favored Decorative Material because it does more than just decorate our Homes - it gives them life. In return it ignites a spark in our lives.
WHEN IS A WOOD FLOOR RIGHT FOR MY HOME?
Just about anytime, but there can be many factors that determine how it should be used and where. A home with young children or pets might prove a challenge for a Hardwood Floor in the heavy use portion of the Home. It is not the Hardwood itself that takes the abuse but rather the finish on top of the floor. Conversely, Hardwood can exist in these same Homes in areas that are not heavy traffic areas such as a Den, Formal Living Room or Dining Room. In these Rooms they add Charm and Natural Beauty.
WHAT SPECIES OF WOOD FLOOR SHOULD I USE?
Wood has long been a favored decorative material because it does more than just decorate our homes -- it gives them life.
TOP FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DECORATING WITH WOOD
* It typically increases the value of your home.
* It is a renewable/ reclaimable resource * It is a timeless decorative material -- homes decorated with wood typically stay that way for life
* With more variety in wood species you can now get the color and character you want without staining
* It offers soothing charm and sense of nature that no other material can.
Softwoods such as Cedar, Basswood, Cottonwood or even Pine can be considered too soft for most Flooring applications. With the exception of Pine most softwoods can be used in what we call soft foot traffic areas, such as a Bedroom. Pine, while not the most desired material for a Formal or Classic structure, is used frequently in more Rustic settings such as Lake Homes, Cabins and even many Family Rooms.
Hardwoods for Flooring have traditionally been Oak and Hard Maple and Cherry. Often these 3 species were stained to achieve the color the homeowner wanted. Today, different species of wood offer unique color and character that were not readily available in the past. Species such as Hickory, Red Elm, Hackberry, Honey Locust & Birch are all Hardwoods that work well as flooring. Today, these woods are being installed with a Clear Coat of Finish which lets the natural color and Character show through.
Woods with an Antique or Reclaimed look are also now more readily available. These woods often are used to achieve a Rustic or Old World look.
SOLID PREFINISHED VERSUS SOLID UNFINISHED FLOOR?
Again, personal preference. A 3/4" solid wood prefinished floor offers a good finish that has good wear properties. Most solid wood prefinished floors are available in a limited number of wood species and nothing wider than 3 to 5". The micro-bevel edges of a prefinished floor, after installed, create a slight groove that some homeowners do not like, for others it is of little concern. Cost to install is cheaper since no sanding or finish is needed.
An unfinished solid wood floor will be less expensive for the material, but will have the added costs of its need to be sanded and finished after it is installed. A wider variety of wood species and widths are available and the finished result will be of your choosing and no grooves to collect dirt.
An unfinished solid wood floor can be refinished many times, a prefinished solid wood floor can be refinished, but it will typically be more expensive.
ENGINEERED PREFINISHED WOOD FLOORS-GOOD/BAD?
Most Engineered prefinished wood floors are a mix of a wood veneer on top of plywood substrate. This type of flooring is a competitive alternative to engineered laminate floors now available. They offer a good value and are real wood. They are either a snap together or glue together floating type floor. These styles of floor work well over In-Floor-Heat systems and are great for Do-It-Yourselfers. They have limited refinishing possibilities and like laminates sharp objects can break through the veneer.
There are some new Engineered Wood Floors that install the same way a solid wood floor would that offer the best of both worlds - thick veneers, prefinished and guaranteed to work over In-Floor-Heat or on Cement. Some even come in a Hand Distressed or Old World look.
WHAT WOOD IS APPROPRIATE FOR MY CEILING?
Any species of Wood will work. Key factors for deciding which Wood species is appropriate are: Available Natural Light, Room Size, Ceiling Height, and of course Personal preference.
Natural Light - Rooms that receive a fair amount of Natural Light can accept Darker Woods such as Cherry, Walnut or Butternut. Room Size - Simply put, Lighter Colored Woods make a room feel bigger, Darker Colored Woods make a room feel smaller. Ceiling height - Many homes today have Vaulted Ceilings which automatically make even a smaller room feel bigger. In these Rooms, any Color of Wood will work. Aspen, Willow, Birch, Cottonwood, Basswood or Box Elder are woods that work great for Ceilings.
WHAT WOOD IS APPROPRIATE FOR MY WALLS?
Same rules apply as the ceiling, except now furnishings have a bigger impact. Cherry does not go with Hickory, etc. An entire wall does not need to be covered in Wood. A nice touch is to install 36" or 42" of Wood Paneling on a wall in a Wainscot fashion. This adds just enough Wood to give the room some distinctive Character and simplifies Blending in Furniture and accessories.
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