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General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring

Do Hardwood Floors Increase Home Value?


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.

Final Thoughts

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.

If you’re curious to learn more about the different types of hardwood floorings available, check out our post on the top flooring trends of 2020 or the main differences between solid and engineered hardwood.

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General Home Improvement

7 Benefits of Installing Hardwood Floors in Your Kitchen

For most households, the kitchen is a high foot-traffic zone. From mom’s movements during meal-making to the continual pitter-patter of hungry children searching through kitchen cabinets, your kitchen floors rarely get a break. And with having to endure the spills, stains and scraps that accompany the breakfast, lunch and dinnertime rush, your kitchen floor will likely be the dirtiest in the house too!

As such, when it comes to this area, selecting the right kitchen flooring takes thoughtful consideration. Think durability, sustainably and easiness to clean and you’ll find yourself a floor that suits your kitchen’s unique needs. It’s perhaps the reason that so many people turn to hardwood flooring as the perfect long-term solution.

So, what makes hardwood flooring so desirable in your home’s food hub? Here are 7 benefits of installing hardwood floors in your kitchen.

Elegant Look

The overall look of your kitchen can influence the vibe of the rest of your home. When you’re thinking about interior design, it’s often difficult to balance style with functionality; sometimes the most practical solutions aren’t the prettiest! But that’s where hardwood flooring really shines. 

Hardwood floors have the ability to completely refine and transform a space, making sure this general meeting place feels both warm and inviting. No other material can quite emulate the homely feel that the natural tones of hardwood flooring exude. With tones ranging from dark to light, each style of hardwood has its own unique character and can fit with your own personal aesthetic.

Durability

 As the kitchen is considered a major hub in any household, scuffs and marks are to be expected. That said, it is vital that you consider a flooring product that can stand the test of time while taking a daily beating! With hardwood’s strength and durability, you can be assured that your kitchen floors will keep their beautiful appearance for years to come.

When it comes to durability, it’s best to research wood species that have a high ranking on the Janka hardness chart. This rating provides an estimate of both the hardness and durability of your chosen wood style and will help you make an informed decision unique to your personal circumstances. To help you determine which style is best for your home you can use this guide.

Easy To Clean

Undeniably, kitchens are prone to mess. Not to worry, though. Hardwood floors take the chore out of cleaning as stains and dirt won’t stick to this material’s surface the same way as it does with other flooring options.

When it comes to day to day maintenance, hardwood floors are mostly hassle-free. To maintain the fresh appearance of your hardwood floors, you may want to have them refinished periodically, but when it comes to regular care, your weekly clean routine is quite simple. All that’s needed is a quick vacuum and sweep with a mop and your floors will be back in tip-top shape. 

Softer & Warmer Than Tile

Inevitably, natural wood exudes a feeling of warmth, both in an aesthetic sense and also in a physical sense. In fact, hardwood floors actually feel warmer underfoot. Often, tiles retain coolness which can be refreshing in the summertime but can feel unbearable when the winter rolls around. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, sustain their comforting feel throughout all times and seasons.

Adds Greater Value To Your Home

It’s true, wooden floors add value to your home. If there comes a time where you’re looking to sell your home, potential buyers often prefer a timeless wood over chipped tiles. Investing in decent hardwood floors now will pay off in the long run so if cost is your deciding factor, maybe you should reconsider.

Better Air Quality

Hardwood floors do not trap dust, pollen or other common allergens. This means that installing wooden floors in your kitchen will promote significantly better airflow. Often, people who suffer from allergies choose hardwood flooring as it allows them to breathe comfortably. So, ultimately with wooden floors, you won’t need to opt for an outdoor kitchen to get a breath of fresh air!

While you might think the same can be said for tiles and laminate, this is not completely true. Even though these alternative options do not have fibers like carpet, dust can still collect inside their grout lines and embossing. 

Hardwood Floors Can Make Your Home Seem Larger

No one likes feeling cramped, especially not in the kitchen. Most of the time, your kitchen is your general meeting place so you not only want it to feel inviting but also accommodating too. Given that hardwood floors are laid vertically they help create the illusion of length in even the smallest of kitchens.

 Images: Unsplash

Categories
General Home Improvement

7 Benefits of Installing Hardwood Floors in Your Kitchen

For most households, the kitchen is a high foot-traffic zone. From mom’s movements during meal-making to the continual pitter-patter of hungry children searching through kitchen cabinets, your kitchen floors rarely get a break. And with having to endure the spills, stains and scraps that accompany the breakfast, lunch and dinnertime rush, your kitchen floor will likely be the dirtiest in the house too!

 As such, when it comes to this area, selecting the right kitchen flooring takes thoughtful consideration. Think durability, sustainably and easiness to clean and you’ll find yourself a floor that suits your kitchen’s unique needs. It’s perhaps the reason that so many people turn to hardwood flooring as the perfect long-term solution.

 So, what makes hardwood flooring so desirable in your home’s food hub? Here are 7 benefits of installing hardwood floors in your kitchen.

  1.     Elegant Look

The overall look of your kitchen can influence the vibe of the rest of your home. When you’re thinking about interior design, it’s often difficult to balance style with functionality; sometimes the most practical solutions aren’t the prettiest! But that’s where hardwood flooring really shines. 

