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What to Look For in Hardwood Flooring

True Story – A $1.9 Million Dollar Disaster Listing

It’s a proven fact that quality hardwood floors add value to a home. That is, if the floors are properly installed. Recently, I visited a $1.9 million dollar listing in my neighborhood and was absolutely shocked at what I found. You would think that a home selling for almost $2 million would have top-of-the-line finishings and everything would be done to the highest of standards, right? Wrong! To the untrained eye, this home might have seemed like a top-notch property. But I, however, was not the least bit fooled. The “grand” entrance of the home was complete with vinyl flooring. To make matters worse, the builder did not use solid stair treads and the length of the hardwood boards throughout the home were 3′ (the shorter length board creates more transition lines, resulting in a busier appearance). To sum it all up, the builder cheaped out on flooring to save money.
Do you know what to look for when it comes to hardwood flooring? As we saw in the above example, some builders will take shortcuts on finishings like flooring – thinking potential buyers won’t know the difference. Don’t be fooled by the cost-cutting tricks of builders ever again. Here are some important hardwood flooring tips to keep in mind.

3 Things to Look For in Hardwood Flooring

  1. Length Matters – The longer the hardwood boards, the better. Yes, long length floors are more expensive. However, they are aesthetically more attractive and called for in high priced homes. For a more clean and elegant look, long length boards are definitely the way to go.
  2. Direction – When hardwood is installed throughout a home, the planks should run parallel with the longest wall in the room. A knowledgeable installer will turn the wood when he gets to a corner. For example, in the case of an L-shaped room, the installer will miter the edges of the planks at a 45-degree angle and make the turn at the corner of the L (creating a smooth transition into the other leg of the room).
  3. Solid Stair Treads vs. Pieced Together Treads – Stair treads that are pieced together (using short, narrow boards) create a number of potential problems. Builders will sometimes go this route because it is less expensive. For the homeowner, however, there are many disadvantages of this type of tread. First, the shorter the boards, the more visible joints you’ll have. This creates a choppy, “pieced together” look that is aesthetically unappealing. Overtime these joints may begin to separate, significantly weakening the tread itself and leading to a third problem: squeaky stairs. Additionally, the finish will often wear away much faster on stair treads that have been pieced together. In contrast, solid stair treads span the entire width of the stair (meaning no joints). The absence of joints means a stronger, more durable tread that is less likely to squeak. Visually, you just can’t beat the look of solid treads.

Want to Know More? Contact a Hardwood Flooring Expert.

Have questions about any of the topics discussed in this article? Feel free to contact a Universal Hardwood representative. We’re happy to answer any question you may have and help you with all your hardwood flooring needs.

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