Hardwood Flooring

A Quick Guide to Flooring Terms – New and Improved!

When you are ready to invest in new hardwood flooring, the installers will use terms you may not understand.  However, you don’t have to feel lost because MacDonald Hardwoods is happy to provide you with the education you need. When you know what the terms are, you will have the information you need to make smart decisions about your flooring. Use the following guide to help you learn more about the flooring process.

Commonly Used Hardwood Flooring Vocabulary

1. Subfloor

This is the structural layer that will support your hardwood floors.  On ground floors, it may be concrete or plywood; upstairs, it will usually be wood.  The nature of your subfloor will help you determine what kind of underlayment you may need.

2. Joists

These are parallel beams that provide support for the floor or carry ceiling loads. When installing a hardwood floor, it is best to go perpendicular to the joists for a consistent look and to strengthen the floor.

3. Underlayment

A layer of material between the subfloor and your hardwood.  Depending on your subfloor and other factors, it may serve as a vapor barrier, padding, sound barrier, and insulation. Underlayment is comprised of foam, felt, cork, plastic sheathing or other synthetic materials.

4. Engineered

Engineered hardwood floors are multiple layers (plies) of solid wood assembled in a cross-ply construction, the top layer of which is the species and color you see after installation.  Engineered hardwood tends to be less prone to noticeable expansion than solid wood, so it is sometimes preferable over below-grade and or concrete subfloors, which typically seep moisture.  If you’re interested, learn more about engineered flooring.

5. Solid Wood

Boards manufactured from a single, solid piece of wood, as opposed to engineered wood.

6. Sapwood and Heartwood

Some tree species have different grain colors. Sapwood is in the outer rings of the tree and is usually a lighter color. Heartwood, found in the centermost rings of the tree, is often a darker color than the sapwood.

7. Locking/ Floating

Flooring designed with a tongue-and-groove profile that allows for easy installation by locking edges into place. No glue is required; instead, floors “float” atop your subfloor.

8. Base Shoe

When a Denver flooring company installs new flooring, they have to leave an expansion gap between the wood and the walls. This difference is usually ¼- to ½-inch in width and must be covered by the baseboard. The regular baseboard trim is not thick enough to adequately cover this gap, but shoe molding will make up the difference.

9. Shoe Molding

A rounded frame with a flat back and bottom that sits flush against the baseboard and extends over the base shoe gap.

10. Beveled Edge

Also known as an eased edge, many prefinished hardwood floors feature this type of finish. Rather than straight edges with 90-degree angles, the edges are gently beveled using 45-degree angles. The beveling makes it easier to match up the sides of finished planks for a smooth finish.

11. Relative Humidity (RH)

The amount of moisture in the air compared to the amount of moisture necessary to saturate the air.  Maintaining the proper RH in your home is essential to avoid crowning and cupping and excessive gapping.  An RH between 35% and 45% is best for both your health and your floors.

12. Crowning/ Cupping

Warping in floorboards caused by excessive moisture.

13. Gapping

Spaces that appear between boards in drier weather.  Some gapping is to be expected, especially in winter.  However, excessive gapping can result if moisture levels in a home are allowed to fall too far.

14. Janka rating

The Janka scale is used to describe the hardness of a particular species or subspecies of wood.  The Janka rating is a measure of the amount of force it takes to drive a .444 inch steel ball into a plank of wood to half the ball’s diameter.   For more information on the Janka scale, check out our post on the subject.

15. Pinworm hole

Small insects can drill through solid wood and leave a little round hole. These holes are pretty standard on hardwood floors, but not everyone appreciates the appearance of pin wormholes. If you don’t want these holes to be visible in the finished product, you will have to make sure every board is inspected to be sure it is free of the small holes.

Final Thoughts

MacDonald Hardwoods is an experienced flooring company in Denver. We offer an incredible range of wood flooring options, and we will work with you to find the style and color that’s perfect for your home. Call us today at 800-639-3006 to learn more about our services and to make an appointment for your free estimate.

Eco-Friendly Flooring Home Decor

Cork Flooring – It’s What’s Happening

cork flooringIf you’ve been thinking about installing hardwood floors in your home, you may want to consider the benefits of cork tile or planks before making your final decision.  Cork can create the warm, welcoming feeling often sought from hardwood, but with some added bonuses that might surprise you.  Comparable to hardwood in cost and maintenance, cork is quickly becoming the material of choice in modern homes.