Hardwood floors have the ability to completely refine and transform a space, making sure this general meeting place feels both warm and inviting. No other material can quite emulate the homely feel that the natural tones of hardwood flooring exude. With tones ranging from dark to light, each style of hardwood has its own unique character and can fit with your own personal aesthetic. 

  1.     Durability

 As the kitchen is considered a major hub in any household, scuffs and marks are to be expected. That said, it is vital that you consider a flooring product that can stand the test of time while taking a daily beating! With hardwood’s strength and durability, you can be assured that your kitchen floors will keep their beautiful appearance for years to come.

When it comes to durability, it’s best to research wood species that have a high ranking on the Janka hardness chart. This rating provides an estimate of both the hardness and durability of your chosen wood style and will help you make an informed decision unique to your personal circumstances. To help you determine which style is best for your home you can use this guide. 

  1.     Easy To Clean

Undeniably, kitchens are prone to mess. Not to worry, though. Hardwood floors take the chore out of cleaning as stains and dirt won’t stick to this material’s surface the same way as it does with other flooring options.

When it comes to day to day maintenance, hardwood floors are mostly hassle-free. To maintain the fresh appearance of your hardwood floors, you may want to have them refinished periodically, but when it comes to regular care, your weekly clean routine is quite simple. All that’s needed is a quick vacuum and sweep with a mop and your floors will be back in tip-top shape. 

  1.     Softer & Warmer Than Tile

Inevitably, natural wood exudes a feeling of warmth, both in an aesthetic sense and also in a physical sense. In fact, hardwood floors actually feel warmer underfoot. Often, tiles retain coolness which can be refreshing in the summertime but can feel unbearable when the winter rolls around. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, sustain their comforting feel throughout all times and seasons.

  1.     Adds Greater Value To Your Home

It’s true, wooden floors add value to your home. If there comes a time where you’re looking to sell your home, potential buyers often prefer a timeless wood over chipped tiles. Investing in decent hardwood floors now will pay off in the long run so if cost is your deciding factor, maybe you should reconsider.

  1.     Better Air Quality

Hardwood floors do not trap dust, pollen or other common allergens. This means that installing wooden floors in your kitchen will promote significantly better airflow. Often, people who suffer from allergies choose hardwood flooring as it allows them to breathe comfortably. So, ultimately with wooden floors, you won’t need to opt for an outdoor kitchen to get a breath of fresh air!

While you might think the same can be said for tiles and laminate, this is not completely true. Even though these alternative options do not have fibers like carpet, dust can still collect inside their grout lines and embossing. 

  1.     Hardwood Floors Can Make Your Home Seem Larger

 No one likes feeling cramped, especially not in the kitchen. Most of the time, your kitchen is your general meeting place so you not only want it to feel inviting but also accommodating too. Given that hardwood floors are laid vertically they help create the illusion of length in even the smallest of kitchens.

 Images: Unsplash

 

Categories
General Home Improvement

5 Tips For Keeping Your Commercial Property In Customer-Ready Condition

 

Most of us are well-versed in the best ways to keep our homes in good condition. From weekly cleaning to routine maintenance, keeping on our homes in ship-shape is second nature.

But when it comes to commercial properties, a whole new list of maintenance-related issues come to the fore. Whether your business is customer-facing or otherwise, many business premises undergo much rougher wear and tear than a residential property would ever be exposed to. From high foot-traffic to a lower level of vigilance to keep things in great condition, the task of keeping a commercial property well-maintained is a tedious, yet essential one. 

So, how can you keep your commercial property not only looking great for customers but safe for visitors and staff too? Here are the top 5 most important things you should consider.

 

  1. Look After Your Floors

Commercial floors take a beating, and it’s not only retail stores which are subject to extreme wear and tear. The impact of rolling of computer chairs, staff movement and other related occupational hazards in office environments must not be underestimated.

When renovating your commercial property, it’s essential that you consider the material you use to ensure it is fit for purpose. One great option is hardwood flooring if you’re looking for a real “wow” factor in your property, but it does come with certain considerations. If you have hardwood floors in your property, it is absolutely vital that you protect them from moisture and keep them well-maintained. Choosing a wood that is hardwearing and durable is also essential.

 

  1. Service Your HVAC

Nothing irks staff and customers more than being uncomfortably hot in your premises, and it’s something that will impact your business on a level you may not have considered. Employees lose productivity while you lose customers! 

With that in mind, getting your air-conditioning unit serviced by a professional HVAC servicing company will undoubtedly help you avoid such an impact on your business. You must make sure you’re diligent about scheduling this in too. Regularly changing filters and having your unit serviced annually (at least) will protect your HVAC and save you money in the long run.

 

  1. Don’t Forget To Look Up

While you’re looking at what’s right in front of you, don’t forget to look up! Keeping your roof and ceiling well-maintained will inevitably safeguard you from potentially property-ruining leaks. Plus, while your ceiling isn’t the make or break of your business, ensuring the upper echelons of your property don’t leave your customers with a negative impression of your business is important.

