Sunday, June 19, 2011

Exotic Hardwoods: Beauty That Lasts a Lifetime

The term exotic sets imaginations in motion with vivid pictures of far-away tropical islands, clear blue oceans and miles of pristine white sandy beaches. Where these images of imagination are not far from reality, exotic tropical islands are the home of some of the most specialized trees in the world of which exotic hardwood flooring material is produced. With full maturity of these ancient trees reaching extreme heights, exotic hardwoods are also found in fallen trees that have sunken to the bottom of rivers, often producing some of the most exclusive hardwoods in existence today. With preservation of all natural habitats of great concern, exotic hardwoods are harvested by governing authorities to maintain present ecology of the country of origin.

Exotic hardwoods offer many striking appearances that are visibly distinctive from hardwood flooring materials not found in North America. exotic woods evoke an all natural and unique design rich with deep textures that are breath-taking and inspiring. Where exotic hardwoods are not for everyone, those home and business owners that are more conscious about the appearance of their home or place of business often install exotic woods, setting their home or business apart from all others.

According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) residential real estate agents agree that homes and businesses with exotic wood flooring installed are easier to sell while increasing the overall value of the property, with higher listing and closing figures. exotic hardwoods installed correctly never have to be replaced and retain the highest quality and durability of all available hardwood flooring material.

Other than wall colors, floor finishes often set the tone of the room which is immediately noticed by all who enter. Floors lacking character with poor color selection; detract from other features of the room with appearances of a smaller room compared to actual square footage. When selling a home or place of business, the condition and appearance of present floors is often a determining factor in a successful or rejected sale. Floors are more than walking surfaces designed for comfort or convenience; floors represent pride in ownership and individual characteristics.

Exotic hardwoods are naturally more expensive than traditional North American hardwoods due to the complexity of the hardwood material and limited availability of certain species. On a national average, exotic woods often cost as much as two times more per square foot than conventionally installed North American hardwood flooring materials. However, exotic woods are more than exquisite flooring with deep rich tones and unusual colors, exotic woods are an investment in a home or place of business providing comfort, increased strength with superior durability.

Installation of exotic hardwoods should be professionally installed due to the complexity of the wood and initial cost per square foot. The additional cost per square foot of $3-$4 depending on selected species and location, charged by professional, experienced installers, is well worth the time and additional investment. Installed in either a glued-nailed or floating floor fashion, professional installers will recommend the correct method of installation that will provide many years of care-free use.

Exotic hardwoods are more than a means of covering existing subfloors, exotic hardwoods are floors with exquisite beauty that last a lifetime

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hard-Scraped Hardwood Flooring: Restoration of History

Throughout History hardwood flooring has undergone dramatic changes from the meticulous hard-scraped hardwood polished floors of majestic plantations of the Deep South, to modern day technology providing maintenance free wood flooring designed for comfort and appearance. The hand-scraped hardwood floors of the South, depicted charm with old rustic nature and character that was often associated with this time era. To date, hand-scraped hardwood flooring is being revitalized and used in up-scale homes and places of businesses to restore the old country charm that once faded into oblivion.

As the name implies, hand-scraped flooring involves the retexturing the top layer of flooring material by various methods in an attempts to mimic the rustic appearance of flooring in yesteryears. Depending on the degree of texture required, hand scraping hardwood material is often accomplished by highly skilled craftsmen with specialized tools and years of experience perfecting this procedure. When properly done, hand-scraped hardwood floors add texture, richness and uniqueness not offered in any similar hardwood flooring product.

Rooted with history, these types of floors are available in finished or unfinished surfaces. The majority of the individuals selecting hand-scraped hardwood flooring elect a prefinished floor to reduce costs per square foot in installation and finishing labor charges, allowing for budget guidelines to bend, not break. As expected, hand-scraped flooring is expensive and depending on the grade and finish selected, can range from $15-40$ per square foot and beyond for material only. Preparation of the material is labor intensive adding to the overall cost per square foot dramatically. Recommended professional installation can and often does increase the cost per square foot as well, placing this method of hardwood flooring well out of reach of the average hardwood floor purchaser.

With numerous selections of hard-scraped finishes available, each finish is designed to bring out a different appearance making it a one-of-a-kind work of art. These numerous finish selections include:

Time worn aged, dark coloring stain application bringing out grain characteristics
Wire brushed, providing a highlighted "grainy" effect with obvious rough texture
Hand sculpted, smoother distressed uniform appearance
French Bleed, staining of edges and side joints with a much darker stain to give a bleeding effect to the wood
Hand Hewn or Rough Sawn, with visible and noticeable saw marks

Regardless of the selection made, scraped flooring cannot be compared to any other available flooring material based on durability, strength and visual appearance. Limited by only the imagination and creativity, several wood species can be used to create unusual floor patterns, highlighting main focal points of personal libraries and art collections.

The precise process utilized in the creation of scraped floors projects a custom look with deep color and subtle warm highlights. With radiant natural light reflecting off this type of floor, the effect of beauty and depth is radiated in a fashion that fills the room with solitude and serenity encompassing all that enter. hand-scraped hardwood floors speak of the past, a time of decent, a time or war and ambiguity towards other races and the blood- shed so that all men could be treated as equals. More than exquisite flooring, hand-scraped hardwood flooring is the restoration of History.