Cork is highly renewable  The material for cork is harvested from the long-lived cork oak, a variation of oak native to the Mediterranean region (exotic, right?).  It is essentially bark peeled from mature trees every 8-12 years or so.  The harvesting process does no real damage to the tree, which simply regrows its bark between harvests, eliminating the need to cut down and regrow trees except for every, say 250 years or so.  Even more eco-happy, much of the material for cork flooring is reclaimed from the manufacture of things like wine corks and other cork products, so it already has one “reuse” cycle before it even gets to your home.

Cork is good for your health  Cork has a couple of benefits to your well-being.  You have probably squeezed a wine cork or pushed a pin into a bulletin board before.  Imagine how a material with that kind of give might feel under your feet and how much easier that might be on your back and legs, especially if you are one to, for example, work in the kitchen or at a standing desk for hours at a time.  While cork flooring is much denser than a wine cork and is sealed with a polyurethane sealant that makes it much less squishy than a bulletin board (and much more durable), its unique cellular structure gives it significantly more shock-absorbing power than most other flooring materials, especially those traditionally used in the kitchen.

Cork is good for your dishes  The same shock-absorbing power that can save your back from undue strain can also save things like glasses, vases, and children from injury when they fall from high places.

Cork is an excellent insulator  This applies to both heat and sound.  In fact, it is so good at keeping in heat and keeping out sound that it is often used as an underlayment other flooring materials for this very purpose.

Cork is versatile  Like other tile (see what we did there?), cork can be used to create a wide variety of looks for practically any room in the house.  From natural cork planks (used in such classy joints as homes designed by the much admired Frank Lloyd Wright) to brightly died cork tiles, it is not hard to find a cork to fit the room.  In fact, the variety may make it hard to choose.  Fortunately, you can mix and match as you please.

Cork is made partially of magic  OK, so not magic exactly, but a substance called Suberin that creates a natural resistance to molds, bacteria, and insects and, get this, acts as a fire inhibitor.  When you think about it, this only makes sense, given that the purpose of the bark on the tree to protect it from these very things.  Still, it’s pretty neat.

Cork floors are very forgiving  While we do not recommend being careless with your cork floor, its natural variation in tone and texture tends to hide minor bumps and bruises and its resilient texture allows it to self-heal to some degree.

So who wouldn’t want a healthful, magic, self-healing floor, you ask?  Well, while cork does have a lot of positive attributes, it also has some characteristics that need to be considered before laying it throughout your home.

Cork requires some maintenance  As we mentioned before, cork requires similar maintenance to hardwood – it needs to be swept or dry mopped regularly to remove harmful abrasives; it needs to be kept dry so that it does not absorb liquids, which will stain it; and it should only be cleaned with specific products designed to keep it looking its best.  Cork also tends to require more frequent refinishing than hardwood, even when properly cared for.  This typically means having it re-sealed with a few coats of protective polyurethane every few years.  Alternatively, it can be sealed with wax, which is more resistant to scratching but must be stripped and reapplied more often.

Cork is not especially pet-friendly  Because of its texture, cork can be more easily gouged by a pet’s toenails, damage that is beyond the cork’s power to self-heal and is not always easy to repair.

Cork is best installed by a professional  While it is possible to install certain forms of cork flooring on your own, the vital importance of sealing it properly really recommends that it be done by a professional with experience laying this type of flooring.

Cork needs to be protected from heavy objects  The same cellular structure that makes cork so friendly to your feet also leaves it subject to indentations and gouges from heavy objects.  It is important, then, that furniture never be dragged across a cork floor (though this also applies to hardwood) and that coasters be used under the legs of heavier items to better distribute their weight.

Cork is subject to discoloration in direct light  Cork has a greater tendency to fade in sunlight than hardwood, so it may not be the best choice in rooms that receive a great deal of direct natural light.

Cork is sensitive to moisture  Like hardwood, cork will respond to changing humidity levels in your home.  However, because cork expands in every direction rather than only in the direction of a grain, like hardwood, expansion and contraction is usually less noticeable.

Cork is not for everyone  Though cork comes in wide variety of textures and colors, some people simply do not care for the look.  But, if the idea of cork appeals to you, it is worth talking to our experts.  They can help you hone in on the styles of cork that might best suit your needs, both practical and aesthetic, so that you can make an informed decision about whether cork flooring is right for your home.