If you have a commercial metal roof, your maintenance schedule will be less rigorous than if you have an asphalt or single-ply roof. That said, all roofs need routine maintenance and they should be checked annually for early identification of any problems which may become costly down the track.

 

  1. Make-Over The Right Way

Sometimes, you’ll want to freshen up your space to give it an update and present a professional look to your customers and staff. When a complete makeover is out of the question though, there are a few small things that you can do to make a huge difference. 

Firstly, look at your windows. They’re often an underestimated element of interior design but by simply changing your window treatments, you can change the whole vibe of your space. If you have the budget to take things one step further, considering new flooring, such as hardwood, vinyl or carpet can transform your property from bland to grand in an instant. 

On a budget? You can still make a difference with a splash of paint, some decorative items and indoor plants.

 

  1. Remember Your Exterior

First impressions count, and that goes for your staff and your customers. So, what is their first impression of your commercial property? Is the paint on the outside of your building faded or flakey? Does your landscaping look like you care? Is your storefront inviting? Stand and look at your property as your staff or customers would before they enter and ask yourself, “Am I portraying a good impression of my business?” If the answer is no, fix the issues you identify!

 

 

 

 

Categories
General Home Improvement

7 Indoor & Outdoor Entertaining Area Renovation Tips Just In Time For Summer

With entertaining at the heart of the season, you may be considering giving your entertaining spaces a little (or big!) makeover this summer. 

Between summer cookouts and late-night movie nights out on the deck, when it comes to inviting guests into our homes, we all want to make an impression. Whether you’re looking to make big changes or you’re wanting to spruce up your space on a shoestring budget, there are a number of ideas that will help you wow!

Check out these 7 summer renovation tips which are sure to impress your visitors.

 

  1. Flooring and Decking

Upgrading your floors can completely transform a drab space into a fresh, modern and beautiful area bound to make your guests take notice. Hardwood flooring is incredibly effective in entertaining areas as it not only looks stunning, but it can withstand foot traffic too (if you pick the right one!). What’s more, during summer, when many homes throw open their patio doors, hardwood flooring creates a cohesive flow between indoors and outdoors, especially if you have decking. 

If you do have decking, consider sanding and re-oiling it before summer comes around. It might feel like a big job but it’ll be worth it when you see the life breathed back into your old boards.

 

  1. The Devil’s In The Detail

It’s the small things that can make all the difference. So, if you want to revamp your space without making any major changes, think about decorative items which will brighten things up. A summer vibe can be achieved with vibrantly colored kitchenware – think waterjugs, glasses and table linens – summery flowers and sweet smelling candles. 

 

  1. Keep It Cool

We all love summer, but sometimes, the heat can get a little too much! Making sure your guests have a way to stay cool while you’re entertaining can make for a much more enjoyable experience. Obviously, look after the basics first and make sure your AC unit has been serviced and the filters have been changed (TIP: get a professional HVAC servicing company to do it so you don’t have to!), but then have fun with your cooling options. Opt for some outdoor fans which suit your aesthetic, offer your guests water spray bottles and create a stylish ice-box area so your guests can keep their drinks cool.

 

  1. Think Of The Children

Entertaining isn’t just for adults, backyard BBQs are often a whole family affair. So, as well as creating a space for the big kids to enjoy, think of the little ones too. Think inflatable pool, playground equipment and giant backyard games. If there are teenagers in the mix, create an outdoor chill-out zone they can enjoy.

 

  1. Remember: it’s all about the food!

Summer isn’t summer without the food! If you don’t have a high-quality grill, it might be time to invest in one. Creating a focal point around your outdoor food-preparation area is a wise idea in terms of design and functionality; the grill itself acts as a design piece and the food is right near your guests, just where they want it!

 

  1. Think About Your Windows

Window treatments are an often overlooked part of interior design, but with a little love, your windows can actually change the whole feel of your space. Depending on the look you want to go for, you have a multitude of different options open to you. That said, the versatility of roman blinds in terms of style and color makes them extremely effective when trying to create a certain feel in a room. As a pro tip, make sure your window treatments don’t clash with your floors ie, if you have dark hardwood flooring, lighter window treatments would work; if you have white tiles, colorful blinds and drapes may be ideal.

 

  1. Infuse Your Home With Scent

Creating an inviting atmosphere for entertaining doesn’t just stop with what you can see. When guests walk into your home, you want them to feel the fresh, vibrance of summery delight! Using fresh lemon in your detergent when cleaning, lighting a summery candle or diffusing some zesty essential oils will go a long way to setting the scene for summer in your home. What’s more, if you do have hardwood flooring or wooden furniture, consider polishing them with a lemon-scented polish.

Categories
General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

This is How to Install Hardwood Floors Over Concrete

When you install hardwood floors, concrete is one of the best bases to work from — there are only a few steps to take. Follow these steps with care to safely complete the installation yourself. Whether you’re planning on renting out your home or looking to increase its value, using concrete as a base is a great idea.

To get you started we put together this do-it-yourself guide. Follow these steps with care to safely complete the installation yourself.

