Hardwood floors are trendy and lend beauty and openness to a room. More individuals choose hardwood now for both residential and commercial purposes, and newly constructed properties generally include hardwood floors. There are dozens of types of hardwood flooring from genuine hardwood to manufactured hardwood, and dozens of styles as well. Colors are astounding as well as are the patterns that now can be achieved by a hardwood flooring expert. The aesthetics of hardwood and combinations and styles are hard to match with carpeting. Hardwood is also easy to maintain with embedded dirt not being caught in it as with carpeting.
There is one distinct disadvantage in hardwood flooring in winter
Unless a customer lives in a climate where it is warm all the time, hardwood flooring in the winter months can oftentimes make a room cooler. Tile floors can be colder though, as many hardwood floors and tile do not have the benefit of an extra layer of padding or are installed improperly. Since everyone knows that heat rises, the floor is the lowest portion of the home and if a floor is cold, a room quickly loses heat and becomes cold.
There is no reason for this to continue though, as hardwood actually can absorb and hold heat longer than carpeting but the hardwood must be installed properly, or extra measures must be taken to ensure that enough heat is hitting the hardwood flooring and that the subflooring is sufficiently thick enough to allow the retention of heat. Hardwood is absorbent and can absorb heat easily.
What many times is discovered in cold hardwood flooring is that enough natural sunlight is not allowed into rooms, so opening all curtains can help. Another factor in a cold room that has hardwood is that the hardwood was placed on top of an open draft due to the digging out improperly of property during construction. Many hastily built properties will exist on top of holes that were not filled in properly and allow the coldness of the earth to seep into the hardwood flooring.
There are many ways to keep rooms warm with hardwood flooring
- Some are simple, some are a bit more complex, but overall keeping the heat in a room is cost-effective and all the methods of doing so with hardwood flooring are affordable.
- Use throw rugs on the hardwood flooring. This is the most common and most affordable method of trapping the heat on the floor. The thicker the throw rugs, the more heat that will be retained.
- Raise the temperature at night by two degrees. Most individuals tend to reduce the temperature of the house at night, and of course, the hardwood on the bottom floor especially becomes cold, and what heat is lost flows upstairs. Keeping a home warmer, not cooler at night will increase the warmth of all rooms that have hardwood flooring.
- Small radiant floor heaters placed at floor level throughout the day and run will keep the floor warm and therefore the room. Many individuals use these but place them on a table or stand which doe does not help warm the floor and therefore the room.
- Although not popular for being environmentally friendly, a propane or kerosene heater can warm up not just a room but the flooring by keeping the room and flooring at a consistently warm temperature for about 12 hours. These can be used in carpeted rooms too, but spills can occur which can be dangerous and hard to remove from carpeting. Clean up on a hardwood floor from these spills is easier, yet precautions should be taken to avoid these by placing a plastic mat followed by a layer of bricks to keep the spills and the heat from damaging the hardwood flooring.
- The more expensive method of keeping a hardwood floor warmer and keeping the rooms warmer is to install some form of under-the-floor heating. There are several ways to do this. Electric wires or coils can be installed underneath the flooring, that will warm the floor.Mats can also be used that produce heat under a floor, and tubing that uses hot water as a heating source underneath a floor is also a good method. The electric methods can be more expensive to run, while the hydronic methods, can save on the electric bills but be more expensive to install.
- An HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit can be installed for heating the floor in the toe kick inside the cabinet that contains the HVAC equipment. This setup blows warm airflow across a hardwood floor and is most effective at keeping the flooring and the room at a constantly warmer temperature.
Signs of possible damage that is occurring from cold on hardwood flooring
While the inconvenience of being in a cold room with hardwood that is not absorbing heat is uncomfortable, there is also damage that can occur to the floor. The signs can be subtle at first but then become more obvious. Cracking or popping sounds are usually the first signs of possible damage occurring. This then leads to buckling or cracks that appear on areas of the flooring. This generally happens in bitterly cold weather but if allowed to continue can lead to a costly repair or total replacement of a hardwood floor.
If a property has almost all hardwood and this occurs in many rooms quite a bit of money can be lost and all property owners should be aware of these signs, especially the cracking and popping sounds which are the earliest warning signal. A specialist in hardwood flooring should be called in to assess the situation at this point.
Several of the methods above will assist and a hardwood floor can retain heat better and make a room warmer than carpeting. Knowing the facts, hiring a reputable hardwood manufacturer and installer will ensure that hardwood flooring serves property owners well. Hardwood and its beauty can give pleasure both in warm weather and cold.