What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hardwood floors? You may think about the color and size of the hardwood planks. However, another critical factor that you’ll need to determine when choosing hardwood flooring for your home is the texture.
In 2021, some of the biggest trends in hardwood flooring textures are hand scraped and wire brushed textures. Both options give a more natural, rustic element to the floors. Textured flooring can also be more durable than smooth hardwood, which makes it a great option for families. There are some key differences, though, between the two. Below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each so you can make the most informed decision.
Hand Scraped Hardwood Flooring
Unlike a lot of hardwood flooring textures nowadays, hand-scraped hardwood flooring is, you guessed it, scraped by hand. This means that no two planks are the same and offer more variation in appearance. Because this style is done by hand, the scraping can range from more subtle scrapes to more dramatic, bigger scrapes. Hand scraping is great for those who want durability because they generally conceal wear and tear better. We recommend hand scraped hardwood flooring for high traffic areas – like kitchens, dining areas and family rooms.
Wire Brushed Hardwood Floors
Wire brushed hardwood flooring is similar to hand scraped hardwood flooring but is generally done by machine. This technique is done by using a wire brush to create long strokes in the wood that brings out the natural grain of the wood. While these two techniques are often mistaken for one another, wire brushed hardwood flooring usually looks more aged and distressed. We love the look of wire brushed texturing on oak hardwood floors in particular because it accentuates the oak’s already naturally occurring features. Like hand scraped, wire brushed hardwood floors will withstand the wear and tear of daily life, and is also a great option if you have children or pets.
Regardless of what you choose, textured flooring is a trend that is durable, functional and stylish. One final tip is to make sure that you’re always looking at hardwood floors in person. Sometimes textures can look different online, so you always want to double check you’re getting exactly what you want. For more tips on the most durable types of hardwoods, check out this blog post.
If you’re in the process of remodeling or building a house, you’ve likely asked yourself what flooring option will be best for you and your family. If you’ve decided against carpet, you likely now find yourself toying with the idea of laminate vs hardwood flooring. There’s a lot of information out there, so we’ve compiled a complete recap of both options so you can make the best decision for your home. Read on if you’d like to learn more.
Hardwood Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring – What’s the Difference?
First, we should discuss what each flooring option actually is. Hardwood floors are a product manufactured from timber that you install and use as flooring. Hardwood flooring comes in a variety of forms – from oak to maple or even hickory hardwoods. You can choose from softwoods or hardwoods and even various designs and thicknesses. Hardwood flooring is generally considered timeless and can last for hundreds of years if maintained properly.
On the other hand, laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic product blended together with a lamination process. It emulates the look of wood and is generally a more budget-friendly option. Laminate is also considered to be highly durable and scratch/stain resistant.
Photos courtesy of unsplash.com
Look and Feel
For the most part, traditional hardwood flooring is going to be more timeless and more attractive. Since laminate flooring is trying to imitate hardwood flooring, it’s hard to beat the real deal. From a distance, most laminate flooring (when installed correctly) can look like real hardwoods, but up close you can generally tell the difference in quality.
Without a doubt, if you’re choosing solely based on appearance, hardwoods are the way to go. However, we know that appearance isn’t the only factor when choosing flooring. Things like durability and cost are also big factors.
Durability – Which Stands the Test of Time?
Have you ever seen a home renovation show where the owners pull up the carpet to reveal beautiful, old hardwood flooring? Most of the time these hardwood floors are very old. When cared for, hardwood flooring can last many lifetimes. The instances where hardwoods get ruined are usually under extreme amounts of distress from events like flooding. For upkeep, we recommend recoating and refinishing periodically, which will ensure your flooring lasts for years to come.
Laminate flooring is also a great option if you’re looking for durability, but in general, it’s not as durable as hardwoods. Laminate flooring is usually good for up to 10 years, but beyond that, you may start to see more wear and tear. Also worth noting is that laminate usually doesn’t do well under extreme pressure – If you drop a heavy enough object laminate has been known to dent.