1. Remove Anything Standing Between You and the Concrete

While pulling up carpet, laminate, or any other flooring is the obvious first step, existing flooring isn’t the only thing that needs to be removed before you can install hardwood floors. Your baseboards will need to be taken out, as well, to ensure the new flooring has no gaps around the edges of the walls. If you’re careful while removing the baseboards, you should be able to reuse them. You can even spruce them up by sanding any paint off or staining them the same color as the new floor.

Look to see if your concrete has paint or not. If it is, the varnish may prevent the adhesive from working correctly. Don’t worry, though. You can rent a concrete grinder from most big-box home improvement stores. You can even call around your local tool rental shops or hardware stores to see if they offer concrete grinder rentals.

Strip Existing Glue, Finish, or Paint from Concrete Before Installing Hardwood Floors

Once you have the hardware you need, carefully grind the pain, glue, or finish from the concrete. You’ll want to wear protective gear, like goggles and a mask, while you do this. You don’t want to inhale any concrete dust or get some in your eyes. Make sure you remove all the paint and sweep up any dirt or debris that might be left behind.

2. Protect Your Floor From Moisture

Moisture and moisture vapor is your hardwood’s natural enemy. To combat these villains, you’ll need to apply a moisture barrier to the floor before the flooring can be laid out. You will need a barrier that is appropriate for the flooring you choose:

  • Floating Floors – Typically, these moisture barriers are made from plastic.
  • Nailed Floors – You will need a moisture barrier that protects the subfloor as well as the flooring.
  • Glued Floors – A heavy coat of moisture barrier will be required since the flooring is glued directly to the subfloor.

Before you begin, open any doors or windows in the room to provide proper ventilation. You will not likely want to inhale the fumes from your moisture barrier because it is likely to contain chemicals that are harmful to your lungs. As a precaution, it’s a good idea to wear a mask. If you are using plastic sheets, this step isn’t crucial.

Next, start at the side of the room opposite the door, and follow any and all instructions on the barrier’s packaging. Once the barrier is applied, you do not want to step on it. If you do, there’s a chance you’ll have to start over, so take care to move your materials with you as you work your way out the door.

Finally, let the moisture barrier set for 24 hours. This should be plenty, but before you take a chance and step back in the room, lightly touch the floor – if it’s still tacky to the touch, it has not set all the way and will need to be left alone a little longer. Some areas are more humid than others and will require more time to dry. In this case, check back every four hours or so.

3. Lay out the Flooring Materials

It’s time to start laying down your floorboards. Depending on the type of flooring you chose, your method for completing the next part will be different. Do this in one of two ways:

Method #1: Lay out the Materials for Floating Floorboards:

If you will use floating floorboards, you don’t need to worry about using an adhesive (If you’re unfamiliar with floating floorboards, they’re the boards that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle). The edges of each board click into place with the boards around it, creating a solid floor.

After you’ve measured the room and made sure you have the correct amount of flooring, the installation can commence. You can lay down a foam layer as you go, but you don’t have to. The foam will help if you want a cushion between the boards and the concrete, which can help muffle sound and create a more pleasant walking experience, depending on your preference.

Method #2: Lay out the Materials for Conventional Floorboards:

If you decided to use any boards that don’t click together, you need to apply adhesive while you place the boards. Just like when you apply the moisture barrier, start at the back of the room and work towards the door. Don’t administer all the adhesive at once. Instead, work in small sections. Let the adhesive dry for 24 hours after you install the flooring.

No matter the type of hardwood you’re using, be sure to cut the boards as you work. Don’t measure the room and assume how many boards need to cut, or you’ll likely run into trouble. You will also want to leave a small half-inch gap between the flooring and wall. Wood doesn’t stay one size, and you want to make sure it has room to expand.

4. Finally, Add the Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to finish up. Reinstall your baseboards and trim, then clean up the room. Be sure to take a moment to admire your work. There’s nothing like a job well done!

Let us teach you how to select the best hardwood floors for any home.

This post was originally published on December 15, 2017. It has been updated for clarity.

Categories
General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring

What you need to Know about Prefinished Hardwood Flooring vs Unfinished

For many years, unfinished hardwood flooring was the backbone of this particular niche of the flooring industry. But prefinished hardwood flooring has been rapidly becoming more popular among both residential and commercial customers in recent years. If you’re going to run a tally and go by popularity alone, prefinished selections would probably have the edge over unfinished flooring these days.

Of course, the ultimate decision about which unique type of hardwood flooring is right for your home or business will be determined by factors beyond contemporary consumer popularity. To help you make a well-informed choice, here’s a closer look at what you need to know about prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring.

Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

“Unfinished” hardwood is flooring that is raw hardwood. You must install, sand, and refinish flooring on site. There are some notable pros and cons associated with this type of flooring to consider as you explore your flooring options.

The Pros of Unfinished Flooring

From various hues of oak and cherry to stunning shades of maple, pine, and mahogany, there are many different wood species and natural color variations available with unfinished hardwood flooring. Because wood floor installation requires on-site finishing, you can customize your floors any way you want. Add personalized touches to your inlays, borders, and other flooring features.

