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Home Improvement Guide 2007
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Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Flooring: foundation of your home design

The kind of flooring you select for your home is basically the foundation upon which you build your design. The choices are endless: wood floors, carpeting, tile or stone. Which flooring is right for you and your family? Today, there are numerous reasons why homeowners should consider wood flooring in their home.

Because there are more than 50 species of domestic and exotic woods, the choices are endless. You can select a contemporary look, a rustic look, a Colonial look or a barn board style. You can even duplicate the flooring to look like Marie Antoinette's bedroom at the Palace of Versailles.

If the environment is important to you, wood flooring gives you the option of changing the floor's look by simply sanding it down. You can then bleach it or stain it to get the look you want.

However, when you remove a carpet and throw it away, it goes into a landfill. It doesn't disintegrate; it sits there because it's made of petroleum. The same is true of vinyl floors. Wood actually goes back into the ground and acts as compost.

For many people the most important reason to select wood flooring is the health benefit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Even more alarming, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States -- and children are the most vulnerable. Eliminating dust, mold and animal dander has a huge impact on the home environment. An EPA study found that wood floors don't harbor allergens or microorganisms. In addition, dust, mold and animal dander contamination are minimal in homes with wood floors.

There are also aesthetic and financial reasons to remodel with wood flooring.

"Wood lasts a lifetime, making it a good investment. It doesn't have to be taken out and replaced like other flooring alternatives," says Ed Korczak, CEO and executive director of the National Wood Flooring Association. "In addition, wood goes with any decor and increases the value of a home." In a recent survey conducted with real estate agents, 99 percent agreed that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell, 90 percent agreed that homes with hardwood floors sell for more money, and 82 percent agreed that homes with hardwood floors sell faster. For these reasons, whether you're an empty nester or have a young family, Korczak says wood flooring should be the choice for your home.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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