|Pros and Cons|
There is nothing that looks quite as nice as a solid hardwood floor. Try as they might, laminate wood, vinyl, and other flooring materials don’t have the richness of real solid hardwoods. One reason is that, like nature, solid hardwoods don’t have repeating patterns in them. A specific grain pattern or tight knot won’t be mirrored just a few feet away. In addition, solid hardwoods are finished differently than other flooring materials so their depth and texture are unique with each board. Hardwood flooring also can be installed in decorative patterns that add to the floor’s richness.
So what are the downside issues to solid hardwood floors? First, their cost. They can cost twice or more of what a vinyl floor can cost for materials. Better hardwood flooring materials can run $10.00 or more per square foot.
Another disadvantage of solid hardwood is the installation process. Hardwood blocks take about twice as long to install as the same amount of carpet or vinyl sheet flooring. Add to this the time it takes to sand, stain, and seal unfinished hardwood and you can see why many do-it-yourselfers opt for easier, less expensive flooring.
In addition, hardwood floors are more easily dented and marked than vinyl or masonry flooring materials. That means a heavy object that’s dropped on a hardwood floor probably will leave its mark for the rest of the floor’s life. Even high-heal shoes can permanently mark up a hardwood floor. Heavy furniture can, too, requiring that special coasters be installed under furniture legs to minimize marking the floor.
Another advantage to solid hardwoods are their resale value. Because they are “the real thing” hardwood floors add more to the value of your home when selling than other types of flooring. Hardwood offers bragging rights. However, their value depends on placement as well as quality installation. Top-of-the-line hardwood may look out of place in some homes. And, if the installation didn’t go well, hardwood floors can be less attractive.