You can even choose your finish system, stain color, and sawn profile. These customization options can be especially appealing if you have a specific look you want to achieve for your kitchen, living room, hallway, entryway, or office. Some other significant pros associated with unfinished hardwood flooring include:

  • There’s a more natural ability to resand and refinish your floor as desired.
  • You will add inlays after you sand the floor, which makes them perfectly flush with the rest of the floor.
  • You will “sealed” the entire floor since you will finish after installation.

The Cons of Unfinished Flooring

The most significant con associated with unfinished hardwood flooring is the time it takes to complete the installation process. However, the reason why this flooring takes more time to install is that it has to be sanded and finished manually. Often there’s a staining step in between these processes. Plus, you’ll have to give the finish time to cure fully.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

“Prefinished” hardwood floors are factory-finished.  Each board is coated with polyurethane before it hits the shelf. There are also notable pros and cons associated with this particular type of flooring.

The Pros of Prefinished Flooring

The biggest pro associated with prefinished hardwood flooring is the ability to complete installation fairly quickly since the sanding and finishing process is complete. And, once the floor installed, you won’t have to worry about being overly-cautious to avoid scratching your new floor during the curing process. Instead, it’ll be ready to use and enjoy immediately. Prefinished flooring also has the following beneficial things going for it:

  • It’s a more convenient option for some renovation or improvement projects.
  • Pre-applied finish is exceptionally durable.*
  • There are more uniformity and consistency with the coloring and staining in the boards.

*Some manufacturers also add an anti-scratch coating that makes the floor more resistant to minor surface damage.

The Cons of Prefinished Flooring

The main downside with prefinished hardwood flooring is the limitation of widths, lengths, colors, grain, and other common customer preferences. Also, the durability of the finish on prefinished flooring can make it difficult to remove these surface layers should you want to refinish or re-sand your floor in the future.

So, What’s the Final Verdict?

When it comes to the prefinished vs. unfinished debate, there’s no clear winner. Both options can have some pros and cons worth considering when you make your decision. Some people love the natural imperfections in unfinished flooring and the ability to conveniently refinish it. However, others appreciate the convenience of choosing perfectly prepared, flawless, ready-to-install flooring.

Whatever your preference, there’s no denying the fact that a top-quality hardwood floor will add beauty and value to any room, home, or business (for many years if you properly care for it). Let us help you choose the best hardwood flooring for your home.

Categories
General Home Improvement

5 Grueling Facts You Must Face Before You Invest in Rental Property

Many wise investors realize that rental property is a great way to grow long-term wealth. With the homes being well taken care of, the maintenance of multiple houses is not astronomical, and you make a decent amount of money on a monthly basis from each rental property you own. While this seems like a simple process, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before beginning a rental agreement. The better prepared you are for various situations to arise, the more successful you will be in the long run.

Here are five facts about rental investing you can’t ignore.

Fact #1: Choosing and Purchasing Rental Property Can Be Stressful

Regardless of how many rental properties you plan to own and rent out, you need to make sure you can purchase them all at a reasonable rate. The cost of the home will have a direct impact on how much you can make each month. If you end up financing the house and then turn around and rent it out, make sure you can make more money by renting out the home than what you owe in a mortgage payment. Work with the real estate agent and try to get the lowest possible amount for each house you rent out. The location of the home is something that heavily weighs into the process because if you are buying a home in an excellent area, you will always have a steady stream of income with people wanting to live in your rental property.

Fact #2: You Most Likely Have to Make Updates to the Home

If you are getting a home at a low cost, chances are you are going to have to drop a few thousand dollars to update the house. You want the house to be appealing for potential renters to want to live there. Updates might include new flooring, a fresh coat of paint on the walls, new appliances, updated countertops, and modern light fixtures. Your goal should be to have the home looking as sharp as possible, so you are sure to have tenants ready to sign a lease with you. All of the work needs to be as professional as possible and closely reflecting the latest trends. If you are not willing to update the home between tenants living there, then you might not be successful when it is time to find a new family to live in the property.

Of course, hardwood flooring is an excellent choice for rental homes because it’s durable and easy to repair or refinish.

Recommended Reading: 

Fact #3: Choosing Tenants is a Tedious Chore

As soon as you complete your updates, you are ready to find someone to live in your home temporarily. While it is easy to jump at the first person who shows any interest, make sure to take your time with the process and choose a renter you trust will take care of the home and be responsible for making their monthly payments on time. Waiting for the perfect tenant will be worth your time in the end as you will not have to worry about them causing severe damage to the home.

Fact #4: Someone Must be Available to Monitor the House

If you are living close to the rental property, you can make it part of your weekly or monthly routine to drive in and check on the status of the home. If you are far away, however, there are property management crews that can take care of this job for you. Either way, you need to keep an eye on the home and make sure that the tenants are properly caring for the area and helping to make the house stay as beautiful as it was the day the tenants stepped inside.

Fact #5: You Need to be Prepared to Manage Repairs Right Away

One thing people often forget when they take on rental properties is that if anything goes wrong inside or around the house, it is your responsibility as the homeowner to handle these issues. Renters do not have to replace broken dishwashers or plumbing issues that arise, because that is the responsibility of the landlord. Make sure you can handle the financial burden of fixing these issues yourself or have access to professionals that can resolve the problems. You need to remain patient in the process and keep your schedule open to address the problems as they arise. If you want to be a good landlord, then handle the problems without letting tenants know you are upset or stressed, even if it is a financial strain on you.

