As a homeowner, what's most important to you - authenticity or simplicity? If you find yourself tempted by the convenience of a laminate floor, you should know that real wood floors have a host of advantages as well.
Friendly to the Environment
Because planting trees is an ongoing process, wood is a renewable resource. In fact, wood grown for flooring requires less water and energy to be produced than other flooring options, according to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). Wood floors that are well-cared for can also last hundreds of years, so they won't need to be replaced as frequently as flooring made of other materials. When your wood floor's time is up, it can be burned for fuel or recycled.
And if you're one of the 60 million people in the United States who suffers from asthma or allergies, according to NWFA, a wood floor is your friend. Indoor air quality is greatly improved with wood floors relative to other flooring materials.
Increases Home Value
In a survey conducted by the NWFA among real estate agents, some 99 percent said homes with genuine wood floors are easier to sell. In addition, 82% said the home sells more quickly with wood floors, which many buyers pursue themselves once they become residents. Upgrading floors can lead to a quicker sale and, ultimately, more profit for the buyer.
In fact, 88 percent of these real estate experts say if your home has hardwood floors, it will sell for 1 to 10 percent more than a home that has another type of flooring.
Versatility in Look
One of the most appealing things about wood floors is their sheer versatility. Different species of woods are available in hues that are both dark- and light-colored. The latter is perfect for a room with an open, airy atmosphere, whereas you can go darker for a cozier feel. Unlike many types of laminate, you can also select the width of the planks, which can alter the room's theme dramatically. You can choose from strip, wide plank or parquet designs. Consider stained, distressed or hand-scraped surfaces as well, each giving the wood a different look from rustic to refined. You can also infuse your own personality by creating unique borders, medallions and paint.
Staining an older floor can immediately perk it up, but if you seek a truly one-of-a-kind appearance, opt for an exotic wood species. Bubinga wood has a pinkish-red hue, although the Mexican species, Purpleheart, provides just the right tone of purple.
Durability and Easy Maintenance
Another appeal of real wood floors is how easy they are to keep clean. Regular sweeping and dust-mopping takes just a few minutes. It's also wise to place rugs or mats at entrances and doorways to minimize scratches by reducing the amount of dirt that comes through.
Round out your regular floor treatment with a natural oil soap. You can keep floors shining by using it just once a week. Spray some onto your finished or sealed wood floor and clean with a mop head you can easily wring out after each use.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.