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Choosing the Latest in Hardwood Floors for Your Home Plan

Published May 07, 2015

Rumor has it that the new interior of the new Whitney Museum in New York City has 50,000 feet of wide-plank floors made out of recycled wood collected from old factories in Connecticut, Michigan and South Carolina. Clearly the American settlers had no idea that they would be starting a long lasting  trend that would continue to charm and fascinate home and commercial builders alike for centuries.


Colonial Americans used thick, wide, hardwood planks that came from cutting down some of this nation's oldest forests - the trees with large diameters - tight grained heartwood - which rendered the lumber hard and durable. The woods used depended on the region.



Today's Wood Floor Finishes


From the coast of California to the Northeast, to the mid-Atlantic states, and on to the East Coast, hardwood floors remain the most popular flooring for homeowners. Why? Because hardwood is hard wearing, stylish and renewable. Today's hardwood floors come in a myriad of different designs, sheens, color choices, and woodgrains range from the traditional oak or pine to pecan, fir, hickory, maple, birch, walnut, bamboo or beech woods. Of all of these pine dents ore easily, while bamboo is quite resilliant, and has become a popular choice among home owners recently. It is durable and eco-freindly—since bamboo grows fast.


This year (2015) dark hardwood floors are the cat’s meow. Contemporary yet classic, the two top stains are jacobean and ebony. Jacobean tends to be while the jacobean is a very dark brown, yet a little warmer than ebony; some people mix the two into a tone that has been dubbed expresso, which is as dark and rich as the coffee.  Keep in mind, however, that darker floors are harder to maintain since they tend to show dirt and scratches.


For those who are not into the darker side of hardwood flooring there is an elegant contrasting choice known as white washed hardwood which is made out of maple. This trend is very popular at high-end homes near beach communities. The hottest look favors wide, whitewashed planks, adding light to spaces. These floors require a water-based poly finish - also more costly - so as not to ever turn yellow.


The next popular color trend in hardwood floors is gray, also known as the “new neutral” because it truely does not fight with any of the other colors in a home’s decore. Duely noted is the fact that gray hardwood flooring is more expensive than other types of wood floor, since achieving the perfect color balance is more difficult to do. This color also requires a water-based poly finish.



Reclaimed Vintage Hardwood or Distressed Hardwood Floors


Many people love the distressed “old world” style wood floors such as are in the new Whitney Museum referenced above, which is not only eco-friendly, but is stylish, harder to get, and – but bonus – costs much less! Authentic old world hardwood is being reclaimed from houses from the 1700’s and 1800’s and also from some vintage homes from the sixties and seventies which remained in good condition thanks to the advent of carpeting.


The latest modern vintage hardwood floors are wide, featuring seven plus inch planks, stained in muted tones,and sometimes highlighted with mineral streaks, complete with flaws in the wood that add some character.In some cases these finishes have been rubbed with wire brushes and have a gloss for a weathered look.



Hardwood Floor Finishes


The popular oil finishe now is a plant-based, zero-VOC oil treatment, which really brings out the natural wood grain in flooring. Oil sealers are easy to apply, long-lasting and less-expensive than water-based polys. But beware - oil-based polys contain a higher VOC content which means they emit a much stronger odor during the application process, which can take from eight to 10 hours to dry. 


Bonus room with hardwood floors.

Home owners and pets must vacate the premises of your home during the refinishing process which requires at least two to three coats when done properly.


Low-luster satin sheens are the most popular by far.  The benefits include the fact that these finishes shows footprints far less than other finishes. 


Installation for a lovely hardwood floor in your new home like this Plan Collection house plan #153-1781 should be installed and refinished by a professional.      


Wood flooring comes in three installation types:


1. Wood planks - are usually tongue-and-groove boards available in a variety of widths and lengths.

2. Hard wood tiles - these are usually patterned parquet style tiles that can be laid in geometric patterns.

3. Strips - which are narrow tongue-and-groove boards often cut in random lengths.



There are several types of wood flooring from unfinished to factory prefinished. Whatever the wood, finish, tone or plank style, most home owners agree, wood flooring is one ofthe most enjoyable features of their new home. 



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