In terms of maintenance, both options are relatively the same. Both can easily be swept with a broom or cleaned with a mop. In general, most hardwoods these days are sealed with polyurethane varnish which shouldn’t be polished or waxed. Similarly, laminate flooring does not need to be waxed.
Cost and Installation
If you’re looking for easy installation, laminate flooring is the way to go. While hardwoods are usually installed by professionals and take a certain skill set, laminate flooring is much easier to install by yourself. Hardwoods require a lot of sanding and finishing, but laminates simply click together at the edges and don’t need fasteners and glue. Another point to note is that most hardwood flooring companies, like Macdonald Hardwoods, only sell pre-finished hardwoods. The majority of the time, the sanding is done at the mill.
Additionally, if cost is a major factor in your flooring decision, laminate flooring is generally much cheaper than hardwood floors. The average hardwood flooring cost is between $4 to $12 per square foot, with an average cost of about $8 per square foot. This of course depends on the type of hardwood – oak, maple, bamboo and others will all have different costs associated. On the other hand, laminate ranges from around $1 to $3 per square foot.
If you’re on a budget, there’s nothing wrong with laminate flooring. It can give you the same look as traditional hardwoods but for a fraction of the price. However, if you want to invest in your home, nothing beats hardwood floors. The timeless flooring option can last lifetimes if maintained properly and instantly adds value and style to your home. For more tips on choosing hardwood flooring options, check out this blog post.
When you think of a timeless home, chances are the image in your head will have hardwood floors. Hardwoods have long been favored for their appearance and ability to stand the test of time. Like most of us, sometimes we take for granted aspects of home design that seem to have been around forever. But it wasn’t until the 17th century that hardwood flooring started to gain popularity. If you’ve ever wondered how and why hardwood flooring came to be, let us walk you through the history of hardwood flooring.
The Early Years
The history of hardwood flooring dates back to the early 1600’s French Baroque area. At the time, only wealthy people and French nobility would have adapted this style due to cost and timeliness of the installation. Hardwood flooring was made by hand, where each plank would be scraped, sanded and polished. Examples of this type of early flooring can be seen at Versailles in the traditional Parquet style that is still popular today.
Image courtesy of unsplash.com
Hardwood Flooring in America
Most of the hardwood flooring we imagine today – polished and uniform – weren’t common until the 19th century. In fact, most flooring in early colonial America was made from wide, thick planks that were likely cut from nearby forests with whatever material they could find. Unlike today where you can choose from flooring like bamboo, hickory, oak and more, these people were working with what was right outside their door.
The process for cutting timber into lumber was also extremely lengthy and difficult. A pit saw was most commonly used to do the cutting and required at least two men to get the job done. Because the process was so manual and strenuous, the planks of wood were often different widths and sizes, resulting in uneven flooring or flooring with gaps in it. It was common to lose smaller items like marbles under the gaps in the floors.
As time went on, a new method for laying flooring was created that allowed for a much more uniform look. The long edge of a plank of wood was planed with an “L” profile, allowing it to lock in with adjacent boards. So, when wood inevitability changed shape and size due to weather, gaps could be covered up by the end of the other, adjacent board.
Early Hardwood Flooring Design Trends
Like so many aspects of design, popular hardwood flooring styles have changed drastically over the years. In the 18th century, many people began to paint their flooring as they would their walls and ceilings (staining and varnish wouldn’t become popular until the late 19th century). These decoratively painted wood floors ranged from monochrome to fanciful designs such as diamond or checkerboard patterns, making for a memorable timestamp in the history of hardwood flooring. Because of the low quality of the wood in most of the homes during this time, painting was a relatively easy and inexpensive way to upgrade the look of your home. If you were part of the wealthy elite, however, you might have been able to invest in parquet flooring, similar to the Versailles style mentioned earlier.
