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Home Improvement Guide 2007
Start improving
Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Flooring: foundation of your home design
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"You can have any look you want on a wood floor and stain it anything you want on a job-site finish," says Wayne Cotton, immediate past president of the National Wood Flooring Association and president of Design Flooring Distributors in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Most often with a job-site finish, there is a one-year warranty. The key for the homeowner is to have the job done by a good company.

Job-site floors cost more money because of the labor needed to put the finish on the floor. For example, in South Florida, the cost is $4 a square foot, but in Central Florida it may be $3 a square foot, while in North Florida it ranges as low as $2 a square foot. The regional costs vary and tend to be more expensive in larger cities and surrounding suburbs. The wood itself doesn't vary that much in cost across the country, and there may be only a 10 percent to 15 percent price difference.

Cotton says more homeowners today are selecting prefinished floors. He adds: "Homeowners like the option of selecting a prefinished floor with a 20- to 25-year warranty with a stain that will hold." Furthermore, there is a wide price range on prefinished floors. For example, homeowners can pay as little as $2 or up to $13 per foot for a prefinished floor. Homeowners should understand the differences between these protective coatings on their floors. However, some species of wood only come in a particular glossy look. So, look around and find the look you want.

The harder the species, the more durable the wood will be for young families, says Cotton. He points out that American cherry and American black walnut are softer woods that would be used in a dining room or library or around the edges of a room where there is less traffic. Pine is another soft species. Cotton would recommend homeowners with children or pets to consider the oaks or maples as well as the exotic Brazilian cherry and Brazilian walnut. "When the 100-pound dog passes away and the kids move out, you can always finish the floor with a different look," he says.

Cotton also recommends that these homeowners get a hand-scraped or sculptured wood floor. Hand-sculptured floors have a texture to them. The more the floor is used, the better it looks. With a hand-scraped textured floor, the soft grain is taken out and the harder grain is left.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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