(ARA) - The results are in: When asked what flooring material they want in their
kitchen, halls, bedrooms and entryway, homeowners say that wood is the way to go. Realtors
agree -- a national survey by real estate agents conducted by the National Wood Flooring
Association (NWFA), found that 90 percent believe homes with wood floors sell faster.
Despite all the alternatives available today, genuine hardwood continues to attract
admirers with its timeless appeal and warmth.
At one time, choices in hardwood floors were fairly limited. Homeowners had only a handful
of options. But that has changed dramatically. Recognizing the increase in demand, flooring
manufacturers have broadened their product lines to reflect the diversity in tastes
For example, today's homeowners can choose whether they want plank, strip or parquet
hardwood flooring, and in what width or thickness. They can determine whether they prefer
solid wood or engineered wood. Of course, homeowners must also select the species they
want, and what grade. Grade is generally determined by how clear or variegated the appearance
of the wood is. Most types of hardwood are available either pre-finished or unfinished.
Special "hand scraping" techniques are also available to give floors an aged look and
With so many options available homeowners can get exactly what they want. So why would
anyone hesitate to install a wood floor? Generally, it is due to misconceptions about
the initial cost of hardwood or the intensity of ongoing maintenance. While there may
have been some truth to those concerns with previous generations of hardwood floors,
they are certainly not true any longer. Surprisingly, in spite of the sophisticated
new approaches, wood upgrades are relatively affordable. The cost ranges from $7 to
$12 per square foot installed. Variables such as species and grade account for most
of the fluctuation.
New finishes have taken the sting out of maintenance as well. Old options such as shellac
and varnish that were popular in homes built prior to 1960 have been replaced by durable
surface finishes and wax finishes. A properly maintained floor should only need waxing
once or twice a year.
With growing concern about the environment and natural resources, many homeowners would
prefer an "eco-friendly" flooring product. That may seem at odds with the desire for
wood floors, since some hardwoods are obtained from old growth forests in countries
where environmental regulations are lax. However, new environmentally conscious hardwood
floor products are now readily available. And they are affordable.
It's not necessary to select antique wood to be environmentally responsible. There are
innovative new products that are serious about "being green. " Lyptus hardwood flooring
from Weyerhaeuser is one example. According to Ian Firth of Weyerhaeuser Building Materials,
"We spent five years conducting research and extensive testing to bring something new
to the high-grade wood flooring industry that we can honestly say is 100 percent sustainable
for the environment. "
When asked about the specific environmental benefits of Lyptus, Firth explained, "We
selected a Eucalyptus hybrid as the primary species for Lyptus that grows in Brazil.
In that climate, the trees we planted on our plantations will grow to full size in 14
to16 years -- two to three times quicker than comparable species. This enables us to
produce more flooring material faster, while using less of the earth's resources. The
plantations are also interspersed with indigenous species to help maintain the natural
Lyptus is being hailed as the new elegant hardwood, with strength, density and technical
characteristics comparable to Maple and higher than Red and White Oak. In appearance,
it more closely resembles Mahogany or Cherry. Natural and warm hues with a fine grain
pattern, Lyptus can be finished to take on virtually any floor stain desired.
In short, today's homeowners can have it all in their wood flooring -- a wide choice
of styles, good value and responsible environmental practices. Hardwood floors are cleaner,
less likely to collect dirt, dander and are possibly connected with less allergens in
the air. Couple these characteristics with natural aesthetic advantages, and hardwood
flooring is destined to be a favorite for many years to come.
Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to