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Hardwood Floors - How To Save Money Using The Grading System

Feb 4, 2008
If you're in the market for hardwood floors but haven't yet decided whether to hire a hardwood floor contactor or do it yourself, then you might want to consider some of the following facts. Today you can find at least 50 species of trees, both domestic and exotic, available for your flooring needs. They come in a broad range of colors and hardness. Prices can vary from the low to the higher ranges.

A grading system has been developed by the Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association. It's used to determine the quality of unfinished hardwood flooring. It uses color, grain and marking as criteria. In the upper price ranges the most and often the best grades are marked "clear" and "select".

It seems that people in today's marketplace are looking for more natural appearing woods, those that show the knots and other more natural variations or even show the texture.

When you buy hardwood flooring planks you can take them home and finish them there or you can buy flooring that is already pre-finished. Pre-finished woods can cost you more but can save you money on labor. That's because it is easier to put the planks down and not as messy as installing the standard floor. If you do decide to buy them, be aware that pre-finished woods are not graded. Ask for a sample plank so you can take it home, lay it down and see how it will look. This way you will avoid making a big mistake and save yourself the agony of making a wrong decision besides saving you money if it doesn't work out the way you want it to.

To get an idea of what your hardwood flooring will cost from the most bargain prices to the most expensive - the lower end of less expensive flooring costs about $1 a square foot. Usually domestic red oak comes in 2 1/4 inch strips, has a lot of flaws and the boards come in various lengths. This type at this price you would have to finish yourself.

A step up from this is a high-grade red oak. This type if the most commonly used hardwood by both homeowners in the U.S. and builders alike. It costs about $5 a square foot.

If you can spend more money, say up to $10 per square foot, then you have much better choices. You can use wider planks and exotic or more expensive domestic hardwoods like American walnut. You can get three inch wide strips with a natural finish.

If you can afford to get the more expensive of both the domestic and exotic hardwoods, custom designs and even hand-scraped hardwood then you can get these in three, five or seven inch planks. Cost is about $20 per square foot.

If you prefer not to install your flooring yourself, you can hire a hardwood floor contractor and buy the unfinished flooring of your choice. Cost will vary depending on the contractor you choose. This type of skilled labor is very labor intensive. The result however will be exotic and will not have a standard-looking appearnace.

Regardless of your choice, whether you decide to hire a hardwood floor contractor or do it yourself, you won't be making a mistake by installing hardwood flooring in your home or office.
About the Author
For more info on buying the best hardwood floors online and offline or search free local contractor database go to http://www.Hardwood-Floor-Contractor.com for money-saving tips, help, facts, reviews and advice including do-it-yourself on all types of hardwood flooring
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