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Many of us grew up with hardwood floors in our homes.  Wood floors offer a unique warmth and charm, coupled with durability.  They are extremely popular because they are likely to look good for decades, and actually become more beautiful as they age. With that in mind, natural hardwood floors are not a short-term investment, but with proper care, you can expect them to last the lifetime of your home.  As an added resource for you to explore, please visit Shaw Floors, one of our major flooring suppliers, for in-depth information about all facets of hardwood.

The choices in natural woods are many:  different styles and sizes, different finishes–from smooth to highly distressed, varied stains, and of course, different species (the types of trees the wood is harvested from).  Floors featuring oak, cherry, mahogany and even exotic wood types are available.  Darker woods and finishes give a more formal feel, while lighter woods tend towards informal.  Manufacturers offer artistic finishes, washes, antiquing, and even painted woods, that offer you many unique design choices.  You will also have a choice of edges—squared, beveled or eased.  Beveled edges are attractive but tend to capture dust and grit, which can cause scratches in the wood.

Also, mixing species of woods can create a one-of-a-kind floor and add some exciting contrasts.  Or, consider combining wood with other flooring types (tile, slate or stone).  The design possibilities are endless.  Custom designs extend to specialty inlays, wood medallion insets, or contrasting borders.  Anyway you choose, hardwood floors can be crafted to reflect your highly personal style.

Keep in mind that you can choose from “custom wood floors”, which are finished in place by trained craftsmen, or factory finished hardwoods, which are given several wear layers during the manufacturing process for durability (and are more cost effective).  Hardwood floors can be refinished if ever there is a need to renew the floor.  And individual planks can always be routed and replaced if needed.  For that reason, it’s always a good idea to order a few extra planks just in case they are needed in the future.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Moisture needs to be a consideration when it comes to hardwood floors.  Even though the wood is sealed, you should never clean your floors with water (sweeping or vacuuming without a beater bar is recommended), and excessive spills should be cleaned up immediately. 

Wood is a natural material and is subject to expansion and contraction if exposed to extreme climate changes.  Most solid woods contract during low humidity (cold weather months), sometimes leaving spaces between boards.  However in summer months, the hardwood will generally expand because of increases in humidity.  Good installation techniques can minimize these effects, but it’s always a good idea to try to stabilize the home environment through temperature and humidity control. 

HARDWOOD SUMMARY:  There is a lot to consider before choosing hardwood floors.  With appropriate care and attention, they will give you a lifetime of exceptional beauty.  Common sense care and a stable, climate-controlled environment will ensure the best possible performance of your natural hardwood floors for years to come. 


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