Hardwood flooring can add value and appeal to a home, but it can also be an expensive project. However, there are ways to reduce the hardwood floor installation cost. One of the simplest ways to do this is to do the installation yourself. Installing hardwood floors is not a particularly difficult home improvement project. Hardwood floor manufacturers typically provide detailed instructions on how to complete this project, enabling most homeowners to complete this type of project without professional assistance. By completing the project as a do-it-yourself project, the installation costs are reduced dramatically because labor costs are eliminated.
Other ways to reduce the hardwood floor installation costs is to consider material selections and installation methods carefully. The type of wood chosen can have a profound impact on cost. Homeowners should seek out a wood which is attractive and durable without exceeding their budget. Finally, the type of installation can also impact cost. Floating floors are usually the least expensive and glue-down floors are the most expensive with nail-down floors falling in the middle.
Before beginning a hardwood floor installation project, it is a good idea to assemble all of the tools required to complete the project. The necessary hardwood floor installation tools will depend on the type of floors being installed. For nail-down hardwood floors, the basic tools required include a staple gun, vapor barrier paper, hammer, chalk line, tape measure, pry bar and pneumatic tools such as an air compressor and hose, a nail gun, mallet and staples. If the manufacturer's instructions involve gluing the floorboards, the recommended glue will also be required. The list of tools may vary, but the instructions provided by the manufacturer should include a complete list of the tools required to complete the project.
The cost to install hardwood floors is a variable which cannot be easily defined. Using the Internet to research the subject may produce information which estimates the cost of installing hardwood floors at approximately $3.00 per square foot. However, it is important to note there are a number of factors which can influence this cost. Some of these factors include the type of wood chosen, the installation process, the experience level of the contractor and even location. Higher quality woods will typically be more expensive to install than other types of woods. Likewise, a contractor with a great deal of experience and an impressive resume may charge more for installation than a less experienced contractor. Also, the location in which the hardwood floors will be installed may also factor into the price of installation. Installation costs will likely be higher in areas with a higher cost of living. Finally, the installation process is also a factor. Generally, floating wood floors are the least expensive to install followed by nail-down floors and then glue-down floors.
There are a number of factors to consider before installing prefinished hardwood flooring. Prefinished flooring offers advantages over onsite finished flooring, such as the ability to walk on the floors soon after installation and the absence of sanding and harsh chemicals in the home. However, homeowners who have already selected prefinished hardwood floors still have a wide number of options available to them.
Color is just one of the options homeowners will have to make. The number of color options available for prefinished floors is considerably less than the number of options available for onsite finished floors. However, there are still a wide variety of options from which to choose. This decision is largely based on personal preference and requesting floor samples will help the homeowner to make this decision. The type of finish is another decision which must be made. Homeowners should select a finish which will be durable under their living conditions. Factors such as average temperature, humidity levels and the presence of children or pets should be factors in the decision.
Caring for prefinished wood flooring is relatively simple and will help to ensure the life of the hardwood floors. Regularly dry mopping or vacuuming prefinished hardwood floors will help to remove dust and dirt which can scratch hardwood floors. Periodic cleanings with cleansers designed specifically for use on hardwood floors will also help to maintain the appearance of hardwood floors. However, care should be taken to only use cleansers which are formulated for use on hardwood floors. Before using any product, a spot test is recommended to ensure the product does not damage the finish of the flooring. Other tips for maintaining prefinished wood flooring include cleaning up spills immediately and not allowing water to stand on the floors. Spills of any type can lead to staining so they should be cleaned up immediately. Water can also stain hardwood floors, but it can also result in warping. Therefore, water should not be allowed to stand on hardwood floors for any length of time.
Selecting prefinished hardwood flooring can be one of the fun aspects of home renovation. There are a number of different finishes to choose from and homeowners must make this important decision based on appearance, durability and budget. The primary purpose of finishing hardwood floors is to increase durability so homeowners can be confident the majority of prefinished hardwood floors are a good choice in terms of durability. However, homeowners who live in a particularly hot or humid climate may want to pay particular attention to the durability aspect of the finishes. Appearance and budget also factor into the equation when selecting prefinished hardwood floors. Homeowners who are unsure about the appearance of hardwood floors should consider requesting samples for a number of different finishes. These samples can be placed on the floor in the home to assist in the decision-making process. Finally, the homeowner must consider budget when making decisions about prefinished hardwood floors and take care to select a finishing option which is not only durable and attractive, but also affordable.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|