The Hardwood Flooring Discussion

I’m in desperate need of new flooring throughout my home. I meant it, desperate.

My hubby and I know that we want to put our house on the market in the next year or two, but we can’t wait any longer to upgrade our 6 year old cheap carpeting. But to what? It seems like no one talks about carpet anymore.

Why is that?

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Flooring makes a first impression.
If you walk into a home, one of the first things you’re going to notice is the flooring.  Not the windows, not the little dent in the hallway wall, not even the beige toilet. You want to grasp people at their first step when they enter your home.

Nice flooring will help sell your home faster.
These days you can purchase a brand new home at rock-bottom pricing. People aren’t shopping for fixer-uppers if they’re buying resale; they want to move in and get settled.

Could you imagine the home in this photo with carpeting? It just wouldn’t have the same warm feeling that you get with hardwood flooring.

It seems most renovators and resellers are leaning towards hardwood flooring these days.

Hardwood does not have to be replaced as often as carpeting.
Let’s say you plan on selling your house two or three years down the road. You might have to replace the carpet again (yep, cranberry juice stains can happen a week after you get new carpeting or you might have some finicky buyer that doesn’t want carpet that isn’t brand new!). Your hardwood flooring would not need to be replaced once it’s installed.

Hardwood flooring has a better return on investment.
Yep, hardwood flooring just seems to impress more. New buyers will tend to pay $10,000 on the price of a $200,000 home if you have hardwood flooring over carpeting. If your investment was only $4,000 for the hardwood upgrade over the cost of new carpeting, you’ve made $6,000! Don’t go crazy-expensive though on hardwood flooring if the house is not worth it. You wouldn’t add $15,000 of hardwood flooring in a $120,000 house.

Hardwood flooring is cleaner than carpeting.
Carpet is impossible to fully clean. Dirt, dust and dander can accumulate under the padding and weave over time. Gross. With hardwood flooring, I can vacuum and mop…although it sure will show all the dirt a lot more!

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Hardwood flooring does have some cons though. It can be pretty loud since it won’t absorb noise like carpeting. It is also colder during the winter months, although you can cover with pretty area rugs in key spots.

And yes, hardwood flooring is sleek and chic, but it can be expensive. Carpeting is much more affordable. You can even find Frieze carpeting for less than hardwood flooring.

But there are other choices than hardwood flooring and carpeting. Young House Love recently put cork floors in their kitchen and they look FABULOUS!

Faux wood laminate is also popular these days but don’t have the durability of natural hardwood flooring.

Vinyl is also a choice, although it can get dinged pretty easily. Plus you have to watch out for the grime build-up and discoloration in the seams. I have faux wood vinyl flooring in my kitchen and am ready for an upgrade.

And of course ceramic tile flooring. This is great in a kitchen area, but would be awfully cold in the winter months throughout your entire home!

So, what’s my choice?
Recently I’ve been hearing about engineered hardwood flooring. It’s basically multiple layers of plywood covered with a layer of hardwood. These floors have been known to have a higher resistance to moisture (which can be great in high humidity). Engineered hardwood flooring can be resealed, but cannot be sanded and refinished. But average lifespan is heard to be around 20-30 years (depending on traffic)!

This is engineered flooring sample above, and an actual hardwood flooring sample below…
Can YOU see the difference?

Well, I ordered a bunch of free samples this past week. Goodness! I had no idea there were so many options! Handscraped vs. smooth. Wide plank vs. varying width vs. narrow plank. And colors galore!

I still have a bunch of research to do, but at least I have a head start in the right direction.

So, what are your thoughts on hardwood flooring?
Any other options you prefer?

Comments

  1. says

    We are fixin to upgrade ourselves. After the flood of 2010 here in Nashville, everyone upgraded. One thing I have learned is not to go with the really dark color. It shows everything. The tiniest scratch, the settled dust. I want a dark color but will not go too dark. Hope that helps.

  2. says

    We just put new carpeting in our living room…it gets so cold here in the winter, and after considering hardwood, I just couldn’t. Sometimes the kids lay on their bellies on the floor to watch a movie, and I just couldn’t imagine them doing this on hardwood. We tiled our kitchen…it is pretty, super easy to clean, and not very expensive at all! Good luck, Erin!

    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real

  3. Jamie says

    We upgraded all of our downstairs floors this past summer. We actually had wood floors already in most of the house but from years of ware in tear they were scratched, scuffed and warped in a couple of places. We now have ceramic tile that looks like hardwood floors. Greatest thing ever! A lot of friends and family can’t even tell until we point out that it’s tile.

      • Jamie says

        Yes I love it and you dont have to worry about water ruining it so you can have it in bathrooms. We were worried about it being to cold but haven’t had any issues, but it doesn’t get very cold here. I have seen it sold at lowes and home depot but we got ours from a flooring company near by (the quality was better). They do make heating strips that can be laid first to maintain the temp as a option.

      • Jamie says

        Oh and I forgot to mention that our tile isn’t completely smooth, there is a slight texture like having real wood floors.

  4. says

    I love hardwood floors. I cannot stand the feel and sound of laminate. The engineered sounds interesting but unless it’s much much cheaper, I’d still stick with real solid hardwood. That “good” top layer just seems terribly thin. Now if it had a considerably thicker top layer, it may be worth considering. Seems like you should be able to get one sanding on it if needed. Life happens and a serious gouge or scratch is reality and to not be able to refinish even once is a serious drawback in my opinion.

    • says

      I agree Norma about the refinishing. Kinda scares me that you can’t do it even once! I wonder if they make a thicker engineered hardwood. But you’re right, if the price is close to real hardwood, just go for it!!

