Hardwood flooring brings nature to our homes, looks excellent, and isn’t too hard to maintain. Flooring experts say if you take care of it properly, it can outlive you and your family. But just knowing that doesn’t say too much about hardwood. Then, let’s see what else we should know about solid hardwood floors. 

We discuss hardwood flooring, its costs for materials and labor, and its pros and cons. This will give you a better idea of hardwood flooring in case you plan to renovate or invest in this type of flooring.

What is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood flooring is made from natural wood, harvested from forests worldwide, processed, and cut into planks of different sizes. 

Hardwood can be domestic or exotic. Domestic hardwoods are sourced from the US or Canada. Popular species include oak, walnut, maple, and cherry. Exotic hardwoods are usually harvested from tropical regions such as Brazil, Southeast Asia, Africa, or Australia. Popular examples are Brazilian cherry, mahogany, and teak. 

Exotic hardwoods are sought after for their striking colors and grain patterns but come at a higher price point. 

Shop By Brand

Take a look at the floor selections offered by our most trusted brands and find the one that excels at meeting your needs.

Pros of Hardwood Flooring

Homeowners usually talk about these benefits of hardwood flooring:

  1. Look: There is something timeless about the look of hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors look great and bring character to every setting. From living rooms to bedrooms, you can enjoy the look and feel of natural wood
  2. Variety: There are many hardwood options to choose from. With different types, different looks, and different finishes (glossy, matte, distressed), you can play around with each option and pick something that will look best in your home.
  3. Durability: Hardwood floors are strong and durable, great for heavy foot traffic or households with kids or pets. If you drop anything on them, they don’t break like tiles and won’t chip or peel like laminate.
  4. Maintenance: You won’t overthink cleaning and maintaining your hardwood floors. Unlike carpet, you can easily clean dirt or spills with a wet mop or a vacuum cleaner. Use your vacuum’s “hardwood setting” for this.
  5. Longevity: As we mentioned earlier, if you maintain them properly, hardwood floors can last a lifetime. Another benefit is that they can be sanded down and refinished multiple times. You can change the color of your floor if you get tired of it or even fix scratches and dents.
  6. Better air quality: Hardwood floors reduce allergens. Thanks to their non-electromagnetic nature, hardwood won’t collect dust and other allergens like carpets do. This makes them a great choice for people with allergies and respiratory problems. 
  7. Increases home’s value: Some real estate surveys show that homes with hardwood floors sell faster and at higher prices. That makes sense since people love hardwood floors. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that 54% of home buyers would pay more for a home with hardwood floors.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring

No flooring is perfect, and hardwood flooring is no exception. Before investing in hardwood floors, consider these drawbacks:

  1. Can be expensive: If you are looking for affordable flooring, hardwood might not be it. Compared to vinyl or laminate flooring, hardwood is more like an investment that pays off in the long run. If the cost is a deciding factor and you like hardwood flooring, check out engineered hardwood flooring. It’s hardwood flooring but made more durable and provides decent moisture resistance.
  2. When it comes to moisture resistance, hardwood’s greatest enemy is moisture. You should avoid installing solid hardwood in places like bathrooms, basements, or any other room prone to temperature fluctuations or exposure to water. Wood absorbs water and swells, or if it’s too hot, it will shrink and deform. This is just how wood works. You will also need to make sure there is no water seepage or prolonged exposure to moisture since this may cause molding (followed by nasty smells).
  3. Can be noisy: Hardwood is not good at absorbing sound, which often causes an echo effect in the room, especially in big rooms with high ceilings. As the floors age, they tend to expand and contract, producing squeaks and creaks with each step. Proper installation and maintenance will make your floors less noisy in the long run.
  4. Easy to scratch/dent: All wood flooring is prone to scratching and denting, so proper care is important here. It’s also prone to staining since wood absorbs liquid well. This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to ever spill lemonade on your floor by accident; it just means you should clean it up as soon as possible to prevent staining and potential swelling this may cause.
  5. Can be slippery: Hardwood floors can be slippery, especially when waxed or polished. Slipping can be problematic for small kids, elderly people, or pets. Choose non-slip finishes (matte or satin) if this can be an issue for you or your loved ones.

Hardwood Flooring is an Investment

Hardwood is expensive, but not all hardwood types (wood species) cost the same. 

Depending on the type and the grade of hardwood, the price ranges from $4 to $15 per square foot. This price is for materials only. If you hire a pro to install it, you can expect to pay between $3 and $10. The total cost varies depending on the local labor rates, the complexity of the job, and whether or not you need some additional services such as:

  • Hardwood finishing: If you get unfinished hardwood, finishing costs between $3 and $8 per square foot.
  • Removing the old floors costs $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot.
  • Subfloor preparation: If your subfloors need to be repaired or replaced, the cost usually ranges from $2.20 to $4.80.

If you are a DIY person, you can save money by doing some of these tasks yourself. On the other hand, paying a pro will save you time, effort, and potential mistakes during installation. 

Final Thoughts

Hardwood flooring is unlike any other flooring type since it can add value to your home. 

With a great variety of wood species and grain patterns, each floor is unique and brings character and elegance to any room. Being able to refinish it occasionally is a big plus, too, and with proper maintenance can last for a century or two. 

All this sounds great, but doesn’t mean much if it’s not the best fit for you. 

Ask yourself. Do you need durable flooring that is easy to maintain? Do you want to impresses your friends and family each time they come for a visit? Do you plan on selling in the future and want a flooring that will help you sell faster and get a better price? If you answered yes to any of these, then consider giving hardwood flooring a chance.

About The Author

Lauren Moore

May 6, 2024

Proud flooring aficionado and office dog mom, "Flauren" has been a professional writer and editor for more than a decade (though she still maintains her magnum opus was "The Day it Snowed Slurpees," written at the age of 6).