Where to start?
Between unfinished plank, prefinished strip, engineered and hand-scraped, it’s easy to get confused by all of the flooring options. You’ll need to think about issues like humidity, the shape the existing subfloor is in, how level your floors are and your family’s lifestyle before you pick what’s best for you and your budget. If your TV room is in the basement and that’s where you spend your time, you might go for an engineered option because it can be installed over concrete, and can handle humidity and expansion better than hardwood can. If you’re looking to install hardwood on your main floor or upstairs in the bedrooms, prefinished strip or plank floors are the way to go to save the step and expense of staining unfinished wood.
Whenever possible, I try to use eco-friendly products, and, not surprisingly, the hardwood flooring industry has a ton of eco-friendly flooring options to choose from. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) stamp of approval on hundreds of flooring options. The FSC manages sustainable forests where trees are replanted and the natural environment is carefully monitored. FSC-certified hardwoods can also apply toward LED credits. LED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.
A gleaming hardwood floor draws the eye and adds a “finished” appeal to your home. However, don’t be fooled because something is sold as a “green” product. Bamboo flooring options might be made out of an amazing and renewable resource, but some manufacturers affix the layers of bamboo together with a glue that can emit formaldehyde. Do your research, ask the right questions and use your best judgement.
Keep reading to learn how to cost it out.