Hardwood – you get what you pay for

At our general meeting a few weeks ago I learned that hardwood makes up for a very large percentage of what we sell, it is also the category with the biggest jump in growth during the past year.

We launched a new line of engineered hardwood yesterday called Natures Walk and it is easy to see why this beautiful product is on the rise. With the improvements in engineered flooring it is possible to have stylish hardwood even in our dry Alberta climate.

It is refreshing to see lighter stains coming back into fashion. I still love the look of dark hardwood but don’t necessarily love the maintenance that comes with it (especially now that I own a white dog!) The pale stains are beautiful and will be absolutely timeless in formal or casual settings. Boards are wide and textured with exposed graining and stain variation to help disguise dents and scratches and we are seeing less smooth, glossy finishes in hardwood.

I want everyone to be prepared; so many people come in with that gleam in their eyes wanting hardwood only to be deflated upon learning the price. I think many people go off in search of ‘cheaper’ hardwood only to find that there is a lot of regular, boring stuff out there. The harsh reality about hardwood is that you get what you pay for, cheaper is NOT better where hardwood is concerned.

With an investment like hardwood, you want to do your homework and make sure you are getting the best product for your money.

I always tell people we don’t sell cheap hardwood, it sounds like a sales line but it’s true! There is so much garbage out on the market and to the uninformed consumer it all kind of looks the same. Even if you have saved a few thousand dollars you are still SPENDING thousands of dollars and what a disappointment it becomes when you end up with a second rate product or mouldings that don’t match.

Add up your square footage, add about 15% and multiply it by $15. This should give you a wide range of choices, finishes and species to choose from. If you are looking for a wide board or a textured finish it is always a good idea to allow premium dollars.

Do you have steps? Funky shapes or curved nosings? Expect to pay about $200 per step for custom nosings and carpentry work on your steps. The initial output is higher but regarding it in terms of longevity and value for your home will help you to adjust to the budget. If you pay the initial costs for putting hardwood on steps, consider the fact that you will never replace those steps in your lifetime, valuable!

I consider not having to lug a vacuum up and down the steps as very valuable.

Aim to get the hardwood you want, not just the one you think you can afford. Even if you do less area but buy a product that guarantees quality the long-term satisfaction will be greater.

I like to compare it to chocolate, you can buy a one pound Easter bunny full of wax and preservatives or you can buy one delectable square of Callebauts finest decadent melt in your mouth chocolate and savor the experience.

The decision is up to you.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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