Hardwood Flooring

Is There a Heaven for Hardwood Floors? Part 2

Once you’ve read “Is There a Heaven for Hardwood Floors?: Part 1,” it is time for Part 2: Now that I’ve taken out my floor, what do I do with all this wood?

So, you or someone you’ve paid have now removed that old floor from your house to make room for the shining (or matte or hand-scraped) new floor of your dreams. But what to do with all the wood that’s just come out? If it seems like an unforgivable waste to just chuck it out with the trash, that’s because it is. One punishable by focused disdain from tree-huggers, wood-lovers, creative types, and just plain practical people the world over.

Hardwood Flooring Salvage Options

Removal contractors:

If you’ve hired someone to take out your floors, it’s likely you’ve already talked to them about salvaging the wood for re-use as flooring. You may have even been able to arrange for the cost of removal to be lowered in exchange for the reusable material. Salvaging is definitely the most lucrative of the options for hardwood disposal, but it also requires the most care in removal.

If you took out the floor yourself, first off, kudos to you for a difficult job completed. If you think you have done a careful enough removal job to resell the wood as flooring, and if it is in good enough condition, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a home for it. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect—it will be refinished before it becomes a floor again—but it does need to have most of its tongues and grooves and have enough life left in it for at least one more (two or three is better) sanding and refinishing.

Do-it-yourself salvagers:

Exchanges like Craigslist and local remodeling or home improvement forums can be good places to find do-it-yourselfers in search of salvageable hardwood. They will want to take a look at the wood beforehand, of course, and they may not want all of it, depending on the condition.

Remember that, even once they acquire your wood, they are going to have to refinish and install it, and they may find that some of what you both thought would be usable won’t be. Consequently, you shouldn’t expect to resell the wood at more than a fraction of what you would pay for salvaged wood at a store, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your old floor is going to a caring home.

Professional salvagers:

On this note, if your wood is in good condition (i.e. if you took it out only because you wanted something different) you may want to call around to local flooring contractors or stores that specialize in salvaged wood flooring. Like do-it-yourself salvagers, they may not want all of it, but they are more likely to be able to use questionable pieces and they will likely come and collect the wood from your home, saving you on transportation hassle.

Donate: If your floor is healthy enough for a second life as a floor, consider donating it to an organization like Habitat for Humanity. They often have professional volunteers who can help them turn your old floor into a beautiful new one for a family that will be grateful to have it.

Hardwood Flooring Repurpose Options

Some hardwood floors have undergone resanding and refinishing too many times to ever be used as flooring again. This may well be why you chose to take it out. Likewise, if you took the flooring out yourself, you may have been able to save good-sized lengths of wood, but not the more delicate tongues and grooves that make it usable as flooring. All is not lost.

Take a look at your property. Maybe you’ve been thinking of making a dog run or an area for a garden. Wood that may be too worn for flooring is often just right fencing. Which additional woodworking projects have you been considering? A doghouse, maybe, or a playhouse? A raised workbench? Even if you don’t have any projects like this, check with your neighbors and friends, or even your local school’s woodshop. Someone is bound to have a project that needs some good-sized lengths of wood, and they will probably be grateful to have floor quality wood, even if it is a little bruised and beaten.

*If you are going to keep your wood around to use in future projects, be sure to store it somewhere off the ground to keep it free of termites and other varmints.

Be Creative

These days, “upcycling” is all the rage. If you don’t know what that is, type it into your search bar and be prepared for a deluge of creative, chic, and easy-to-pull-off ways to use everything from bottle caps to crayons – everything including old wood floors. Check out sites like Pinterest for ideas on how to “upcycle” or “repurpose” old hardwood floors. You might be surprised at the cool stuff you can do (we saw, among other things, an accent wall, a bar top, a treehouse, and innumerable planters, toy boxes, and shelves).

Final Resorts

As professional organizer, Sally Morgan says: Items that don’t have “significant value“, or aren’t expected to get a realistic return, shouldn’t try to be sold. Hardwoods flooring is no exception.

If your wood is absolutely destroyed (moldy, rotted, splintered into pieces), you may have no choice but to discard it. Even in this, though, you have some choices. There is rarely any reason that you should have to throw old wood in a dumpster (but if you do, there are plenty of dumpster rental options in Denver).

