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Beautiful Renewable Hardwood Flooring

Written by Mike Caroll, owner of 
M P Caroll Hardwood
Imagery by Mark Dellas

Some environmentally conscious consumers may not view hardwood flooring as an environmentally friendly choice when considering new flooring for their homes. I’ve been in the hardwood flooring business since 1985 and have witnessed the evolution of many flooring products specifically designed to be eco-friendly.
    Cork, bamboo and engineered hardwood floors are a few that remain very popular today. I’ve installed them all and believe they are all good choices in the “green floor” category. I also believe that good old-fashioned tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring is the best choice for longevity, considering that it can be resurfaced many times. Over the past 30 years, we have sanded and refinished thousands of existing wood floors throughout Western New York, giving them new life and another 20 or 30 years of service
to the homeowner.
    Hardwood flooring is one of the oldest flooring materials there is, dating back to the 1600s, and it never goes out of style. Today and yesterday’s solid ¾” hardwood flooring can last hundreds of years with routine resurfacing, usually about every 20 years. Once the floor starts showing its age with scratches, dullness and discoloration, it is due for refinishing. We can restore most old wood floors to their original appearance once we remove the years of wear and tear with our heavy-duty floor sanding equipment.
    If our client desires a new look, the floors can be stained a different color before applying the protective top coats. The process can be repeated up to 10 times over the life of the floor, making it quite possible for a lifespan of about 200 years! Locally, not many homes are still standing after two centuries; however, there are homes here in Western New York dating back to the mid-to late 1800s that we’ve gone into and brought the original old floors back to life.
    One interesting thing we usually find in
those very old homes is that many different species of wood were used in the same floor. The men and women who built their homes back then harvested the trees at the site where the home was erected and were limited to using what was there.
    By today’s standards, not many floor coverings can compete with the renewable qualities of hardwood. Most other flooring materials will be replaced many times over the same period that the hardwood flooring will last. Most floor refinishers charge by the square foot. Prices will vary depending 
on the age and style of the floor. Newer high-tech finishes and pattern floors will cost more than traditional older strip or plank floors. Plan on spending between $3 and $5 per square foot for sanding, staining and three coats of finish. The typical project length of time is one week, depending on the size and complexity of the job. Due to dust, odor and general disruption, it is a good idea to move out of the house or plan a vacation while the work is taking place. 

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