Final Thoughts

Owning rental properties is a lot more than just collecting a monthly check. You need to have to have the finances available to fix up your rental property before listing it. You need to be prepared to handle the different problems that will arise while the tenants are residing in the property. Being aware of the entire process and all responsibilities associated with owning a rental property will make it a smooth and easy way to make extra money each month. As long as you keep this in mind, get ready to make a wise investment. 

Categories
General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring

7 Questions to Answer Before Buying Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is one of the best ways to improve your home. This versatile and long-lasting enhancement works with any décor or lifestyle. To be sure that your floor meets all of your expectations, it is a good idea to have a few questions answered before you begin. For your convenience, we have compiled the following list of the most crucial concerns.

1. Which room are you working on?

Opening the front door to see the natural beauty of solid hardwood floors can be captivating. It establishes the mood of a warm, welcoming environment and is therefore very popular for foyers and formal living rooms where guests are entertained. Hardwood flooring can be used in just about any room in the house but it is not recommended in closed areas that experience great fluctuation in humidity such as laundry rooms and full bathrooms.

2. How do you want the room to look?

For older generations, a solid wood floor consists of one unified color across the floor which could be as light as blonde or as dark as a mahogany brown. Today this is referred to as traditional wood flooring and, although it is still very popular, it represents a small portion of the options available. Depending on the look you are trying to create, you may want to explore a wide range of colors, a patterned effect, or a range of textures. The possibilities are endless.

3. What is the current flooring?

Not long ago it was impossible to install hardwood floors on top of concrete because there was no way to secure the boards to the concrete. Now, with engineered hardwood floors, you can glue the flooring directly to a concrete floor. Engineered wood is made up of several layers of wood lain perpendicular in sequence with a thick top layer of solid hardwood. It is actually very strong and does not react to climatic changes like solid hardwood might. Once it is installed, it is virtually indistinguishable from a traditional hardwood floor.

4. Refinish or Replace?

If you have hardwood flooring in your home that is stained or otherwise damaged, you may be able to repair sections of it instead of replacing the entire floor. Sanding down the finish and staining the wood may also be preferable to replacement. The main advantage of replacement is that it takes less time and effort. Refinishing a hardwood floor is very labor-intensive and the fumes are very strong. The family may be displaced for several days. The best hardwood flooring available is arguably pre-finished and can be installed in a day or two without any fumes.

5. What is the climate?

Because wood is a natural element, it swells and contract with changes in the humidity and temperature. If these changes are significant, it can result in gaps between the floor boards. In extreme cases, these changes can cause the wood to crack, split and even bow. The experts at MacDonald Hardwoods can help you select the best wood for your climate.

6. Do you have pets?

If you have pets, there is no better choice for your flooring than hardwood floors. They are easy to clean and durable. Surface scratches will vanish when a new coat of polyurethane is added. In addition, it is possible to make scratches less noticeable with certain tones or textures. No matter what you choose, a hardwood floor holds its value far better than any other option, especially in the home of an animal lover.

7. What is your budget?

There are several costs to consider when installing hardwood flooring. The first question that needs to be answered concerns the square footage of the room.  This will determine how much wood you need to purchase. Another important question concerns the installation. MacDonald Hardwoods provides free training and technical support to any flooring customers who wish to install it themselves.

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General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor Pets Species

This is How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for any Home

So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.


How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:

  1. First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.
  2. Next, examine your lifestyle.
  3. Then, set a realistic budget.
  4. After that, explore various hardwood types and species.
  5. Once you know the rest, research your finish options.
  6. Finally, consult with an expert.

Each of the above items has its own set of intricacies. In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of it for you. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right hardwood flooring options. 


First, the Pros and Cons of Harwood Flooring:

Hardwood is a natural, long-lasting choice for home flooring. Still, it comes with maintenance responsibilities. Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of installing wood floors in your home.

 

The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Hardwood is durable… as long as you don’t overexpose it to water.

While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.


It is easy to refinish, but not so easy to install.

Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider hardwood flooring installation classes


It is considered a wise investment.

The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.


Hardwood flooring isn’t likely to go out of style.

Hardwood floors are timeless in the decor world; it was considered a luxury interior decoration asset as early as the 1600s and is popular still today. If you choose hardwood, your floors are likely to stay in style as long as your home stands. According to GentlemanZone Magazine, hardwood stands for luxury and fine taste. It is the warm and shiny glaze of wood that noblemen love to this very day.


It isn’t the coziest flooring to walk on.

One of the downsides to hardwood flooring is that it can be hard and cold on your feet compared to carpeting. Because it is so hard, it doesn’t absorb sound; this can lead to more noise when walking around with shoes. Some people might not like this idea, for a number of reasons, and will opt for carpeting instead. But, if you’re still undecided, there are ways to reduce sound with hardwood floors.


It is an allergy-friendly, eco-friendly, low maintenance flooring option.