Don’t use it as firewood: Unfortunately, since most hardwood floors have been treated with some sort of solution that may become toxic when burnt, firewood is not the best option for this otherwise prime fireplace candidate. Likewise, if it is full of molds or fungus, these are not things you want to release into air that anyone will be breathing. For the same reasons, this wood is not usually going to be very good for chipping into mulch. We recommend these options instead:

  • If it’s not against neighborhood codes, try putting out front of your house (or on Craigslist or Freecycle) for a couple of days with a sign that says “free”. You might be surprised at how quickly it disappears.
  • Most places have somewhere within a reasonable drive where you can recycle old wood. Some cities may even include this as part of the garbage collection service, though you may have to call and request a special pick-up. However, there may be regulations about wood treated in certain ways.
  • If there is a wood pellet manufacturer in your area, you may be able to donate the old wood to be treated and made safe for use in wood pellet stoves.
  • Ask around. See what local contractors and flooring suppliers are doing with old, unusable hardwood. You may find a taker among them, but at the very least, you should be able to get some good advice about the best way to reuse, recycle, or otherwise dispose of the old wood in, yeah, your neck of the woods.
Hardwood Flooring

Is There a Heaven for Hardwood Floors?: Part 1

So you’ve read our post Refinish or Replace? Determining the Fate of Your Hardwood Floors, and you’ve decided that replacing a few boards or refinishing the floor just won’t cut it. Maybe it’s just too damaged to salvage; maybe you’ve got structural problems you have to address anyway; or maybe you just saw that Brazilian Cherry over at your neighbor’s house and have abandoned all sense of loyalty to your vintage pine. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided those old floors just have to come out. So what now?

Part One: To DIY or not to DIY?

To answer this question, there are a few others you should ask yourself:

1. What are your goals? Are you hoping to save money or are you seeking the satisfaction of a hard job well done? Removing your old floors yourself will probably save you some money, providing you are able to do it without damaging your subfloor. To have it professionally removed will likely cost between $2 and $4 per square foot, depending on whether it is part of an installation or just a removal (it may cost less attached to an installation, but you need to discuss this with your contractor/installer).

However, DIY removal will also require extra time off work and a certain amount of equipment, not to mention a full body massage to help you recover afterwards.

2. How much time/ energy do you have to spend? While finding advice on the internet about installing hardwood floor is about as easy as finding a local pizza place, you’ll be harder pressed to find much about removing hardwood flooring (some helpful hints can be found here and here). This is because removing a hardwood floor is a time- and labor-intensive project that most people prefer to leave it to professionals. For every 100 square feet of flooring, you should budget about 5-7 hours, depending on the factors in 3-6. This is assuming you don’t run into major problems like subfloor damage or equipment malfunction.

The process of pulling up boards also requires a decent amount of strength, which is going to have to hold out for hours at a time if you are going to finish before the turn of the century. You may also need to learn to use certain tools, like a circular saw and a pry bar and mallet combo. That said, it can be pretty satisfying to look at a clear floor and a stack of wood after a few days (very) hard work.

3. How is your old floor laid down? For obvious reasons, a floating floor is going to be much easier to remove than a floor that has been nailed down, which will be easier to remove than a floor that has been glued to a concrete subfloor. With each degree of difficulty, the advisability of removing the floor yourself (as well as your chances of salvaging the floor – see below) decreases significantly.

4. What is the area of the space you are needing to clear? The more rooms you have to de-floor, the more you will probably want to consider hiring someone with the equipment and experience to make quicker work of it. These folks do this every day. Unless you do manual labor in your profession, you are likely to get tired, and consequently slower and slower, as a big job drags on.

5. What is your level of experience? As we mentioned, you will need to be handy with a pry bar and mallet, nail claw, and possibly a circular saw to carry this project off. If you are asking as you read this what any of these things are, DIY may not be the path for you in this instance. Improper use of any of these tools could result in serious and expensive damage to your subfloor, not to mention yourself.

6. What are you planning to do with the wood when you’re done? We’ve mentioned salvaging the wood from your hardwood floors several times now. We’ll say more about that in Part Two, but for now, consider this: If you are hoping to resell the wood as flooring, you will need to take much greater care not to damage the planks, including their more delicate tongues and grooves, as you pry them from the floor, and you will probably want to try to keep them as unbroken and uncut as possible, making for a much more painstaking and difficult process. If, however, you are going to recycle or repurpose the wood, you may be able to cut it into smaller, easier to remove pieces.

