Choosing and Maintaining Wood Flooring
Wood flooring add to the value of a home and are popular with homeowners, as well as buyers who appreciate the beauty and durability of the material. But a few important factors must be considered when choosing and maintaining wooden floors.
Consider Your Lifestyle
The type of wood you choose, the species, can dramatically affect the look and maintenance needs of your flooring. Hardwoods like oak and maple are durable, but may not be suitable for areas with high levels of traffic or exposure to sunlight. Likewise, exotic species such as Brazilian walnut can be more susceptible to damage from heavy foot traffic or abrasions. If your budget is tight, refinishing solid wood can be more cost-effective than replacing it entirely.
The Natural Beauty of Wood Flooring: A Timeless Choice for Your Home
In the past, most solid wood floors were sold as commodity market floor coverings. The centuries-old wood grading system was critical of character marks, such as knot holes and pinholes, and the lower grades were often stained dark to hide their telltale flaws. Today, however, manufacturers use advanced glues and stringent manufacturing standards to meet NOFMA (National Wood Flooring Association) standards and produce quality products that are free of character marks.
The largest manufacturers of wood flooring in the United States are Armstrong World Industries, Tarkett, Mannington Mills, Inc. and Anderson Hardwood Floors. In 2004, Armstrong held the lead with sales of approximately $807 million and a 41 percent share of the U.S. wood flooring market. Tarkett and Mannington tied for second with sales estimates of $139 million each, or a 7 percent share each.