You can’t discuss buying or renovating homes and condos these days without uttering the word “upgrade” somewhere along the way.
Hardwood flooring ranks among the top features buyers choose to install after purchasing a new home, says Kevin O’Shea, director of Monarch’s Ottawa housing operation.
“I’d say 80 per cent of our homeowners will upgrade to it from standard broadloom [carpet],” says O’Shea, who oversees construction of homes in communities across the city, including the company’s large golf-course development, rated one of the best in the city.
Hardwood is a hot trend for a number of reasons. One is air quality and ease of maintenance, requiring only a quick vacuum or sweep and wipe-down; whereas a carpet must be steam cleaned to remove most dirt and bacteria.
“My personal belief is hardwood is a cleaner environment in the home,” says O’Shea. “Carpets and broadlooms have been criticized for allergens, holding dust, sort of prohibiting the cleanliness of the interior atmosphere of the home.”
The second reason is all about fashion and the influential power of design media, including magazines, television and the Internet that do a lot of their photo shoots with hardwood. This drives home the perception that gleaming wood flooring translates into healthy and stylish living.
Yet making the decision to go with hardwood flooring is only the first step in what can become a complicated exercise. Walking into a flooring store or design centre can spur a multitude of overwhelming choices. There are many material options — domestic to exotic woods.
The form — engineered, prefinished, solid and laminates — to a raft of colours, widths and final finishes. Buyers also have to consider the purpose.
Will the floor serve a formal role in a low-traffic area, including the dining area or master bedroom? Or will it have to weather the nicks and gouges of a high-traffic area such as hallway or a recreation room where children and pets are certain to play.
In that case, scratch- and dent- resistant laminate, which is essentially coated melamine flooring with an image of wood on it, may be a practical option. It’s also about 50 per cent cheaper than real wood. Read More