The home improvement industry uses a lot of resources. Not all of these resources, even if they are natural, are procured in an environmentally friendly way. Manufacturers are starting to become more aware of the impact that these practices are having on the environment and on us.
Cork – This is one of the most popular environmentally friendly flooring options available right now. Cork is harvested by taking the bark off of cork trees, which is very safe for the tree. A cork tree grows a completely new bark every 9 years, so a farm can continue to harvest bark and then let the trees grow the bark back again. When the bark is harvested, it’s used for wine corks, and then any excess cork is ground up and then pressed into cork boards or flooring. This beautiful flooring is environmentally sustainable and creates a warm, comfortable space for your home.
Bamboo – Bamboo is technically considered a grass that grows incredibly quickly. The major benefit to the environment in using bamboo flooring is that it’s easily sustainable. Compared to trees, which take years and years to grow to a large size, bamboo grows very quickly and is easy to replant. Bamboo is also extremely durable and looks just like wood.
Reclaimed Wood – Instead of cutting down new trees to make the boards for your flooring, recycle by using reclaimed wood! By taking wood from barns, warehouses, or factories that aren’t being used anymore, lumber mills can process the wood and retreat it to give it another life. These old boards can often look rustic, giving your floor more character. Additionally, reclaimed wood can often be wood that was farmed from trees that were older and stronger than wood farmed in recent years.
There are many amazing environmentally friendly materials you can use in your home. Cork, bamboo, and reclaimed wood are just three of the most popular ones. Even home buyers are looking for these elements in homes that they purchase, and new home builds are looking for more ways to incorporate environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. Kruper flooring would be happy to reduce your carbon footprint and increase the environmentally friendly value of your home today!
Hardwood floors are immensely popular in modern home design. While they are definitely not a new invention, their popularity has gone up and down throughout the years. Over time, some myths about hardwood floors have started. Kruper can set these misconceptions straight with the hardwood facts.
Myth #1: Hardwood floors need to be waxed frequently. When hardwood floors were first invented, they needed to be waxed regularly to maintain their color and durability. This isn’t the case anymore! The first “no wax” floors were designed in the 1930s. Since then, hardwood floors are treated and finished for ultimate durability. Maintenance is easy! Simply clean your hardwood floors when they are dirty with a hardwood floor cleaner. Professional re-coating is only necessary every 5 to 7 years.
Myth #2: Hardwood floors are cold. The truth is that hardwood floors provide warmth through their aesthetic look and their insulating abilities. Wood is in fact, a great insulator of heat!
Myth #3: Hardwood floors are not good for kitchens. This myth started from the misconception that the presence of messes like spilled milk or increased moisture would damage hardwood floors. The truth is that spills on hardwood floors are easily cleaned. Placing area rugs or mats in front of areas with high moisture, like the sink, can prevent moisture damage.
Myth #4: Hardwood floors are noisy. Hardwood floors can be a little louder than carpets but consider other factors in your room that can change the noise level in your room. Furniture material, curtains, and the size of your room are even bigger factors in your noise level!
Myth #5: Hardwood floors are expensive. The installation price of hardwood floors is higher compared to carpet or other types of flooring. Consider how long your hardwood floors will last! It’s important to see hardwood flooring as an investment. It will last more than several installations of carpeting and beyond!
Some home renovations pay off much better than others! Home improvement projects geared towards a homeowner’s tastes have the least positive effect on asking price. A specially designed art studio will not appeal to most buyers but projects like kitchen and bath renovations will! Home buyers love to see a brand new kitchen, gleaming appliances, hardwood floors, and beautiful landscaping.
Buyers also care about features they can’t necessarily see from a home listing like a new siding and a new furnace, but they place value on these repairs.
Many home improvements add value both for the current homeowner and for when it is time to sell. Installing hardwood floors in a home increases home value significantly but are also a beautiful aesthetic for the current owner, along with being easier to clean and maintain than other flooring types like carpet. It is easy to refinish or change the color of a hardwood floor. Carpet is a home improvement that a homeowner is more likely to consider right before selling their house. Carpet is harder to keep clean and freshly installed carpet may be more appealing to a buyer than carpet that is several years old or older.
Your budget may help you decide where to spend your money on home improvements. If you are going to be in your house for longer, your preferences may decide this but if you are selling soon you may lean towards improvements that increase the visual appeal of your home. A dated kitchen or bathroom, dingy paint, or stained carpet may be where you start first!
Renovations with Best Return on Investment
When polled, a survey of buyers much preferred hardwood floors in the living room and dining room and slightly preferred hardwoods to carpet in bedrooms (55% to 45%). Hardwood floors are also slightly favored in the kitchen over tile floors. Younger buyers vastly prefer hardwood floors
Major Bathroom Remodel
Everyone loves a new bathroom! Bathrooms tend to have an 85% return on investment, while also bringing improved function to the current homeowner. Dual vanities, a deep soaking tub, and storage are all valued by buyers!
