Hardwood Flooring in Bedrooms Review: Pros and Cons

Is Hardwood Flooring in the Bedroom Right for You?

Wood floor in bedroom

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Except for kitchens, bathrooms, and other damp areas, hardwood flooring is a classic material generally regarded as a premium flooring for almost any room in the house. Bedrooms are no exception. While the warmth, coziness, and sound-dampening qualities of carpeting are quite popular in bedrooms, many homeowners are now removing carpeting in bedrooms to either expose the existing hardwood or lay solid hardwood or engineered hardwood planks during remodeling projects. The visual warmth and natural appeal of real wood make it very appealing from a design perspective.

Pros
  • Non-allergenic

  • Durable

  • Easy to clean

  • Timeless design

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Colder than carpet

  • Noisy

  • Susceptible to scratching

Types of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring comes in several different types:

  • Solid unfinished planks: Traditionally, solid hardwood flooring boards were installed, then stained and finished in place. This type of hardwood can be sanded down and refinished several times over the life of the floor, but it has gradually lost its popularity to prefinished hardwood products.
  • Solid prefinished planks: This form of solid hardwood has been prestained and top-coated by the manufacturer, which makes for an easier, faster installation. However, prefinished hardwood flooring is sometimes milled so that the planks have slightly beveled edges, creating channels between boards that can collect dirt, dust, and pollen.
  • Engineered planks: In this form of hardwood, a relatively thin veneer of hardwood is bonded to a base of plywood or MDF. This type of flooring is always prefinished and is often created with a "click-lock" system in which the planks interlock at the edges. This type of floor usually "floats" over a thin foam underlayment placed over the subfloor. This form of hardwood is the easiest for DIYers to install.

Hardwood Flooring Cost

You can find some wood flooring selling for as little as $1 to $2 per square foot, but in general, a good-quality hardwood flooring will cost $5 to $10 per square foot or even more for the materials alone. Plan on spending another $3 to $8 per square foot for professional installation. This makes hardwood more expensive than most carpet and other flooring options, such as vinyl.

Remember, though, that this is only the initial investment; a well-maintained hardwood floor can outlast other less-expensive options by decades, saving on replacement costs.

Maintenance and Repair

Hardwood flooring is among the easiest of floorings to maintain. Simple sweeping and wiping with a dry cloth will keep dirt and dust at bay, and there are no places for dirt to hide. Hardwood flooring will, however, need to be refinished at some point—a process that can range from a simple reapplication of varnish to full stripping, sanding, and application of a new top-coat. But a hardwood floor kept clean may go decades before refinishing of any kind is needed, especially in bedrooms, which see relatively light foot traffic. And the simple fact that solid hardwood flooring can be refinished is one of its main advantages: Carpeting typically needs to be replaced every 10 years or so, while hardwood floors have been known to last as long as the house itself.

If you have dogs, especially large dogs, their toenails tend to scratch up hardwood flooring surfaces. This can be mitigated to some extent by keeping pet nails trimmed or simply banning them from the boudoir. For some people, the tiny nicks and scars are desirable, giving the floor a patina and sense of personality that evolves over time. But the reality is that pet dogs do somewhat complicate the maintenance of hardwood floors.

Design

Hardwood has been used as a flooring material for centuries, and despite radical shifts in trends and times, it has never gone out of style. A bedroom is a place that people often feel compelled to "recreate" every few months with a new design. One big advantage of hardwood is that it will look amazing with just about any decorative treatment you use.

Hardwood flooring is available in many wood species with different grain patterns, and it can be stained in an almost infinite range of hues. Top-coatings can range from glass-like gloss to a subtle matte finish, and hardwood flooring serves as the perfect backdrop for ornamental rugs and furnishings.

Hardwood Flooring Installation

Generally speaking, hardwood floors are more difficult for DIYers to install than other non-carpet flooring options, such as laminate, vinyl, or even ceramic tile. Solid hardwood planks, especially, are best installed by professionals. The process involves "blind-nailing" the boards down one at a time by driving nails through the edges of the boards and into the subfloor.

However, engineered hardwood flooring materials are increasingly popular. These products normally use a "click-lock" assembly method that is considerably easier than the blind-nailing process used to install solid hardwood planks. Be aware, though, that these engineered hardwood flooring products do not have the longevity of solid hardwood plank floors, and most cannot be sanded and refinished multiple times, as you can with solid hardwood flooring.

Top Brands of Hardwood Flooring

Nearly all of the giant brands in flooring now offer prefinished hardwood floor products in both solid and engineered forms. Unfinished hardwood is usually purchased from local flooring stores, who buy their products from established sources and have their own installation contractors.

For prefinished flooring, the best-known brands include:

  • Bruce: This is now the hardwood flooring arm of the giant Armstrong company. Bruce offers prefinished products in both solid hardwood and engineered planks, which are sold at both Home Depot and Lowes stores, as well as from specialty flooring stores and online retailers. Bruce products are regarded as medium-quality, but they are quite affordable.
  • Mannington: This flooring giant sells excellent engineered hardwood flooring products in more than 100 different colors, styles, and species. Mannington sells primarily through specialty flooring stores. These products are somewhat more expensive, but they are known for their quality and durability.
  • Bellawood: This proprietary brand for Lumber Liquidators includes both prefinished solid hardwood and engineered hardwood products. These products are among the least expensive, with quality that is considered mid-range.
  • Kahrs: This Swedish company offers a large selection of very good engineered hardwood flooring. Unlike other engineered hardwood flooring, Kahrs flooring is known for a very thick surface veneer that can be sanded and refinished. This is also a very easy flooring for DIYers to install.

Comfort and Convenience

A bedroom is a place of quiet serenity and soft vulnerability, where shoes and socks are often left off and bare feet press directly against the floor. This is why carpet has been so popular for bedrooms. While wood is softer and warmer than ceramic and porcelain tile, it is still relatively stern and can get chilly in colder regions. That’s why the use of rugs can be a great way to warm up the space while also accenting the inherent beauty of the flooring material.

In bedrooms used by children or elderly people or anyone with balance issues, you should remember that hardwood is a rigid surface that can cause injury if falls occur. Large soft area rugs can offer protection, but rugs themselves can create a tripping hazard, especially for elderly people. Toddlers are fairly resilient, but for anyone vulnerable to injury, other flooring options, such as carpeting or luxury vinyl, may be better choices.

In an upper-story bedroom, transmission of noise can be a problem with hardwood flooring. This can be especially troublesome with active children in a bedroom directly above downstairs living spaces. You can dampen the transmission of sound by having an insulating underlayment installed beneath the hardwood, or by using rugs throughout the room.

Hardwood Flooring vs. Carpet

Carpet is the most popular flooring material for bedrooms, thanks to the warm coziness it provides. And carpet is considerably less expensive than hardwood flooring. But one of the biggest problems with carpet and other soft flooring materials is that they tend to collect dust, pollen, and other small irritating particles. With hardwood flooring, the surface is smooth and solid, making it easy to clean. Area rugs can be periodically removed and cleaned to keep dirt and allergens at bay. A bedroom is a space where people spend many hours each day, and for those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other breathing disorders, hardwood flooring is a better option than carpet.

Is Hardwood Flooring in the Bedroom Right for You?

While it is not as soft as carpet, the traditional bedroom flooring choice, hardwood is still a warm, welcoming feature when used as a floor surface for bedrooms. Its natural beauty, durability, and ability to stand the test of time for both style and durability make it a wonderful long-term flooring material.