Everyone wants a house that’s more than just a building. They want a home that reflects their own personal tastes. They want to see their own family’s personality written into every wall and every floor. This is why some start thinking about fancy hardwood flooring with the word “unique” in their catalog description. Just looking at some of those woods is enough to make some start to think that those huge price tags and finicky upkeep needs are worth it. But are they really?
The Costs of Exotic Hardwood
The first cost to consider is the actual monetary cost. The typical cost of a square foot of American cherry hardwood flooring is around ten dollars. In comparison, the pricing for more exotic or rare woods can be hundreds of dollars per foot. The more expensive the wood is, the more you want to be sure that it is installed correctly. That means that you will need to pay a professional to make sure that the work is done correctly and without damage.
You also have to consider the ecological cost of the more exotic species. It is true that reputable dealers will try to make sure that their stocks of zebra wood or Brazilian hardwoods are sustainably harvested. No one, outside of those looking to make a quick buck, wants to chop down a rain forest for wooden floors. It can be difficult to properly track wood from far off places that may not be as developed as the United States. Hardwoods from more developed countries closer to home not only cost less, but also benefit from far tighter regulations on tree harvesting and replanting.
The Durability of Hardwoods
Hardwood floors can be incredibly long lasting. There are many Victorian era buildings today with gorgeous original solid hardwood flooring. Unlike carpet, a hardwood surface is intended to last at least as long as the building it was built with. But, that extreme lifespan comes with a higher installation cost.
A hardwood floor will also need special care. It must be first swept and then mopped with wood friendly cleaner. Using harsh cleaners can dull polish over time. Just vacuuming it like carpet is not an option. Wood can be nicked or gouged by boisterous kids or a pair of heeled shoes. Vacuum cleaners can scuff up some polishes, too. Eventually, the polish wears off and the floor must be re-polished.
Most exotic hardwood flooring is not solid. It is a veneer of the nicer wood over layered inexpensive wood. The depth of the veneer determines how long the floor will last. Solid wood and thick veneers last longer than thinner layers. Once every ten or so years, most families will have the wood sanded and re-polished. Thinner budget veneers may only last one sanding, if a deep nick doesn’t go through to the plywood layers first.
Exotic hardwoods are often interestingly colored. Many are darker colored than oak or other more traditional wooden flooring. Some exotic woods even come in shades of red or purple or bright yellow. A few have strong stripes or a spotted look. The look is impressive, but it can easily overwhelm a room or make it seem dated.
Many people choose to use exotic wood with unique coloring or patterns to give interest to plain looking wood flooring. This lets the room be much more easily redecorated over the years. It also lets the family use solid or thicker and more durable veneer wood planks than they would otherwise be able to splurge on.
Buying and installing a new wooden floor is an expense that should not be taken lightly. It is a choice that lasts far longer than carpet or even tile. Take your time and find the right floor for your family’s lifestyle.
This guest post contribution was made by MacDonald Hardwoods, a Denver hardwood flooring with over 30 years of experience. MacWoods can help with choosing floor species that works for your home, from oak to bamboo to pine flooring and more.