Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Great Hardwood Debate

This is our first entry in a long time; so where does one begin in this rapidly progressing world of design? Perhaps a good start is at the foundation of any well composed room…the floor.

There are many applications of flooring and we’ve come along way from the dirt and dung surfaces of early homes. Some of us have even moved passed the Middle Ages and no longer throw household waste on the floor to be trampled down. Luckily our world has evolved and the options for flooring are plentiful. Products like stone and porcelain tile, concrete, wood, cork, laminate, vinyl, and carpet are the key players today. Of course we’ll keep you updated with new products as the industry is ever changing, but for now let’s keep it simple and start with the ever looming question...

To hardwood or not to hardwood?

Hardwood flooring will stand the test of time. It is durable and with proper care and maintenance, vacuum and polish, this floor will serve you well. If you are ready for a d├ęcor change, it can be sanded and re-stained. Since hardwood is solid wood, it can be sanded without the worry of a thin veneer like engineered hardwood. Hardwood can be initially a cheaper product, with the exception of exotic woods, than its engineered counterparts. If you want to boost the appeal of your home for re-sale, hardwood can elevate the value and be a great selling feature.

The installation of hardwood can cost more than the engineered wood. It requires glue and nail-down application and is not available in the click & lock installation method. So, labour often becomes more expensive or equal to engineered flooring in the end. Also, most condos do not allow hardwood in the strata complex. It can be noisy for downstairs neighbours as it is applied directly to sub floor without a noise muffling under pad. Another issue is the island climate. Moisture and humidity doesn’t always play nice with hardwood. It has a tendency to flex and bow as we go through the seasons. Also, some species of hardwood can be quite soft. There are many species available, but the softer woods will show scratches and scuffs from pets, children, and everyday use. It can also fade and stain easier than other flooring types, so maintenance is certainly required to keep it looking beautiful.

Choosing the right flooring for your room is crucial and plays a major role in the overall look and feel of the space. It is an important surface in any area as it will ground the room and act as a base canvas for the rest of the materials to come. Like any product there are pros and cons. I do not want to convince you either way, but merely give you the facts and guide you to a final decision depending on your individual project.

(Picture shown above is a recent JMD completed project and is nominated for a 2010 CHBA Care Award)