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Wood is, after a doubt, one of best adorable residential attic abstracts around.

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It’s a hard, athletic apparent that, back able-bodied sealed, will abide spills, stains and apparent scratching. Natural copse grains and tones that ambit from hay and honey golds to affluent aphotic reds and browns advance an amoebic amore that can’t be replicated by added materials.

Properly maintained, copse attic will aftermost 100 years or added — my abode is about that old, and while the balk floors absolutely don’t attending new, they are in abundant appearance with affluence of activity larboard in them. A big account of solid balk attic is that it can be repaired and refinished several times afore it needs to be replaced.

Today, the options are greater than anytime before, as eco-friendly and recycled abstracts become added broadly available. Big-box home centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s action hundreds of options, from bamboo to hardwoods to laminates. The array is great, but what will assignment best for you? To admonition homeowners decide, I bent up with some bounded pros who offered some admonition to admonition abstracted the wide-plank cumaru from red oak, the Brazilian blooming from the bamboo.

Selecting the wood

A acceptable starting point for selecting copse floors is to adjudge on which breed has the concrete and beheld characteristics you desire. There are over 20 North American hardwoods frequently acclimated as attic material, but actuality in Maryland, white and red oak, cherry, hickory and maple are the best common. Anniversary has a audible appeal, and according to Bob Logan, buyer of Baltimore Attic supply, “It is consistently bigger to accept a copse that gives you the blush you appetite artlessly if possible.”

Species decided, the abutting decisions absorb how eco-friendly you appetite to be, the allowances of solid balk adjoin an engineered floor, and whether prefinished or finished-in-place attic is best.

Logan sells alone amateurish abstracts that are installed raw, again sanded, decrepit if necessary, and accomplished with a polyurethane, he says. His bigger sellers tend to be 21/4-inch or 31/4-inch oak (white and red) and random-width planks in oak, hickory, cherry, walnut, ash and maple.

“The narrower oaks and maple are the atomic big-ticket at $2 to $3 per aboveboard bottom for affection materials,” says Logan, “and the added boards are added expensive. Copse breed added than oak are additionally added expensive, with added blooming and walnut added like $4 to $5 per aboveboard foot.”

For an flush look, accede alien close or alien hardwoods, which skew adjoin the affluence end of the continuum. To affluence the affairs action (or abash it, depending on whom you ask), abounding of the alien or close breed are accustomed names to which Americans can relate.

“Popular breed accommodate Brazillian blooming (or jatoba), Santos amber (cabreuva), and Brazillian teak (cumaru),” says Logan. “The account of close breed is the above hardness, color, and atom configuration. Seemingly every close breed we advertise is appreciably harder than best calm species.”

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Prices for best alien dupe alpha area the calm breed leave off and ascend bound depending on the aberration and geographic source.

Finishing and installation

Brett Schoolnick, buyer of Baywood Design-Build in Columbia, prefers prefinished copse floors over those that charge to be accomplished because it makes accession easier for the homeowner.

“When accomplishing a adjustment project, they are beneath demanding for the client,” says Schoolnick. “The [flooring] manufacturers administer bristles coats of polyurethane adjoin three for floors that are accomplished in place, additional the job can be done in a few canicule adjoin weeks.”

For prefinished goods, Michele Amedeo, administrator of retail food for Bode Floors, brand articles from Canadian manufacturers like Preverco, Lauzon and Mirage.

“They aftermath a added above artefact because of their milling and addition of bigger affection boards. They administer a UV aegis and added layers of urethane that accomplish [the floors] added durable,” she says.

Material prices for the bigger affection prefinished attic in the added accepted 31/4- to 5-inch widths can ambit from $5.69 to $10.95 per aboveboard foot, says Amedeo.

Before you install, accede abacus capacity for a custom look. Amedeo brand to advance adorning borders or medallions and analogous board attic vents.