This historic faux marble treatment is quite formal.
Photo: Geoffrey Gross, courtesy of Rizzoli
Colors in a hand-painted floor were cued by the original jadeite-green glass wall tiles.
Photo: Leslie Tomlin
For a compass rose, paint reproduces the look of inlaid wood species.
Photo: Sandy Agrafiotis
The Industrial Revolution
Along with many other inventions, the Industrial Revolution also brought a more efficient and expedited process to the hardwood flooring world. With new, steam-driven machinery, the production time of flooring decreased significantly. Additionally, flooring became much more uniform and began to look like the polished flooring we think of thinking of today.
Around this time, the most popular way to install flooring was known as the “Tongue and Groove” flooring method. Tongue and groove flooring fits together like a puzzle piece, where one part of the flooring is fitted with a protruding “tongue” that fits into a concave “groove.” The most common type of hardwood around this time was narrow, oak floors – much different from the types of flooring we saw in earlier years.
Photo: Superior Flooring
Hardwood Flooring Today
Besides a decline in popularity around World War II when wall to wall carpeting was more common, hardwood flooring has remained a classic and favorite type of flooring for most homeowners. After many different phases of hardwood flooring, the polished hardwood flooring we know today finally appeared in the late 19th century.
Today, hardwood flooring goes through a much more detailed manufacturing process than in the past, creating an appealing and durable product. Whereas hardwood flooring might have only been in certain rooms of the house in the past, today, it’s much more common to see hardwood floors through the entirety of homes. Whether you’re renovating a home and trying to find your style or simply thinking about hardwoods in general, there’s a myriad of options to choose from. If you’re on the fence, remember that hardwood flooring has stood the test of time for centuries and we don’t anticipate it going away any time soon.
Every home is different, but most will agree that any type of flooring plays a huge role in the look and function of a house. While you may not pay much attention to it at first, you definitely notice when the flooring is bad. You might not think twice about bamboo hardwood flooring or oak hardwood flooring, but you’d definitely notice shag carpeting circa the 1980s or laminate and vinyl flooring like you had in college.
If you’re considering hardwood floors and wondering whether they’ll be a good investment for your home, we’ve outlined the research and included a few best practices to make sure you’re making the best decision for you and your family.
Are Hardwood Floors Worth the Money?
Because your return on investment depends so much upon the size of your home, your location and the type of flooring you choose, there isn’t a ton of data on the correlation between home value and flooring. In fact, it’s almost impossible to calculate an exact number. However, most research finds that overall, hardwood flooring will increase your home value. While in some places, hardwoods are still considered a “nice to have” for prospective buyers, in a lot of places, hardwood floors have become essential.
Realtor.com reports that the average ROI for installing hardwood floors can range anywhere from 70-80%, depending on location and flooring layout. Money.com also reports that hardwood floors can increase your home value by 3-5%.
Again, while these numbers may vary from house to house, it’s safe to say that hardwood floors will never decrease the value of your home, while carpeting could.
Why Are Hardwoods So Great, Anyway?
We know that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your home, but what if you’re not looking to sell your home any time soon? One of the benefits of hardwoods and what makes them so appealing to buyers goes far beyond aesthetics.
Yes, in our opinion hardwood floors are timeless and never go out of style. But perhaps the best feature of hardwoods is their durability. Hardwood floors are built to stand the test of time and that is why they remain the king of flooring. If you’re curious about the range of durability in hardwoods, check out our guide here.
Not only are hardwoods durable, but they’re also much easier to clean than carpets. If you have toddlers or pets, you know just how hard removing a stain from carpeting can be.
While hardwood flooring costs may be more upfront, it’s safe to say that the overall investment of hardwood flooring is worth it. Whether you’re hoping to sell your home down the line and know that buyers are expecting hardwood floors or looking to put roots down in your home and know hardwoods are more functional, hardwood floors beat the rest every time.
