New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

What Kind of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Dogs?

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 09:11 AM

What Type of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Pets?

Flooring Trends - Tips from Custom Home Builders

Wondering what type of hardwood flooring will stand up best to your pets in your new Raleigh home? 

We get asked this question often - so here are some tips.  It really is a tough question, because all hardwood will eventually dent and scratch over time.  The only difference is how much it will scratch, and how visible will it be.  But hardwood flooring and pets can go very well together - and certainly makes cleaning pawprints and accidents much easier!

Best Hardwoods for Pets | 2012 Flooring Trends1.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Avoid Softer Woods

American Cherry, American Walnut, and Pine are very soft woods, and will dent quite easily, even if there are no pets or children in the home.   They also usually cost more, as there is a much smaller demand for these types of flooring.

Remember though, that this applies to American Cherry and Walnut, not Brazilian Cherry and Walnut, which are much harder. 

2.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Take Your Shoes Off

Pets take much of the blame for scratches on hardwood flooring, but their owners can sometimes be a worse culprit!  And it's not just high heels, either, but the pebbles and dirt that can get caught in any shoe.   Taking off your shoes when you walk in the door can keep your hardwood floors in much better condition, and make it so you won't have to refinish your floors nearly as often. 

3.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose Handscraped or Distressed Hardwoods

It's a "love it or hate it" kind of flooring, and perfect for more rustic homes.  The wood flooring is designed to already be scratched and dented!  But hardwood that has more knots and character can also blend those pesky little scratches better too.

Best Hardwoods for Pets | 2012 Flooring Trends4.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Harder Hardwood

Check your hardwood on the Janka scale.  Hickory can be a great choice, as can Brazilian Cherry.  But these hardwoods will also cost more per sq ft than a typical premium custom home builder's solid 3/4" oak hardwood, and MUCH more than other builder's 3/8" "hardwood" flooring.

5.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Hardwood with Lots of Grain

If you're looking to hide scratches, woods with stronger grain are a better choice.  Red oak is one of the best choices, and has stronger grain than white oak.  Red oak is 1290 on the hardness scale, but actually hides scratches better than Brazilian Cherry, which is 2350 on the Janka scale

6.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Matte Finish

The more glossy the finish, the more any imperfections will show up when light reflects off the floor.   Choose a satin finish when possible. 

7.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Lighter ColorWhat Kind of Hardwood Flooring is Best for Pets? | 2012 Flooring Trends

Lighter colors are better for pets, as scratches and gouges don't show up nearly as much as on dark colors. 

And if you've chosen oak, a naturally light wood, even if the finish is scratched off the scratch is more likely to blend with the rest of the floor.

8.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Choose a Solid Hardwood

Choosing a solid hardwood or high quality engineered hardwood means that, if all else fails, you will have the option of refinishing your hardwood floors should the pet damage over a number of years start to become too visible.  An inexpensive laminate hardwood floor cannot be refinished, and must be replaced.

9.  Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets: Bamboo may not be best

Some bamboo can be good for pets, but most is not.  Stained bamboo especially scratches very easily, and bamboo does not generally accept stains as well as oak does.  Strand bamboo is more expensive than carmelized bamboo, but can hold up better.  Even though bamboo is technically stronger than oak, it does tend to show dents much more easily than oak does.

10. Hardwood Flooring Tips for Pets:  Use Felt Pads Under Furniture

Felt pads are a lifesaver for furniture, especially furniture with wheels.  Even if the wheels don't scratch the hardwoods, grit, dirt, and small objects often get caught in those wheels and cause damage.  Felt pads can be important under rugs too - and definitely invest in a few area rugs or mats at every entrance.   The entrances to your home will wear down the fastest as rain, snow, salt, and dirt is tracked into the home, so a little extra protection up front is well worth it.

Hardwood flooring is still a great option for pets.  By following these easy tips, you'll have a hardwood floor that performs the way you need it to! 

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Contact Stanton Homes for floor plan ideas, to get a new home cost estimate, or find out more about building a custom home in North Carolina.

Tags: flooring trends, best floors for dogs, flooring for dogs, hardwood floor photos, hardwoods, hardwood flooring

How to Choose Types of Hardwood Flooring | Custom Home Tips

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, May 17, 2011 @ 20:05 PM

Top 6 Types of Hardwood Floors for Your New Home 

Until recently, hardwood floors were found only in high-end homes. 

Now, hardwood flooring is one of the most popular upgrades in any new home in the Raleigh area.

Advances in wood flooring during the past few years means that you can now have wood anywhere in your home.  Here are the top 6 different types of wood and hardwood floors. 


1. Solid Flooring

Solid wood flooring refers to anything that consists of one piece of wood from top to bottom.  Most often 3/4" inch thick, a solid wood floor can be sanded and refinished, making this an extremely long-lasting flooring.Hardwood Flooring

Oak is the most common natural hardwood flooring, in white or red.  A white oak is usually just a little more expensive, but red oak tends to pick up and reflect red tones in cabinetry and other nearby features. 

