Make Your Home Stand Out With Custom Wood Flooring By Fran J. Donegan – Home Improvement Writer for Home Depot If you want to make your home more appealing to potential buyers, add hardwood flooring. In a 2016 National Association of Home Builders survey , 82 percent of the respondents said that hardwood flooring is either essential or desirable in the homes they wish to purchase. The popularity stretched across all age groups. Before listing your property, you’ll want to make sure your hardwoods aren’t damaged or lackluster, as that can detract from the presentation of a room. In extreme cases, you may have to put in a new floor. Use the following tips to overhaul and refinish your floors to impress potential buyers. Improving an Existing Floor Many hardwood floors just need a good cleaning. Use a cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors and a slightly damp mop. Floors with minor damage can be rejuvenated without a full-scale sanding and refinishing. Purchase a floor rejuvenation kit at your local home improvement store. These kits contain a cleaner, a bonding agent, and a final finish meant for minor repairs. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and pay close attention to drying times so you know how soon after the application you can safely put the furniture back. Severely damaged floors should be sanded, stained, and finished. You can rent the equipment yourself, but this is a project best left to a pro, especially if your goal is to show the house in its best light. When a New Floor Is in Order Not everyone will consider installing a new floor right before they put their house on the market, but if you decide to add one, you have two choices: Solid wood. These floors consist of wood strips or planks that are ⅝- to ¾-inch thick. They are available in a variety of wood species — all of which have different grain patterns and colors — and come in different finishes. Solid wood floors last for decades because they can be sanded, stained, and painted over and over again. Engineered wood. This product is made of thin layers of wood bonded together. The top layer is a familiar species, like oak or maple, which provides the finished look. Engineered wood is more dimensionally stable than solid wood. It won’t expand and contract as it reacts to temperature and humidity as much as solid wood does. Its stability makes it a good candidate for installation in bathrooms and basements. Unlike solid wood, however, it cannot stand up to repeated sanding and refinishing. Custom Flooring Options Consider these options to create a custom floor sure to make your home stand out: Size. Narrow 2¼- to 3½-inch boards add a formal touch and are perfect for a dining room or sitting room. Wide plank floors — up to seven inches across — are also popular nowadays, especially in homes with traditional and rustic designs. Texture. Open-grain floors showcase the natural beauty of hardwood, or opt for a delicate smooth finish for a pulled-together look. Distressed floors, such as those with a hand-scraped finish, are also popular. Finish. The final stain color — from dark espresso to whitewashed — plays a big part in the overall look of the room. If you’re unsure which color fits your room best, pick a moderate, neutral tone. A high-shine, glossy finish is a traditional choice that draws attention to your new floors. Many people are also choosing matte finishes, which hide imperfections. Borders and medallions. These are separate wood veneers with intricate designs that you can add to traditional wood floors. Borders are usually a few inches wide and can frame the flooring in a room or part of a room. Medallions are usually two to three feet across and come in many shapes and designs — vines, diamonds, helixes, and stars, to name a few. They create an instant focal point in an entryway or other formal room. Eco-friendly products. Cork and bamboo are highly renewable resources that grow much more quickly than oak, pine, and other traditional wood species. While many brands now offer sustainably harvested hardwood, cork and bamboo products are more ecologically sound as they don’t use as many resources. Although both types of flooring have distinctive looks, some bamboo products mimic the look of a traditional wood floor. No matter which direction you go in, with a little care and planning, a wood floor can be a valuable asset when showing your home to prospective buyers. Fran Donegan is a home improvement writer for The Home Depot. He provides advice on a wide variety of topics, from kitchen remodeling to hardwood flooring installation.