Your floors make up the second largest area in your home, and their appearance is only limited by your imagination! Hardwood floors, a beautiful, natural product, are so popular now and are set apart from other floor coverings by their appearance and durability. 

When it comes to wood floors, your options are endless. Here are some considerations:

Finished or unfinished? Unfinished is a good option if you want a custom stain applied before the final finish or to match a specific color. Prefinished comes from the factory already sanded and sealed, making the installation process go much faster, and the floors are ready to be walked on immediately.

Stain color is a personal choice. Take a look around your room and note the different colors in the room. The majority of stain colors (shades of brown) will go with most any decor, but some can be very "owner specific" (shades of whites, grays and reds), and might make the sale of a home more challenging. Dark stains will visually enlarge a room, but will show more dust on the floor.

Hand-scraped floors have become extremely popular. In this process, the floors are scraped by hand to achieve a worn or distressed appearance. They tend to show less wear and tear on the floor, as opposed to shiny floors which normally require more maintenance. Polyurethane finishes are the most common and considered to be the most durable. A waxed floor produces a richer look but will need to be re-waxed once or twice a year. If your goal is a formal look, borders, inlays, medallions and patterns can be added.

There are times when a wood floor will need to be refinished. If you are removing carpet, the floor will likely need to be refinished because of the carpet pad wear on the floor. If you want a different shade or color on the floor and/or you have excessive traffic wear patterns, the floors will need to be refinished, as well.

Standard vacuuming is the best way to remove surface dust and dirt on hardwood floors. Wipe up liquid spills immediately - - liquids and wood do not mix! If your floor has a polyurethane finish, a mixture of water and vinegar works well, one cup of vinegar per gallon of water. The solution can be put in a spray bottle. After vacuuming, spray solution on the floor and wipe up with a clean towel. 

Thank you to Stanton McKibbin from Heartwood Flooring (817.271.5802) for his contributions to this article!