Hardwood has a timeless appeal. It earns it, too, with its classic aesthetic, easy coordination and diverse range of colors. Whether you’ve chosen cherry, walnut, maple, oak or another species for your renovations, you’re likely excited to beautify your home and increase its resale value. Then again, there are certain disadvantages of hardwood flooring that we should acknowledge, too.
While it’s important to remain positive and optimistic as you move forward with installation, you should consider everything involved, both the good and the bad. Only then will you feel fully confident in any home improvement decision.
Here are five disadvantages to consider when it comes to your investment. No flooring solution is perfect, of course, so it’s important to prioritize what’s most important to you. You don’t want to feel like you’re swimming in a sea of information.
1. Cost of Materials and Installation
If you’re in the planning stages of your remodeling project, you’ve likely crunched the numbers and arrived at your budget. This figure has to cover the cost of materials and labor, which is feasible for most homeowners, but if you’re working with less money, you’ll find you’re limited in your options.
The price of materials can range anywhere from $3 to $14 per square foot, depending on the species of wood you choose. You might have your heart set on cherry, but it could prove too expensive, and hiring a crew to install your flooring material only compounds the already high cost of hardwood.
2. Susceptibility to Fading and Damage
Your flooring is going to accrue damage over time. It’s inevitable. Try as you might, enthusiastic dogs, excitable children, sun exposure and accidental spills will scratch, mark, fade and warp your boards. There’s only so much you can do to prevent it from happening.
That said, you can take steps to preserve your flooring material and reduce the cost of maintenance. If you maintain an indoor humidity level between 45 and 65 percent, place area rugs in high-traffic areas and wash on a weekly basis, you’ll successfully mitigate damage. Just follow proper protocol.
3. Buckling and Crowning Problems
In terms of buckling and crowning, the fault falls on the installation crew. If they didn’t provide enough space between the wood planks for expansion with humidity, they’ll swell into each other and rise upward. It’ll result in an inconsistent look for your flooring and attract more wear and tear.
When searching your area for the right contractor, make sure you’re not settling for second best. You can avoid common problems with hardwood if you hire a professional with experience and a history of helping homeowners like yourself. Installation errors can prove costly, so research is critical.
4. Creaky Boards and Noise Issues
Some homeowners with hardwood flooring notice that boards begin to creak and complain with the slightest weight over time. While this is easy enough to overlook, noisy boards can get annoying after a while if you can’t ignore their constant squeaking.
More than that, if the hardwood is on the second story of a home, you might disturb the peace and quiet of other family members downstairs. There’s no reason to despair, however, because you can fix most squeaky floors with a basic set of tools and materials. Only moderate DIY experience is necessary to fix one of the most prevalent disadvantages of hardwood flooring.
5. Contaminants in the Finish
The presence of dirt or chemicals on flooring or embedded within its finish can cause subsequent coats to peel or flake. This type of issue usually occurs because of stain residue, either unseen or ignored before the final application of finish. It then leads to contamination, compromising the process.
You can still repair the damage, though it takes time and money to address the problem. You’ll have to sand your peeling floors down to the bare wood and start from the beginning. It often isn’t enough to abrade the floor and apply a new top coat, and seeking professional help is usually a good idea.
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Hardwood Can Have Disadvantages
You should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of hardwood and come to a decision. While it’s true you might encounter problems with buckling or creaky boards, most homeowners are satisfied with their cherry, walnut or maple flooring. With beautiful floors, it’s hard not to be happy that you made the investment.
Just make sure not to rush into anything, and look at both the positives and negatives before you buy. Whether you invest in hardwood or not, you can feel confident you’re making the best choice for your unique set of circumstances.