While installing wooden flooring may seem like an expensive and daunting undertaking, it’s one of the best way to lend a sense of true elegance and luxury to your home, while also increasing its resale value.

Real or fake?

Once you decide you want to install solid wood flooring, the first question you have to ask yourself is if you want real wood flooring or laminate wood flooring.

Laminated wood flooring is made of melamine resin and fiber board materials with a photographic applique layer designed to make it look like wood under a clear protective layer. Laminate is more durable than carpeting, easier to clean than wood, requires less upkeep than real wood, and at less than one dollar per square foot, a truly affordable option.

But you may be a traditionalist who insists on real wood. Even then there are many possibilities you have to consider.

What kind of wood?

Real wooden flooring isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. If you find a good sale, you can get unfinished solid wood flooring for less than two dollars per square foot. Of course then you have to take into account the time, expense, and mess of finishing the wood in your home. If you wait for the right time, you can probably find finished wood, such as American cherry wood, for less than three dollars per square foot, and save yourself the bother. From there, the prices only go up. There are exotic wood floors that sell for outrageous sums.

A few things to consider.

Even after you decide you want real wood and whether you want to buy finished or unfinished wood, there are a few things to consider. The color of the wood can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. A light colored wood such as ash will make your home seem larger and more open, while a darker colored wood can lend your home a sense of elegance and luxury.

Wood floors are also sensitive to light and can fade over time. Obviously, you can help prevent this by properly maintaining the wood, but it will still eventually happen. Fading is less obvious with light wood. If you have a home with many large windows in an area that gets a lot of sunlight, you may want to take this into consideration.

If you are redoing your floors, but keeping all your old furnishings, you may also want to consider what shade of wood will work with what you have. You may even want to consult a designer. It adds cost, but single consultation is relatively affordable, and may save you an even more expensive, and ugly, mistake.

Do it yourself or hire a pro?

Once you’ve decided on your materials, it’s time to figure out whether you want to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional. Cheap wooden flooring requires less expert knowledge than plumbing or electrical work, but that doesn’t mean that a professional might not be worth it.

Engineered flooring installers generally earn from about $15 per hour up, depending on your area. If you are using expensive wood, it quickly becomes worth it to use a professional who will probably be able to damage and waste less wood than a do-it-yourselfer.

But, if you do decide to do it yourself, don’t despair. If you’ve decided on a laminate floor, they are often quite easy to install. Some are literally just glued down. Check with the manufacturer though, as different laminates require different installation methods and using the wrong method could produce disastrous results.

If you decide to install solid wood floors on your own, get yourself a good book on the subject, the right tools, and start in an area of your home that is seen less frequently than the rest, as you will get better as you practice. You might even consider starting in a closet, where it really won’t matter if the work isn’t absolutely perfect.

Whether you decide to do it yourself or trust the pros, go with real or fake wood, wooden tile flooring will ultimately give your home a sense of true elegance.

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