Hardwood floors are an interior design trend that has stood the test of time. Hardwood flooring dates back to the early 1600s and since then, has remained buyers’ preferred flooring when choosing a home. From its ability to increase your home value and stand up against the wear and tear of life, hardwood flooring has remained a classic.
Even so, trends within the hardwood flooring world have shifted over the years. As we approach a new year, we’re exploring what the biggest trends of 2020 were, what’s going out of style, and what we expect to stay.
Light Hardwood Flooring Trend
For many years, light flooring was seen as cheap and outdated. Not so in 2020, where we saw many homeowners embracing the brighter, airy nature of these lighter hardwood floors. Many describe these lighter tones as opening up their home more and even making many spaces feel larger.
First, we see the blond floor trend that gives homes a more contemporary feel. Most blond floors are made from bamboo, ash, maple, white oak and even red oak. While you may associate a sleeker look with a darker, matte wood, blonde floors prove that you can get that modern look from lighter hardwood as well.
Other trends in the lighter hardwood category were whitewashed and honey-wood floors. Whitewashed hardwood reminds us of a beachy, Southern California home while honey-colored floors feel cozier. While whitewashed wood shows more wear and tear, honey-finished floors are a timeless classic that’s going to be around for many years to come.
Lastly, one of the most popular light-washed hardwood flooring trends of 2020 was Scandinavian style floors. If you scoured Pinterest or Instagram this past year, you probably encountered these types of floors. Scandinavian floors generally have a wider plank and white finish, while still maintaining a natural feel. In general, Scandinavian interior design style is minimalist with natural elements mixed in – think whitewashed walls or brick. While not for everyone, it definitely had its moment this year.
In 2020, we saw textured flooring jump into the mix. Textured flooring is best described as when no two planks look the same. The most common textured flooring trends are hand scraped, wire brushed and distressed wood, which are often mistaken for one another.
Hand-scraped hardwood features long defined scrapes in the finish and can often make the wood look scuffed (in a good way). Handscraped hardwood allows for a lot of variation between the different planks and give floors more of a rustic and handcrafted look.
On the other hand, wire brushed hardwood looks a bit more subtle with smaller, intentional scratches. This can often result in the wood looking more distressed but still more uniform than others.
Lastly, distressed hardwood is usually mistaken for hand scraped hardwood. Both look weathered, but distressed hardwood generally more so. Think knots, scrapes and even burns. If you’re looking for a more aged and antique look, distressed hardwood is the way to go. Be careful when choosing distressed hardwood, however, because oftentimes this type of wood is done by a machine and ends up looking unnatural. The best way to get distressed hardwood is, you guessed it, let it happen naturally. If you don’t have the time, make sure you pick a flooring company that knows their stuff.
Herringbone and Other Pattern Trends
Not only is choosing the right type of hardwood important for your home but choosing the correct pattern is also a huge factor. 2020 saw an increase in herringbone patterns across many new builds and renovations. Homeowners were likely inspired by the influx of herringbone floors popping up over social media, which is why the trend was popular among younger people. Herringbone patterns tend to be pretty subjective, and we don’t expect the trend to last forever.
A few other popular patterns that popped up in 2020 included diagonal floors and mixed width flooring, both of which we don’t anticipate lasting long. Homeowners will likely be pretty divided on these trends, making the resale value questionable.
However, the last trend we can get behind is wide-planked hardwood flooring. Instead of traditional, thinner hardwood floor planks, homeowners really gravitated to wide-planked hardwood flooring in 2020. This trend tends to make the room look larger. Not only is this trend popular now, but we anticipate it’ll be popular for many years to come. These days, thin planks are often seen as outdated.
Remember, all of these trends are subjective. If you see a hardwood floor you really love, we encourage you to follow your gut! At the end of the day, you’re the one who will be living on the floors for years. As long as the hardwoods come from a reputable hardwood distributor (like us!) and you love them, then more power to you.