For ideas about what to do with your wood once it’s been removed, check out “Is There a Heaven for Hardwood Floors?: Part 2.”

Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor

How to Prepare your Hardwood Floors for Gatherings

As we look forward to hosting gatherings throughout the year, it is important to consider how extra foot traffic may affect your hardwood floor. Although there are several ways that your floor may be damaged, there are an equal number of preventative measures that can help you keep your mind on the party. Let’s walk through some of the ways you can protect your floors during parties.

Slipper Gallery

If you find that some guests hesitate to remove their shoes in your home, you might try making it part of your party theme. By providing a shoe rack full of new slippers of many different styles and colors, your guests will embrace the practice and enjoy the gesture. You might even offer the slippers as gifts as a memento of your party.


Investing in a few runners to place in high traffic areas will considerably decrease scuffs and scratches. These can be easily rolled up and stowed away or they can be used year-round to accent your home décor. Large area rugs can also add color and design and brighten up a room while protecting your hardwood flooring.


For rainy days when the kids leave umbrellas on the floor or snowy days when people or pets track slush into the house, it is helpful to have heavy rugs and towels at your entryways. Removing your shoes on a rug will prevent excess moisture from damaging your floors. If any type of moisture is left on the floors, it may cause dark stains. Some substances, such as rock salt, can ruin the finish itself.


Although it may seem like a good idea to wax your floor before a gathering, it will actually make it more slippery and increase the likelihood that drinks or food may be spilled. A dry mop should be sufficient to keep your floors free of debris. In case an accident should occur, be sure to leave tissues or napkins on around to make it easier to wipe up any spills immediately.


Take time to enjoy yourself at your gatherings. When you prepare in advance, you can trust that your hardwood floors will survive. Your friends at MacDonald Hardwoods are happy to recommend cleaning products and supplies or offer advice about repairing or replacing your floor. For the best prefinished hardwood floors in the Greater Denver area, visit MacDonald Hardwoods.

Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

Water and Hardwood Flooring

Where does wood come from? Trees of course. What do trees need to grow? Sunlight, water and soil. If any of these elements is absent, the tree will not survive. If water is so critical to the survival of a tree, why should it be avoided with hardwood flooring?

Well, let’s think about the cycles an oak tree goes through. Every year, new growth pops out in the spring; it continues to grow throughout the summer; its leaves change color and fall in autumn (due to declining sunlight), and then it becomes dormant during the winter.

In each of these stages, the needs of the tree are a little bit different. When it is growing, it needs more nutrients than when it is dormant. Like any living thing, its needs change gradually over time.

One reason we like to use wood in our homes is because it creates a feeling of natural warmth. Although the material is no longer living, it does continue to respond to changes in temperature and humidity. When wood swells, our doors become harder to open and close and the spaces between planks of flooring are reduced. When wood contracts, the spaces between the planks become more pronounced. The degree to which the wood swells or contracts depends on the local climate and the type of wood.

How does this relate to the rooms in our home? We want to avoid using wood flooring in rooms where significant changes in temperature and humidity occur. Although we are constantly using water in the kitchen – increasing the chance that the floor will become wet – it is not risky to install a wood floor in the kitchen. If there is a spill in the kitchen it will likely be cleaned up quickly. We are most attentive to the use of water in the kitchen then we are in other rooms where plumbing is present.

If we do not usually spill water in the laundry room, why is it strongly discouraged to use wood flooring there? The laundry room is a small enclosed space and the level of humidity fluctuates with each load. For example, the average family may clean 5 loads of laundry in a week. At least one of those loads will be washed in hot water and probably several will be washed in warm water. The steam from the hot water will greatly increase the humidity in the room and the effects of the warm water will be amplified because it is an enclosed space.

Bathrooms are the most common rooms that wood floor enthusiasts may risk using wood flooring, even if they understand the risks. If the bathroom is a half-bath, meaning it does not have a shower or tub, a wood floor would not be at risk. If however, there is a tub or shower, wood flooring should be avoided. The reason is that it is possible that the tub could overflow onto the floor at some point and the steam from the shower or tub would greatly impact the humidity in this small enclosed space. Taking household size into account when planning your space is an important step to determining what kind of flooring is best.

