The obvious reason to choose a solid hardwood floor for your home is its beauty. Solid wood can make a room look warm and homey.
What it is: A genuine hardwood floor is made from three-quarter-inch strips of solid wood. The most popular hardwood species used for solid wood floors are red oak, white oak, ash and maple, although wood floors come in at least 50 species and can be painted or stained any color.
Benefits: Aside from looking warm and beautiful, wood floors are extremely popular. In a national survey of real estate agents, 90 percent said houses with wood floors sell faster and for more than homes with other kinds of flooring. A natural resource, wood is renewable and recyclable.
Challenges: Solid wood expands and contracts when it’s humid. Wood floors are sensitive to moisture, so manufacturers do not recommend installing them in basements or directly over a concrete slab. You must nail solid wood floors, so you’ll have to install a subfloor under yours if you want to place it over a concrete slab.
Maintenance: Sometimes called the “100-year floor,” solid hardwood typically is finished with a thick, durable top coat that protects it from damage. That protective coat can last for 10 or more years. When it’s time to refinish the floors, they can be sanded and refinished up to 10 times over their lifetime because they’re so thick. In between refinishings, all a wood floor requires is sweeping and dust-mopping. Clean up spills and stains with a cloth that’s barely damp or with a dab of water-based wood floor cleaner.
Cost: A solid wood floor can get expensive. Installation adds to the cost.