Replacement Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding has an 89% return on investment. It may not be the first thing a buyer notices but it adds a lot to a home’s asking price, typically $8,000 more.
Major Kitchen Renovation
Kitchen remodels are very expensive, but tend to add a lot to your home’s asking price. A kitchen remodel can bring heightened function, style, and organization to the current homeowner along with generally having an 81% return on investment.
Hardwood floors can be installed over concrete floors! Homeowners have heard warnings about excess moisture build up from putting hardwood floors over concrete but proper installation techniques can allow you to have beautiful hardwood floors with a concrete sub-floor.
Hardwood floors work best over concrete if the concrete slab is above grade or on grade, which means it is above or level with the ground. It may be very difficult to control the moisture of a concrete floor that is below grade. In this case, an engineered wood floor, made of wood glued together, may be a stronger choice.
As a natural product, wood is affected by fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Wood fibers expand and contract with these natural fluctuations, but certain types of wood and certain places on the tree are less prone to these movements. High quality wood is less likely to expand and contract in response to moisture and so is wood cut from the center of the tree. Wood cut from the center of the tree contains a higher percentage of vertical grain and is generally considered to be more durable and of a higher quality.
There are some steps you can take to make sure your hardwood floors put in over concrete will stay beautiful over time.
1.Hardwood from the supplier should be properly dried, with usual dry times being 6-12 months of air drying followed by kiln drying.
- Wood should have 7-10 days to acclimated in your home, with a relative humidity of 45 percent.
- Ask your flooring provider about stress reliefs, which are the ridges on the underside of the wood which help reduce movement.
In addition to the moisture of the wood, it is also important to keep in mind the moisture of the concrete slab. Concrete must be completely dry or the hardwood floors will get ruined from moisture build-up. The National Wood Flooring Association offers moisture guidelines and testing that can be used to determine if there is any moisture buildup in the space.
Whether installing yourself or working with a professional, once you know the height allowance, you have several options for installing your hardwood floors over concrete.
You can glue directly to the concrete, with ½ to ¾ inch height allowance. Using an adhesive product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to spread adhesive onto the concrete, then place your floor planks directly onto the adhesive. Make sure to leave at least 12 hours of drying time before finishing the floor.
A second option is to place a layer of polyethylene onto the concrete as a moisture barrier and building a plywood sub-floor. Shoot small concrete nails into ½ inch plywood to apply directly to concrete and install hardwood plank floors over this with nailing and gluing. A plywood sub-floor tends to be the better choice if you are using planks wider than 4 inches.
Experienced flooring professionals pay close attention to managing moisture and minimizing the expansion and contractions of wood flooring. Our flooring specialists are here to help you, from start to finish. Contact us today!
Choosing the type of flooring you would like in your home is only the beginning. If you have settled on hardwood flooring, your next steps are choosing the type of wood, grain, finish, and plank size. Our flooring specialists are here to assist you with each of these steps, starting with plank size!
Hardwood floor manufacturers offer many plank width options to choose from. 2-3 inch widths used to be considered the standard size but larger widths have become increasingly popular. Homeowners can opt for a uniform look where all the planks are the same size or they can choose to have a random assortment of plank widths. Plank widths of 5-8 inches have become more popular, but widths as high as 10 inches are possible if you have enough space!
Choosing the width that is right for you depends on a few factors:
Keep your budget in mind when choosing a plank width. Random width planks are typically less expensive than uniform planks, since the manufacturer will spend less time sorting through their inventory or refashioning wider planks to be a uniform size for your project. Random width planks also utilize the wood better and more efficiently.
Are you adding hardwood floors to improve the resale value of your home? If you plan to sell your house in the future, consider what is currently popular in the real estate market. Floor planks that are too narrow or too wide should be ruled out since either of these choices may not appeal to home buyers or stay trendy. The current most popular plank width is 7 inches so staying in the 5-8 inch width range is a safe option. Ultimately, go with a look that you love but keeping an eye on resale value is a smart choice for those who plan to sell their home soon.
Look and Feel of Your Home
Very wide planks can make an area of your home feel more spacious. Wider planks also have less seams in the floor, a look which many people prefer. Wider planks can also give a space a rustic feel, which may make them a great option in a farmhouse-style kitchen or sunroom. Wider planks are also an excellent choice if you are renovating a historic home but want to choose a look true to the age of the house. A random assortment of widths looks very authentic and natural and works well in a modern space or a rustic one.
There are so many options to choose from, it is okay to be unsure of what you want in your hardwood floors! Contact one of our flooring specialists today, we are here to help you every step of the way!