What happens if wood flooring becomes completely saturated? It depends on how much water is spilled and how long it is left untreated. The local climate and type of wood are also factors, but to a lesser extent.  The worst case would be that the wood would bow, split and crack because of the sudden change in humidity. It also may cause a stain without harming the integrity of the wood. If it were to split, that portion of the flooring would need to be replaced. Depending on how recently it was installed, it may be difficult or impossible to match. If it were stained, it may require refinishing or replacing the entire floor.

With the investment of time and effort that goes into installing hardwood flooring, it makes sense to avoid using it in rooms that are small enclosed spaces where the temperature and humidity changes rapidly and often. For more inside information about hardwood flooring, contact our customer service staff at MacDonald Hardwoods at 303.625.9780.

Hardwood Flooring

Which Wood Flooring is Best for Me?

If you are considering hardwood floors for your home, the first question you need to decide upon the overall look you want to create. Will your floor be the focal point of the room or will it provide an elegant backdrop for decorative rugs and artwork? Will the overall theme be traditional, contemporary, or rustic? Let’s take a few moments to explore the possibilities that wood flooring provides.

Before the 1950’s, homeowners installing wood flooring only had a few choices of wood and finish. This traditional look created one consistent color and texture; this is an appearance that provides an attractive background for decorative accessories and furniture.

We now have many other options available. There are colored whitewash finishes, rustic distressed woods, woods with naturally alternating tones producing a striped appearance, natural looks from blonde to ebony finishes, textured woods, and multiple levels of sheen. The possibilities seem endless.

When you come to us, our team will walk you through the selection process. You don’t need to figure out which option will work all on your own. Speaking from many years of experience, we will answer your questions and help you decide which type of flooring will best fit your needs. Our only goal is your complete satisfaction.

Because we live in Colorado, we need to choose types of wood that will tolerate the extreme dryness of our climate and altitude. There are some woods, such as bamboo and acacia that are very susceptible to shrinkage and often crack and split in this environment. We strongly recommend against using these woods here.

For nearly 20 years we’ve been the sole local distributor of Rocky Mountain Dry, a natural red oak that is precision milled and dried in White Lake, Wisconsin. The water content in this wood is reduced to the bare minimum, 4.5%. This process prepares it for the local climate and makes any seasonal shrinking or swelling almost undetectable. It is hands-down the best wood flooring for Colorado. Rocky Mountain Dry is available in four traditional finishes: Blanca (clear coat, light color), Cimarron (golden), Paonia (gunstock), and Russet (dark red-toned brown). It comes 3/4” thick at widths of 2-1/4” and 3-1/4”.

If you are looking for a less traditional look, the Tigerwood has been very popular lately. It has a boldly striped appearance that would be more likely to hide incidental scratches from shoes or pets. Brazilian Cherry offers a distinctive red tone, for homeowners who are looking for their wood floor to add color to the room. You may also want to consider engineered flooring, which consists of a layer of solid hardwood with layers of backing that alternate in direction, adding to the overall strength and stability of the wood.

If you would like to install your hardwood floor yourself, MacDonald Hardwood is here to teach you how. In addition to our instructional DVD “You Can Do It,” we provide our customers with instructional classes and unlimited follow-up support. The exact time it will take to install a prefinished floor depends on the size of the room and the skill of the installer but most people can install 200-300 sq ft each day.

If you would like to see the possibilities that exist, stop by MacDonald Hardwoods. Once we’ve helped you narrow down your coices, we’ll give you a few samples to take home. Seeing the prefinished wood samples in the lighting and décor of your home can be very helpful when trying to decide which way to go. You can also check out some of the choices professional designers are making in our 2015 customer preference survey.

A hardwood floor is a great investment, and it is an element that will last longer than any other improvement you could make. Let us help you make the best hardwood flooring decision for your home.

Hardwood Flooring

Considering Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood Flooring Survey Headline

When you are looking for ways to enhance the look and feel of your home, hardwood flooring is one of the best investments you can make. Its popularity has never waned. In a recent survey of designers from across the country, nearly 85% indicated that, when a change of flooring is called for, they prefer to make the change to hardwood.  Like a good friend, hardwood stays with you throughout every stage of life. Its look can be changed to match the latest design trends and each room can be transformed overnight with the addition of a new rug, furniture, and accessories. You can’t help but feel warmth and comfort surrounded by this source of natural beauty.

