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How to Choose Hardwood Floors for Your Home

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Use these five expert tips to pick a beautiful, long-lasting hardwood floor.

hardwoodfloorsThere’s a reason hardwood is the flooring of choice for many home owners. Hardwood accentuates the beauty of your house, adding a warm, natural feel to rooms from the bedroom to the kitchen.

With many types and finishes of hardwood flooring available, it can be difficult to know where to start. We asked flooring expert Chris Judge of Adda Carpets and Flooring for his advice on what to consider when buying hardwood floors.

1. INVEST IN YOUR FLOORS
One common mistake that people make when purchasing hardwood flooring is choosing an inexpensive wood that’s not designed to last. “Once you put wood down, it’s very hard to remove it,” says Judge. “It’s important to get the best wood you can afford to use.”

Though thinner woods can’t be completely sanded down and refinished, they may be able to be screened. Screening is a lighter technique that removes a floor’s finish without touching the wood itself, so a new finish can be applied.

2. CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM
It can be tempting to go with a bold pattern or grain when first picking a hardwood floor, but Judge usually advises against this. “Pick a wood that goes with the style of your house,” he suggests. “I always tend to go with something that’s going to be very neutral and blend with furniture.” Since you want your floors to last as long as possible, leave yourself the option to redecorate by picking a timeless wood.

3. MATCH FINISH TO ROOM USE
When choosing hardwood for different areas of the house, consider the room’s use. Judge recommends choosing a wire-brushed finish on oak or walnut for high-traffic areas, like a kitchen or hallway. Wire-brushing removes the wood’s softer top layers, revealing harder layers that allow scratches and scuffs to blend right in. “Higher-gloss finishes show more scratching,” Judge says.

4. LET YOUR STYLE SHINE THROUGH
Before succumbing to preconceptions about hardwood floor do’s and don’ts, do your research. For instance, despite popular opinion, there’s nothing wrong with installing hardwood in your kitchen. “I have wood [floors] in my kitchen,” says Judge. “It really adds some warmth.”

5. INSTALLATION
If you’re not a professional floor installer, think carefully before deciding to install your own floors. It’s very easy to make a mistake, and wood glues are designed to be permanent. Do your research before selecting an installer.