It's a safe bet: if the average Chico homeowner were handed a blank check from their favorite home improvement center, he or she would redeem it for new wood floors.
More than any other home amenity, wood flooring conveys warmth, style and easy elegance and complements modern décor as surely as it does homes with traditional furnishings.
Experts in Your Home has installed wood flooring in homes all around Chico – whether or not the homeowner has been handed a blank check. The first decision we ask homeowners to make is whether they prefer solid or engineered flooring. This can be a difficult choice because the flooring is so similar that homeowners really have to “drill down” and consider the advantages and drawbacks of each.
The process is rather enlightening – and can help you, too, if you want to add beauty and charm to your home with new wood floors.
Choose Between Solid and Engineered Wood
- As its name implies, solid wood flooring consists of strips or planks of hardwood lumber – from top to bottom and from end to end. The wood varies in length, and the width can range from ¼ inch to 1 inch, with ¾ being the most common.
- The wood is delivered to a home unfinished, where it is installed, sanded and finished.
- Engineered wood flooring consists of about three to five layers of wood which are glued together in a cross-grain pattern. Hardwood is placed on top (because it's visible) while softer, less expensive wood (like plywood) makes up the rest of the layers.
- The top layer arrives at a home finished and the rest of the flooring is glued or nailed into place.
Weigh the Advantages of Solid Wood
- The materials are generally less expensive than engineered wood, though the final cost usually “catches up" because the floor must be sanded and finished on-site.
- It's genuine wood and therefore has a rich look.
- Solid wood is highly durable, and it can be resanded and refinished rather easily if it becomes damaged.
- The flooring is easily maintained, requiring little more than regular sweeping (or vacuuming) and a damp-mop treatment.
- The color of some some exotic solid wood deepens and darkens with time and exposure to ultraviolet light.
- Homeowners can choose the number of coatings as well as the sheen level.
- Flaws in the subfloor, especially with regard to variations in height, can be hidden.
Weigh the Drawbacks of Solid Wood
- Installation can be disruptive – dusty, noisy and smelly (when the final finish is applied). Many homeowners prefer to be away from home until the job is done.
- Solid Wood is not recommended for rooms with a high moisture content, especially bathrooms, basements or rooms on top of concrete slabs. To prevent warping, special care should be taken in kitchens to clean up spills promptly and cover high-traffic walkways and work areas with throw rugs.
Weigh the Advantages of Engineered Wood
- The genuine hardwood top layer exudes the same rich, good looks of solid wood flooring.
- Engineered wood resists expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and moisture, making it more stable than solid wood.
- The added stability means that engineered flooring can be installed virtually anywhere, including right over concrete.
- Engineered wood is highly durable and easily maintained.
- Installation makes less mess and takes less time than solid wood flooring.
- Environmentalists often prefer engineered flooring because only the top layer consists of actual hardwood.
Weigh the Drawbacks of Engineered Wood
- The materials are generally more expensive than for solid wood, but the final cost often evens out because with no sanding or finishing required, the flooring is secured with glue or nails.
- The pre-finished nature of the top layer means that choices may be limited to what the manufacturer offers.
- Repairs can be more difficult since entire sections of the floor may need to be replaced.
- Any flaws in the subfloor can be tricky to conceal.
- A prefinished floor can be sanded and refinished only two or three times before it must be replaced. (A solid wood floor has no such limitations.)
Nothing compares to seeing (and feeling) solid wood and engineered wood for yourself. To make a fully informed choice, call Experts in Your Home and make an appointment for a flooring consultation. We'll hope that you were handed one of those blank checks, but we'll help you add beauty and charm to your home with wood flooring either way.