When homeowners are building or renovating their homes, a common concern is future resale value. Investing in a new kitchen or an addition definitely improves living conditions for current occupants, but will it be worth it when they list their home for sale in the future?
When planning out these types of home improvement projects, you can recommend hardwood floors without any hesitation because they’ll improve or hold the market value of a home. Realtor.com estimates that homeowners can recover 70-80% of their investment in the costs of refinishing hardwood flooring. With that kind of confidence in a potential return on investment, it’s time to turn your focus to helping homeowners choose the right popular hardwood flooring option for them.
Benefits of Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are popular for many reasons. For people who enjoy entertaining or have children and pets, hardwood floors are easy to clean. If your customer cares about aesthetics, hardwood is an obvious choice — it makes any space instantly elegant. And while hardwood flooring can be costly upfront, it’s a durable option. If the floors are well-maintained, they can outlast carpet, vinyl or other options.
Type of Wood
Once your client has committed to hardwood floors, the first choice they face is what type of wood to use. When you’re choosing between the many woods used in flooring, the main consideration is soft versus hardwood. The harder the wood, the more durable it is. Of the domestic wood species, oak (red and white) is the most popular, although not the hardest. Hickory and maple are harder than oak and are ideal for active homes.
Pro tip: Bamboo has risen in popularity in the last couple of decades, but it’s technically a grass, not a wood. Some experts advise against it because it’s more affected by moisture than other flooring options. Unlike wood flooring, it can’t be sanded down or refinished.
Popular Hardwood Floor Color and Stain Options
After your client picks a wood option, it’s time to select the color and stain.
Your customer should go with a classic option that they’ll enjoy for years to come because refinishing hardwood floors is a costly and disruptive process.
Dark brown with cool undertones, or even black stains, are great for households without pets or children. These are also great for a higher budget because it requires more maintenance than other colors.
Lighter stains and white oak stains are also becoming more popular. These have become a go-to neutral because they bridge other colors extremely well, which is exactly why they work with a wide range of design styles.
Natural stains typically complement contemporary design styles. Plus, if your client is struggling to decide on a color or stain, natural is a safe choice — it never goes out of style.
Pro tip: Any hardwood floor choice with cool undertones will stand the test of time, both with style and sustainability.
Hardwood Floor Layout and Design Options
The final hardwood flooring decision to make is the layout of the floors. The latest trend is using wide planks to make a space look bigger. Additionally, parquet flooring is becoming more popular as a statement flooring piece.
Pro tip: Can’t decide between floor layout options? Mix and match! Using herringbone or chevron patterns in one area of a home to showcase that space and regular flooring around it.
If your client loves the look of a hardwood floor but doesn’t have the budget to make it happen, there are a few look-alike options to consider.
Engineered wood floors aren’t as durable as solid hardwood, but they’re still a good alternative. They can be less expensive to install depending on your customer’s sub-flooring situation. Engineered wood floors are also a great option for less lived-in rooms, like basements.
Vinyl flooring isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to advances in technology, modern vinyl flooring can very closely resemble wood, even down to mimicking wood grains. In addition to the look and feel, vinyl is a reasonable alternative to hardwood because of its durability and competitive cost. This resilient and low-maintenance flooring option is a great choice for anyone on a tight budget who isn’t committed to hardwood.
Another alternative to hardwood is hybrid flooring. This latest advancement in flooring technology brings together the best of non-hardwood and hardwood options. Hybrid flooring offers a thin top layer of real wood with a solid core backing underneath. This combination gives client’s a water, scratch and dent-resistant floor with a genuine real hardwood look and feel.
Pro tip: Hybrid flooring planks are a great, affordable solution for any clients with a busy lifestyle.
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