People with pets will tell you that carpets need to be vacuumed daily to keep a hair and dander-free home. If you have allergies to pets or pollens, you can be sure hardwood floors will be much easier to maintain, and you’ll experience fewer attacks. Also, most of the wood used for flooring materials are sustainably sourced and use non-toxic adhesives and finishes.


Next, What You Need to Consider About Your Lifestyle:

Your lifestyle dictates the best hardwood flooring option for your home — foot traffic, kids, pets, and maintenance crucial considerations. Are your floors prepared for wear and tear, or will choose luxury options for their aesthetic appeal? Consider the following.

While you probably won’t be bowling on your floors, you may live in a home with a lot of guest foot traffic, kids playing, or pets running around. In this case, you are going to expose your floors to scratches; this requires a “harder” floor and finish (or a ridiculously laid-back attitude).

Is Hardwood Flooring Good for Homes with Kids and Pets? via @macwoods

On the contrary, if you have a lifestyle with more solitude, you might be able to afford to go with softer wood and a natural oil finish. If you require people to take their shoes off at the door, take precautions when moving furniture, your home isn’t prone to messes, and you expect things to stay this way, there’s no reason to worry yourself too much over potential scratching and stains.


Recommended reading for the best hardwood flooring care: 


Then, get Clear About Your Flooring Installation Budget:

While some homeowners consider hardwood flooring installation to be a DIY job, more often than not, they require professional installation. Whether you install the flooring yourself or hire someone to do that for you, be realistic about your budget. It’s always a possibility that you will end up spending more than you anticipate by the time everything is complete.

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing hardwood in 2018 is $4,415. But this can vary tremendously based on the project.


What to consider when you set your hardwood flooring budget:

  • Cost per square foot of flooring
  • Size of the project area
  • Subfloor, joists, and other structural materials
  • Floor finish
  • Molding replacement
  • Professional labor costs
  • Future flooring repair & replacement costs

In addition to the installation (all materials and labor), you must consider the cost of repair and replacement for your hardwood floors. So, while you may have the initial budget for an exotic species like Padauk, think about whether you will have the funds to repair or replace a more expensive floor in the future, should you have to. If you have to refinance your home to pay for new floors, it may be best to choose an option that is on the conservative side of the price scale. 


Recommended reading to set your hardwood flooring budget:


After that, Consider Solid, Prefinished, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Options:

There are three main hardwood flooring options: solid, engineered, laminate, and prefinished. Here are the similarities and differences.


Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood is the term used for planks of wood, cut directly from the tree — it is precisely what you think it would be; this is the flooring that has been around for ages. It is the most natural and customizable type of hardwood flooring. If you choose this option, you can have any wood species, stain and flooring finish you like. The only downside is that, in general, it can be slightly more prone to damage than your other options and typically more expensive. It would be the obvious choice for any luxury home and is the only type of wood flooring that can be refinished.


Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

A convenient option for homeowners is to choose prefinished flooring. Again, this is precisely what you might think it is: hardwood flooring planks that are finished prior to installation. Both engineered and solid hardwood, exotic and common species come in pre-finished options. The upsides are that installation takes less time, you will be able to walk on your floors sooner, and you will not have to inhale sometimes toxic VOCs of polyurethane finishes. It can be more expensive than unfinished planks, but that is usually made up for by negating the final step of installation. It might be difficult to find high-end species, yet many people still consider this the best hardwood flooring option.


Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Not to be confused with laminate flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is a semi man-made product. However, it is made from several layers of real wood. The top layer is a piece of solid wood lamella, and it is most often prefinished. So, if you choose this option, colors and grains are preserved. At a glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, as you are basically left with the same color and appearance of natural wood flooring.


Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is another choice that many modern homeowners go with, especially in rentals or homes with small children. Homeowners with laminate flooring claim that it is extremely easy to keep clean. With laminate flooring, you don’t have the high risk of water damage. It is also less prone to sun damage and staining. But, there is a downside: it is obviously not wood. This option doesn’t leave you with the same unique grain variants and color evolution as many hardwood options.


And, Explore Common and Exotic Hardwood Species:

If you like the idea of solid wood flooring, it’s best to look at several different species. There are common American species like Oak, Maple, and Hickory, that you’ve probably already thought about. You should also look at exotic species like Australian Cypress, Merbau, or Burmese Teak. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most popular species that we work with to inform your journey to the best hardwood flooring.


Black Cherry:

Black Cherry Hardwood Flooring


The heartwood of Black Cherry is a stunning red-brown color and the sapwood ranges from pale to light brown with an almost pink tint. Rather than using this type of wood for an entire floor, it is usually used for accents and borders, creating a luxury decor feel. This species is more stable and softer than oak with a moderate hardness.


Birch:

Birch Hardwood Flooring


Birch grain is generally wavy or curly but maintains an even, medium texture. The heartwood of Yellow Birch is usually red-brown while the sapwood is white or yellow. The heartwood of Sweet birch is generally dark brown with reddish tones and the sapwood is typically lighter. It is more stable than red oak and is known for absorbing shock.


