Hardwood flooring is becoming increasingly popular because it is both easier to clean and more hygienic than carpeting. It is also better suited when dealing with kids and pets. However, it does have some significant downsides. Most notably, it is much harder than carpet, which can be suboptimal for the elderly, those with bad backs or feet, or those who want to sit on the floor. Additionally, it remains more expensive than most modern carpets, because said carpets could be easily mass produced, installed cheaply, and replaced easily. However, the long-term benefits of hardwood, especially the fact that it is more eco-friendly and that it may not need to be replaced for centuries, has lead to increased demand for hardwood flooring. This means that, due to market demand, there are two expanding trends in the hardwood flooring market today: reclaimed wood and the introduction of softer woods.
The reclaimed wood movement stems largely from a desire to be environmentally friendly, but also to capture rustic or old-world charm. Hardwood floor New York was almost universal until 20th-century advances in the plastics industry made carpets cheap to mass produce. This means that many old structures have excellent hardwood floors in them, and with careful effort, they can be removed and installed elsewhere. This “reclaimed wood” is thus both more environmentally friendly than fresh timber, since it has already been harvested and requires no fresh trees to be cut. It also has an aged look that can’t be achieved with modern techniques, making it very appealing to those who want a more traditional or colonial look. Reclaimed wood is also often less expensive than new timbers of the same type, reflecting the fact that, as a “recycled” product, it is “used” and thus merits a lower price. The lower cost of obtaining and processing it is also a factor in this reduced cost.
The new “softer” hardwood floor
However, it is the “soft floor” movement that has caught on the most and is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to carpet. This is done primarily through the use of bamboo, either as a cover over traditional hardwood flooring or as a complete floor. Bamboo is much more flexible than traditional hardwoods while retaining much of the strength and versatility. Previously, the fact that bamboo grew in thin slats and had a rough, curves surface made it less desirable as a floor covering, since it would be uneven underfoot. But modern automated bamboo processing techniques, originally developed to sate the Chinese market, have enabled bamboo to serve as an effective form of flooring. The best part about such flooring is that it can be softer or harder than traditional flooring, depending on demand, as its hardness is determined by the weave of the bamboo.