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Choosing Hardwood Flooring

» All About Wood Flooring  
» What type of finish for your hardwood floor?
» Wood Flooring Species
» Underlayment/Adhesives
» Pre-finished or site-finished hardwood floors?
» Design Elements

Pre-Installation Information

» Installation Methods
» Tools for Hardwood Flooring
» Moisture Testing
» Acclimation of Hardwood Floors To The Jobsite

Getting It Done

» Preparing the Room/Smoothing The Subfloor
» Dealing With Moisture
» Installation of Hardwood Floors On Concrete
» Installation Prefinished Nail or Staple Down
» Installation of Floating Hardwood Floor 
» Maintaining the Floor

Additional Articles

» Finish your Hardwood Floors on Site
» Restoring old hardwood Floors

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Design Elements

Custom wood flooring can range from inexpensive painted features to high-end, handcrafted borders and medallions. Other options include adding exotic wood accents to an otherwise standard floor or mixing wood with entirely different materials like marble, tile, and even brass.

Borders and Medallions

The right frame sets off a painting, just as the right focal point creates a perfect composition within the painting. Likewise, a wood floor can be enhanced with a carefully chosen border and medallion.

  • Borders
    A border defines the main area of the floor, so it contrasts the main floor to some extent. An intricate border calls for a simple field, and vice versa. Be careful to keep the border's width in scale with the room. For instance, a one-foot-wide border would not be proportionate in a four-foot-wide hallway. Work through the width requirements with your flooring installer or designer.

  • Medallions
    Medallions and other inlays are often the focal point in many wood floors. They can include intricate patterns, detailed artwork, and even corporate logos and family crests. Medallions are available either pre-manufactured or custom-made at the job site, and are installed after the floor is installed to ensure a proper fit.

Mixed Media

You can create one-of-a-kind flooring designs by mixing wood with other materials such as tile, stone, or metal. Different combinations can be used in borders, accents, medallions, or corner treatments. Materials come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles.

Use slate, granite, marble, or tile to unify flooring in different rooms, act as a transition to the outdoors, or complement a view. A marble foyer might give way to a marble-trimmed wood floor in a living area or conference room. Granite-inlaid wood floors can complement granite countertops in a kitchen installation. Slate borders in a sunroom could act as a transition to a slate terrace outdoors. Sparkling accent strips of brass, copper, or stainless steel could add drama in a room with a dramatic city view. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Painted Floors

A little paint can transform an ordinary wood floor into something unique. For example, a gingham-painted border can add a country touch to an otherwise traditional wood floor. A classic black-and-white checkerboard design lends drama to an entryway floor. An artist can create trompe l'oeil Oriental rugs or marble tiles on a wood floor. Pricing can range from affordable to expensive, depending on the artist and amount of painted floor space.

Mixed and Exotic Species

Think beyond the typical oak floor. Consider complementing your floor with a different species of wood, domestic or exotic, to enliven your entire room. Try Brazilian Cherry, Bamboo, Maple, Ash, Birch, Santos Mahogany, or Wenge, to name just a few of the 30 species available today. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can find several species to meet your needs.


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