Oak:

Red Oak Hardwood Flooring


Oak grain is coarse with a flame or curvy pattern. White oak varies from light brown to off-white with hints of pink or gray and is naturally protected from many insects and fungi. Red oak has a strong, reddish tint and is slightly less durable than white oak, but is more likely to absorb shock. These are two of the most common species used in flooring. 


Pine:

Heart Pine Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine (aka “Blue Pine”) are the two most common Pine species used in flooring. Heart Pine is yellow but contains occasional bluish-black sap stains. Southern Yellow Pine ranges in color from orange and light yellow to yellow and brown. It is known for its knotty grains and is much softer than its rival Oak flooring options.


Maple:

Sugar Maple Hardwood via @macwoods


Sugar Maple is available in a myriad of colors. The sapwood can range from a creamy or pale white while the heartwood can be creamy white to reddish-brown. It has a closed fine, light grain and subtle appearance overall. Occasionally, on the higher end of the price scale, Maple grain presents quilted, “fiddleback,” or bird’s eye patterns.


Walnut:

Black Walnut Hardwood via @macwoods


Black Walnut, another common American hardwood species, contains a myriad of heartwood tones ranging from beautiful medium browns to almost purple hues. The straight, open grains can occasionally burl or curl, but for the most part, maintain a long brushstroke look.  It is softer but more stable than typical American Red Oak hardwood.


African Padauk:

African padauk Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


African Padauk is a popular exotic hardwood flooring option, mostly because of the way it changes color over time. In the beginning, Padauk floors might be reddish-orange, but will darken to red and can eventually become purplish-brown to black with age. Padauk is significantly harder and more stable than oak, making this one of the most durable available flooring options.  


Merbau:

Merbau Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Merbau has medium to high color variants on each board. It is especially lustrous, with golden yellow streaks throughout. Like Padauk, it changes color with age, typically starting out reddish-orange and eventually turning dark reddish-brown. The sapwood is, however, much lighter than the heartwood. Merbau grain is coarse and either straight, interlocked, or wavy.


Australian Cypress:

Australian Cypress Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Australian Cypress is much more stable and slightly harder than Oak. The heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, and the sapwood is generally cream-colored. Cypress grain is generally closed, yet it can often resemble the knotty texture of Pine. While the stability is high, some movement can happen with Cypress after installation. 


Thai/ Burmese Teak:

Thai Burmese Teak Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods


Thai/ Burmese Teak sapwood is usually a light cream color. The heartwood ranges from dark, golden-brown to yellow-brown. Teak becomes richer in color when exposed to the sun, which is not typical of other hardwoods that often experience sun bleaching over time. It is more stable yet softer than Oak and has a straight, coarse grain with inconsistent texture.


Take a Closer Look at Wood Grains

Each floorboard will have a unique pattern in the wood grain, but there are some basic identifiers in the most common species used in hardwood flooring; one may be more appealing to you than others.

wood grain appearance via @macwoods

Maple, for example, has a fine, light pattern. Oak tends to have a classically beautiful grain pattern that resembles flames. Hickory grains generally have an interesting, jagged, peaked structure that resembles watercolor paintings. Cherry and mahogany, though unique in many other ways, usually have similar grain patterns in that they are non-directional and subtle. Walnut looks like someone painted long, straight brush strokes with various shades of brown on a flat surface. Each is gorgeous in their own way.


While this section is informative about hardwood species and their looks and qualities, this is not inclusive of everything you may want to know. Once you have an idea what you want, it is a good idea to further research species including Janka rating and how to protect hardwood floors from sun bleaching to learn more and make the best hardwood flooring decision. 


Finally, Understand Your Options for Hardwood Finishes:

While the grain examples above showcase various shades of brown, red, and yellow, the final color and luster of your floor will be dictated by the finish that you choose. If you aren’t set on prefinished or laminate floors, you should explore at least a few different finish options.

One of the first questions you might ask is, ‘Do I actually need to finish my floors?’ — wood is lovely on its own after all. The answer is ‘yes.’ If you install hardwood floors, you don’t necessarily have to stain them, but you do need to finish them. Otherwise, you risk exposure to damage and early aging.


Here are some of the most popular hardwood flooring finish options.

  • Wax Finish
  • Polyurethane Finish
  • Acid-Cured Finish
  • Moisture-Cured Urethane Sealer
  • Penetrating Oil Sealer

Each above item has pros and cons. Use this list to choose the best hardwood flooring finish based on your needs and wants.


Closing Self-Examination Questions to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring:

As long as you remember that you should not install hardwood flooring in rooms where they will be exposed to water, you understand all of your options, and you are clear on your budget and preferences, you’re ready for the final self-exam. Here’s what you need to ask to make the best hardwood flooring decision:

  • In which rooms will you install hardwood flooring?
  • What will the foot traffic be like in these rooms?
  • Will you choose solid, engineered, laminate, or prefinished hardwood?
  • In which species are you most interested?
  • What type of hardwood finish do you want?
  • Does your budget match the hardwood flooring options you prefer?

And, when you know the answers to all of these questions, if you still don’t have your mind made up, consult an expert to help you make a final hardwood flooring decision. Or, check out bamboo flooring as an option. Our Denver flooring company, serving the community since 1986, provides the finest quality hardwood floors, service, and installation.