If you have small kids or pets at home, you might believe that installing wood floors is an impractical fantasy. After all, dings, scratches, spills, and messes will probably be inevitable. But does that mean you should avoid hardwood floors completely?
Not at all. To begin with, hardwood is resistant to spills as long as they are addressed straight away. And there are lots of options available to realistic homeowners who know they won't be able to maintain their flooring in pristine condition. The key is selecting the most appropriate flooring.
There are several factors to consider when looking for the appearance and longevity of hardwood floors yet need the capability to take the wear and tear. Some timber species, by way of example, are harder and more resistant to abrasion than many others. Some styles of flooring will conceal scrapes and pet hair greater. And a few textures and finishes may even make the dings appear dull.
Let us take a peek at a few of the ways parents and pet-owners -- or perhaps only people who anticipate high traffic -- may have great-looking hardwood flooring without having to constantly worry over them.
One excellent -- and currently fashionable -- choice for people who fear they will be unable to maintain their floors looking pristine is to apply one of a range of kinds of texturing. Texturing, as you may suspect, involves various methods to add feel to a floor.
Hand-Scraping and Wire-Brushing
Hand-scraping and wire-brushing are just two texturing methods that make a more rustic look. The end result can help mask any damage brought on by high traffic and pets. Pet hair and dirt are also less visible.
If you prefer the outdated look, you may also consider distressed floors. Distressing wood entails adding those marks, holes, and scrapes most homeowners seek to avoid. This helps attain a naturally-aged, lived-in look. And it clearly helps mask any damage from kids and pets.
Another style that has been trending for some time is reclaimed wood flooring. Engineered wood is lumber that's been salvaged from old buildings and repurposed to incorporate classic character to some other flooring. Pet hair and minor dings are not as likely to show on reclaimed timber, and it often has an attractive all-natural patina that could make it more resistant to scratching.
When choosing flooring to your space, a critical aspect to consider is the hardness of the timber. Generally, the harder the wood is, the less likely it's to be scratched or dented. Very hard woods are best for high-traffic places, whereas softwoods may wish to be avoided.
To discover how hard a particular species of timber is, you'll want to look at its Janka rating. This dimension indicates the amount of pounds of force necessary to push a 0.444-inch steel ball bearing halfway into a board. Therefore, the greater the Janka rating, the more difficult the wood species is.
This wood species are among the more popular and durable hardwoods used in flooring.
Red and White Oak
The two most well-known species of hardwood for flooring from the USA are red oak and white oak. Both species are tough enough to resist a fair amount of abrasion, yet are still easy to operate with. This combined with their prosperity helps make either species a more cost-effective option for high-wear homes. Additionally, quarter-sawn timber of both species have"beams" of grain (especially white oak) that are aesthetically pleasing and also can help mask minor dings and furry hair. Red oak has a Janka rating of 1,290 while white walnut has a score of 1,360.
Also called black maple or sugar maple, hard maple is -- as its name suggests -- a very tough domestic wood species. It's heavy, powerful, and extremely resistant to wear. Hard maple has a Janka rating of 1,450.
Hickory is an extremely hard wood that is abundant in the USA. Hickory is less commonly used for floors as there's a wide variation in color patterns from plank to plank. While hickory isn't a fantastic alternative for people who seek uniformity of look, its extreme durability can help withstand damage. What's more, its broad color variation will go a long way toward masking that damage if it does happen. Hickory has a Janka rating of 1,820
Some of the hardest woods in the world are located in tropical climates. All these are lumped together
in the USA under the overall heading of"exotic hardwoods." A few of these wood species are less commonly used for floors as a result of their higher price and lower availability. Yet their hardness makes them very resistant to wear, and their appealing colour and grain variation can also help mask minor marring.
Some favorite tropical species (ordered according to Janka rating) include sapele (1,500); merbau (1654); padauk (1,725); santos mahogany (2,200); jatoba, also called Brazilian cherry (2,820); ipe (3,510), teak (3,540), and cumaru (3540).
Along with texture and hardness, the style of flooring you choose can influence how visible abrasions and stains will be. A somewhat"outside the box" solution to high-wear homes would be to forego plank flooring in favor of parquet. Parquet flooring is installed by arranging small, uniform pieces of timber into repeating patterns across a floor.
While nothing regarding parquet makes it naturally more resistant to marring (again, that is more a consequence of hardness), the lively, replicating patterns of parquet will obviously divert from any minor dings and scrapes. This is much like the way a stain is not as noticeable on a shirt than on a simple one.
Character-grade forests are woods which are obviously marked with mineral streaks, knots, wormholes, and other"imperfections" On species like character grade white pine, as an instance, marring is not as noticeable among the markers that are abundant. Character-grade woods are frequently a good lower-cost solution for anyone looking for a rustic look. Softer species can also develop a natural patina fairly quickly, which both improves wear resistance and makes a floor more aesthetically pleasing.
If you are worried that, despite your best attempts, your floors will nevertheless be marred by heavy wear, then think about a periodic refinish/screening. Though refinishing won't remove all scratches and dents, it will partly fill them in and make them far less visible.
Think about a high-quality, low-gloss oil finish. This will offer you the look of new floors without the price and hassle of a replacement. In fact, with oil endings you need not refinish the entire floor -- partial oil refinishes can be performed on high-traffic regions to get your floors looking like new .
When choosing a finish, elect for matte. Not only is this on tendency, but any scrapes, dents, discoloration, and pet hair that might seem will be much less visible than on a shiny finish.
Floors for the Whole Family
The type of flooring that's ideal for your pet-friendly, high-traffic house will ultimately depend on the appearance you're going for, your finances, and your family situation.
Because of this, it is important to consult with experienced professionals. The expert artisans at Oshkosh Designs will work with you to think of the perfect floor design for your space. Call us today -- we'd like to hear about your dream flooring, your kids, and your pets!