Compared to carpet, hardwood flooring has many advantages. Although the initial cost of hardwood floor installation may be more than standard carpet, it will not have to be replaced every 10-15 years. If the carpet color and style is used as a design element of the décor, it could be replaced even sooner. Anyone with children or pets knows that carpeting can be easily stained or damaged by normal family activity. Allergy sufferers are strongly advised to avoid having carpet in their homes because it is a wonderland for dust mites and other prominent allergens.

Linoleum and vinyl flooring are easy to care for and less expensive than hardwood but they are also much less attractive. Depending on the quality, the color of the vinyl may be affected by certain household cleaners. Sunlight and cleaners are known to cause the color to fade as well. Because it is pliable, any sharp object dropped on the floor may be able to pierce it and jeopardize integrity of the entire floor. A small cut could allow water to seep beneath the flooring and cause several other problems. This could also happen if the edges are not properly sealed during installation.

Tile flooring is durable, long-lasting, and stain-resistant. It is also expensive. Anyone who has stood on tile floors for several hours at a time can attest to the physical strain this hard surface places on the body. Wood is softer and has some give so it is much more comfortable for active environments.  The overall look and feel of tile is cold. Whether it is a snowy winter night or the height of summer with the air conditioning chilling the air, tile flooring will remain cool and feel unpleasant. Another major concern is the cost and time required to change the tile when remodeling.

Hardwood flooring is very versatile. Any décor will come alive when it is built on a foundation of wood. The many species available encompass a vast number of colors and texture. Patterns, borders, and medallions are other elements that can enhance the design of your interior. On the other hand, a neutral mid-tone stain can accommodate the desire for style changes that normally occur over time. A quality hardwood floor can be easily refinished to change the color and sheen. Rugs and other complementary elements will only complement the natural beauty of the wood. It really has no disadvantages.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring, It’s Good for Your Health

If you are among the 35 million Americans who are allergic to dust mites and pet dander, you may already be aware that a good way to limit your exposure is to replace the carpet in your home with hardwood flooring.

A house with wooden floors and rugs will contain only a tenth of the dust that a carpeted house contains. The hard surface of wood floors greatly reduces the accumulation of allergens in your home, compared to carpet, which keeps you and your family members happy and healthy.

Allergens and Irritants

The main irritants that pollute our indoor air quality are allergens and toxic chemicals. Dust mites, pet dander and pesticides constitute the largest portion of irritants that stand between us and optimal wellness.

–       Dust mites are tiny spider-like creatures that cannot be seen with the naked eye. They eat exfoliated skin and live in carpet, mattresses, and upholstered furniture.  A mite’s life cycle lasts only a few months, transitioning from egg to adult within a matter of weeks. It is their waste products that cause the allergic reactions.

–       Pesticides used in gardens and homes accumulate on floors and other surfaces in the home. A recent EPA study found that the accumulation of such toxins on hard surface flooring is significantly less than other types of flooring.

–       Pet dander is shed from dogs and cats. These allergens are very strong and maintain their potency for months, adhering to walls, clothing and other surfaces, even travelling with people to places where the pets have never been.

Complementary Solutions

Every part of the cleaning regimen that is recommended to properly maintain your hardwood floors is also a crucial step in reducing the allergens in your home. In fact, natural wood oils often have a strongly anti-bacterial action.

–       Replacing all carpeting, especially in the bedroom (where you spend one-third of your time) will significantly reduce the available safe-havens for allergens.

–       Wood floors do not trap and accumulate concentrations of harmful chemicals and fumes, nor do they become homes for unpleasant parasites.

–       Washing rugs with hot water, at least 130°F, will kill dust mites.

–       Using a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at 50% or below is good for your hardwood floors and, makes the environment undesirable for dust mites.

–       Cleaning the floors with a microfiber mop, instead of traditional cleaning methods, has been recommended by the EPA as an environmental best practice for healthcare facilities.

The beauty of hardwood floors has long been a favorite of homeowners. Whether you choose the look of pronounced rustic lines or a subtly background blend, the attraction to natural elements is overwhelming.

The stains and finishes available provide a wide array of colors and styles. Each choice can add to the beauty of your home while making it a healthier environment with significantly fewer allergens and irritants. It seems so simple. It’s the natural choice – hardwood flooring.

For more information about how you can be happier and healthier, contact MacDonald Hardwoods.

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