      • Liz says

        This is not completely accurate information. Whether you can refinish engineered flooring depends on the thickness of the wear layer (the “real wood” veneer) and this thickness varies considerably, from 0.6mm to as much as 7mm. It would be a bad idea to attempt to sand a floor with 0.6mm veneer, but 7 mm can be sanded multiple times (as many as any solid hardwood.) Wear layers in between in those extremes can usually be renfinished once or twice.

        Also, there is new floor refinishing technology which merely abrades the finish with a brush-like tool, rather than sanding to raw wood. This allows thin veneer or “sculpted” floors (such as hand-scraped) to be refinished.

        Finally, what most people don’t realize is that the vast majority of solid hardwood floors are never refinished. Refinishing is an expensive and very inconvenient process. Most people will replace individual planks when major damage occurs, and otherwise just touch-up scratches, even in floors which can be sanded down. The issue of refinishing seems to unnecessarily worry prospective buyers.

  5. Carol F. says

    Just say no to carpet! :)
    Variety of reasons…..mine are personal…..as in my vacuum cleaner doesn’t work.
    My wood floors I can always clean, the carpets…not so easily.
    Then there is the dirt and grime in carpets that no matter what you do remains hidden in the fibers breeding who knows what.
    I like natural products of wood, slate or marble tile.

    • says

      Thanks for the input Carol! I like the idea that you can wipe up any spills from an active 4 year old with hardwood flooring. Carpet… who knows what she spilled or dropped that’s breeding in our carpet way down deep!

  6. Gail says

    We recently moved into a home with heart of pine floors. They are/were beautiful except next to the doors where our lab has made indentations in the floor from her nails…so exciting to go outside! We did put cork in the media room over the garage. It is wonderful! Great for noise reduction, insulating, insect prevention. And no claw marks nor any indentations from furniture legs- even the 4 drawer filing cabinet!

    We need to replace the carpet in the master bedroom downstairs. It receives lots of traffic as it is right off the screen porch. I like the feel of carpet in the bedroom but am wondering which type of carpet makes the most sense? Or should we go with the cork?

    • says

      I’ve never seen cork in person but I hear it’s FABULOUS!!! I was nervous about it denting from heavy furniture but if you have a filing cabinet on the cork it must be pretty sturdy stuff! How is the cleanup on cork flooring??

  7. says

    When I used to sell flooring, we pretty much ask the following questions:

    “House or condo?”
    If house, we push the client towards a hardwood, if condo, we push them towards an engineered solution.

    Then comes the question of “budget?”
    Between 1-2$ we recommend that they use a laminate floating floor
    2-3$ we recommend a domestic wood in a country grade. (or floating engineered/regular engineered)
    3-4$ we recommend the premium grade domestic woods
    5$+ we try and push an exotic Brazilian floor

    Hope this helps!

  8. says

    I would LOVE to get hardwood flooring. My entire house is carpeted, and I have so much vaccuming to do. Plus, my husband and I have severe allergies, so hardwood would be a help, I’d think. But, my spouse loves the carpet, nevertheless.

  9. Joe says

    We just put new solid hardwood floors down on the whole first floor of our townhouse for the sole purpose of resale. (We’re putting it on the market this weekend.). I was planning on using engineered hardwood because that’s what I put down in my old condo (because it was going down onto a concrete slab) and I remembered it as being a less expensive option. But I found a beautiful solid prefinished exotic wood floor for basically the same price, and I can now market the condo as having solid hardwood flooring. I personally don’t like the look of laminate flooring. I don’t like the idea of walking on a picture of a wood plank. I’m sure the technology will improve in the coming years, an they may be able to improve the appearance. PS – If you’re in the St Louis area, check out Boardwalk Hardwood Flooring in St Charles County, Crestwood and Manchester. Amanda at the St Charles location is a dream to work with. You can also rent equipment there and take classes on DIY installation. We had a professional install our floors, but I think with enough training and help, we could’ve done it ourselves.

  10. Joe says

    Yeah, the Boardwalk showroom has a bunch of options on display. I was able to take home whole planks of the floor I liked to see if I liked it in the house. I don’t know how many samples they have for the other species, though. (I chose the chestnut-stained kempas.)

  11. says

    I love hardwood! It’s so much more versatile than carpet (much easier to change an area rug to match new decor than to redo the whole floor!) Unfortunately I rent so I can’t do anything about my ugly carpet but if i was buying a house it would definitely be a huge plus if there was hardwood!

  12. Liz says

    I am thinking the same thing about our home, but we just bought it two years ago and when we toured the house the carpet looked perfect. However, after the previous owners moved out, we discovered there were spots and discolorations on the living room carpet. Now I’m trying to decide on what flooring would be best. I was wondering where you ordered those free samples. In my area, there are not a lot of options to look at flooring samples. I’d appreciate any help you could give me. Thanks.

    • says

      I ordered those samples from HardwoodBargains.com. They were 100% FREE (including shipping). I think I ordered about 25 different samples and they arrived in about 3 days. Good luck, Liz!

      • ScottyB says

        Did you ever decide on a wood flooring choice? I’ve been considering Hardwood Bargains…did you purchase flooring from them? If so, what was your experience with the company and with the flooring?

      • says

        We decided against the flooring for now since we’re putting our house on the market, but we have 2 neighbors that used Hardwood Bargains and LOVED them! In fact one girl moved and used them again in her new home. Affordable pricing and quick shipping.

  13. ScottyB says

    Thanks for the input about Hardwood Bargains. So far they have treated me well during the “Sample” phase. I’m putting down some new flooring in my home office and so far I’m leaning toward the 5″ Natural Hickory Engineered flooring, but I’m still in the research mode!

    ScottyB

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