Maple, ash, hickory, and a variety of exotic woods are also available as solid flooring.

Custom builders often include at least several rooms with solid or engineered hardwood floors. 


2. Engineered Flooring

Hardwood Flooring Custom Homes

Still most often referred to as hardwood or wood flooring, this wood flooring product consists of layers of wood pressed together. Because grains run in different directions, it is more dimensionally solid wood.

 If the top layer is thick enough, it is possible for the flooring to be sanded and refinished. 



3. Site Finish

Solid or engineered wood floors can have stain and varnish applied in several ways. 

Custom Home Flooring

The most premium is "site finish".  Unfinished hardwood is installed in the home.  The buyer or builder chooses a stain color, which can be customized at the time of application by mixing one or more standard colors together.  This stain and a final coat of varnish is then applied to the floor over a period of 3-5 days.   




4. Prefinish

Individual pieces are pre-stained and varnisheTypes of Hardwood Flooringd, then installed in the home.  This process is quicker and less expensive than site-finished stain, but can be higher quality. 

Some manufacturers offer a 50 year warranty, and apply up to 12 coats of verathane.  


5. Wood Laminates

Wood laminates consist of a plywood base covered with a layer of veneer.  Plies and thicknesses vary, but three-ply, 3/8 inch flooring is most common (compared to 3/4 inch for solid hardwood). New Home Hardwood Floors

The veneer topping of wood laminate floors (commonly 1/8 inch thick) can be sanded and refinished 3 times, at most. 

Most manufacturers have 5-year finish warranties.   Laminate wood flooring can be a great way for a first time home buyer to experience the benefits of a wood floor.  It's a low-maintenance alternative to carpet, and great for pets. 


6. Synthetic Plastic Laminates

Usually 1/2 inch thick, plastic laminate flooring consists of a fiberboard center wrapped in top and bottom layers of high-pressure laminate - a tougher version of the same material used in many kitchen countertops. 

Hardwood Flooring in New Homes


These floors cannot be sanded or refinished. They usually come with 10 or 15 year manufacturer warranties. 

These laminate floors are very tough - they hold up very well, even under heavy traffic and pet claws.  Because they are inexpensive and last 10-15 years, even if they eventually need to be replaced the long term cost is low. 


Choosing Your Hardwood Floors

There are many colors, types, and styles of flooring within each of these categories.

Buyers should choose wood flooring based on both asthetic quality and cost (over the life of the home). 

Solid or engineered hardwood floors cost mCustom Hardwood Flooringore upfront, but are likely to last the lifetime of the home with proper care. 

Laminates will most likely need to be replaced at least several times over the life of the home, but can be lower cost and allow buyers a low-maintenence alternative to carpet.  


Talk to Your Builder

Buyers should ask their builder and/or real estate agent exactly what kind of flooring is standard in their new construction home, and which styles of flooring would be an upgrade.


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Tags: hardwoods, flooring, custom home tips, new homes raleigh, raleigh custom homes, custom homes raleigh nc

What Kind of Hardwood is Hardest? | Chapel Hill Home Builders Tips

Posted by Penn Hull on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 @ 07:11 AM

What Kind of Hardwood Flooring is the Hardest?

Tips from Chapel Hill Home Builders

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular upgrades in any new home in the Raleigh area.

But what kind of hardwood is hardest?

One way to find out is by using the Janka (or side) hardness test.  In this test, hardwoods are ranked by measuring the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball halfway into the wood.

This is one of the hardwood industry's best measures to determine whether a wood species will withstand denting and wear.  It can also determine how hard it will be to saw and nail a particular species.

The most common natural hardwood flooring is a solid oak, in white or red.  A white oak is usually just a little more expensive, but red oak tends to pick up and reflect red tones in cabinetry and other nearby features. 

What Hardwoods are Hardest | Chapel Hill Home Builders

Heart Pine is another more common natural hardwood flooring option.  It is much stronger than its pine cousins, coming very close to red oak in strength.  Heart pine can give any room beautiful character, and can be stained many different colors.  It is usually just a little more expensive than solid oak.

What Hardwoods are Hardest | Chapel HIll Home BuildersNatural bamboo usually registers at a 1380, or just slightly harder than oak flooring.  Natural bamboo can run several dollars more per square foot.

Brazilian Cherry and other exotic woods register highest on the hardness scale, but can also register highest on the cost scale.

As a general rule, the wider the individual hardwood plank, the less cost effective a particular choice will be.   

Each kind of hardwood is usually available as solid hardwood, engineered, or laminate. 

Determine your hardwood selection by working with a flooring specialist, who will work to provide you the best flooring options within your budget.

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Article copyright Stanton Homes 2010.   Provided for informational purposes only, Janka ratings courtesy   Photos represent a variety of new home closet trends, not all homes constructed by Stanton Homes. 

Tags: hardwoods, new home trends, chapel hill home builders