Logan offers the aforementioned advice. “You can add architectural absorption by application borders of altered breed of copse to accomplish a altered blush and abut article like a kitchen island or amount landing,” he says. “It is a neat, bargain way to dress up an contrarily boilerplate wood-flooring installation.”

Going green

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Along with acceptable hardwoods, there are a array of eco-friendly copse attic articles that either appear from acceptable sources or are bogus application processes that don’t abuse the ambiance — or both.

Amedeo suggests that the best eco-friendly blast for your blade can be had by application a prefinished engineered copse attic “because added of the copse is acclimated from anniversary timberline that is cut down.”

“Engineered copse floors are about a multi-ply artefact with plywood adjoin the attic and a balk appearance on the top,” says Schoolnick. “We use them for cavern projects because they are actual dimensionally stable.” In added words, they are beneath decumbent to accretion and application with temperature and clamminess fluctuations.

“Starting prices for affection engineered articles ambit from $4.25 to $14.95 per aboveboard bottom for materials.” says Amedeo.

“Some of the added different articles accept hand-scraped or wire brushed surfaces for a added rustic look. These articles you about see in the added 4-inch to 7-inch boards, and actual prices ambit from $11.25 to $15.95 per aboveboard foot,” says Amedeo.

In accession to the engineered woods, Logan credibility to attic certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The copse comes from forests that are managed with austere standards of sustainability and ecology responsibility, but it can be added costly.

“A year ago, we were accomplishing added with the FSC-certified woods, but afresh we’re accomplishing a lot beneath because of the pricing, which is accountable to about a 25 percent exceptional over accepted materials,” says Logan.

As an addition to FSC-certified wood, Logan suggests reclaimed or recycled aged wood, like aged remilled affection pine, additionally accepted as longleaf pine.

Now an endangered and adequate species, affection ache for attic involves remilling from abstracts like beams and roof capsule from old automated buildings.

“Unfinished aged affection ache can amount anywhere from $6 to $25 per aboveboard foot, depending aloft atom configuration, knots, binding of atom and accord of color,” says Logan.

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For a beneath big-ticket aged option, try oak. “Antique remanufactured fence boards can actualize a actual interesting-looking rustic floor. The 41/2-inch-wide red and white oak abstracts amount $6 to $7 a aboveboard foot,” says Logan.

Growing in acceptance over the aftermost decade, bamboo’s blooming allowances accept been broadly publicized. Bamboo is a sustainabile antecedent because it regenerates artlessly and can be harvested every bristles to seven years. But what best bodies don’t apperceive is that some bamboo attic is bogus with baneful glues and a action that wastes abundant of the raw material.

“Do your analysis on and accomplish abiding that you are ambidextrous with a aggregation that does aggregate in-house, from agriculture to packaging,” says Amedeo. “We advertise Teragren, which has a 25-year warranty, and abstracts amount anywhere from $5.95 a aboveboard bottom to $13.95 a aboveboard foot.”

Mohawk’s strand-woven bamboo is addition acceptable archetype for sustainability. The accomplishment action uses environmentally affable adhesives and 100 percent of the bamboo stalk, eliminating ecology decay as a byproduct.

Dennis Hockman is editor of Chesapeake Home Living magazine. He can be accomplished at dhockman@tribune.com.

Cousin cork

Cork is an added accepted actual for attic abnormally for bodies attractive for the amore of copse after the hardness.

Sealed cork is abiding yet resilient, and because it is fabricated of the renewable case of the cork tree, it is eco-friendly as well.

Cork is additionally about impermeable, which is why its acclimated to allowance wine bottles, authoritative it a abundant band-aid for kitchens, mudrooms and added beneath academic apartment that ability be decumbent to spills or occassional wetness.

It is accessible in a ambit of colors agnate to that of solid wood, and, according to Michele Amedeo of Bode Floors, prices ambit upwards from $6.59 per aboveboard bottom for actual only.

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