Hardwood flooring is often considered a must-have feature by new homeowners or those undertaking a remodeling project. Wood is a natural, renewable resource, plus wood flooring complements all types of home decor, from traditional to contemporary. Hardwood flooring is often considered a must-have feature by new homeowners or those undertaking a remodeling project. Wood is a natural, renewable resource, plus wood flooring complements all types of home decor, from traditional to contemporary. The downside is that wood floors, especially solid wood floors, can be expensive. Some exotic wood species, such as Brazilian walnut, can cost more than $15 per square foot — and that doesn’t include installation labor. However, you can find alternatives that give you the look of real wood at a reduced price — some as low as $2 or $3 per square foot. Here are some of the best budget-friendly hardwood floor choices.
Calculating the Overall Price
The products listed below go from most expensive to least expensive, but there’s a lot of overlap among the categories. For example, some solid wood products are less expensive than some luxury vinyl tiles. Before you make your final decision, factor in the cost of professional installation, which can add as much as $3 to $10 per square foot to the total cost of a flooring project. Some of the items that can drive up installation costs include:
• Removing and disposing of the old flooring
• Repairing the subfloor when necessary
• The size and shape of the room(s)
• Stair installation
If you’re an experienced DIYer, you can save money by installing the floors yourself. Beginners should leave the job to the professionals, though — you may end up making mistakes that are even more expensive to fix.
This is usually the most expensive option, but there are ways to reduce the cost, especially in the long run. When properly maintained, solid wood flooring will last as long as the house stands. You can freshen up the look at any time by sanding away the old finish and restaining and sealing the floor.
Some wood species are more expensive than others. Fortunately, many of the most common types, such as oak or maple, fall into the low- to mid-range of costs. Solid wood products can come finished or unfinished. If the floor is unfinished, the installer will stain and seal the floor once it is in place, which adds to the installation costs. On the flip side, the prefinished product may cost more up front.
These products are constructed of multiple thin layers of material that are bonded together under pressure. The top layer is made from a familiar wood species — such as oak or maple — and is usually treated with a factory-applied finish that resists dirt and scuff marks. Engineered wood floors are less likely than solid wood to wrap and twist because of moisture and humidity, so they can be installed in basements and bathrooms. Some products feature click-in-place installation — no need for adhesives or fasteners — which is an easier, faster installation method perfect for DIYers. However, a vapor barrier needs to be installed or attached to the flooring.
Bamboo floors are manufactured to either look like traditional wood flooring or showcase their distinctive grass-like look. Some bamboo products are harder than solid wood flooring. They are strong and long-lasting, but are easy to scratch and are not recommended for areas prone to moisture. Bamboo is a type of grass and grows to maturity much more quickly than trees do, which makes it a sustainable, eco-friendly option. Click-in-place installation is available for some products.
New porcelain tiles can be made to look like anything, including real wood. Some products are available in planks that have a wood-like texture. Porcelain tiles are an inexpensive, easy way to achieve a “reclaimed” wood look — many tiles mimic the texture and color variation of aged planks. As with regular tiles, they are durable and can be used in wet areas, including bathrooms. They are also stain-resistant and much easier to clean than real wood — spills wipe up quickly, and using just water and a mild soap makes them shine. Porcelain tiles must be installed using mortar and grout.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
As with porcelain tiles, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can look like wood and come in traditional-style planks. LVTs are thicker and more durable than standard vinyl. They are usually waterproof, are easier to clean than true hardwoods, and can be installed in any room in the house. To prolong their durability, many LVTs are treated to resist color fading and scratches.
Laminate floors are composed of a high-density hardboard core protected by a melamine layer that can be made to look like anything — including real wood. The top layer protects against dirt and scuff marks, but the material should not be installed in rooms that are exposed to moisture. Click-in-place installation is available.
Hardwood flooring is a classic, timeless look that fits a wide range of design options. Thanks to today’s selection of flooring products, it’s easy to get a wood look at a lower cost. When making your final decision, be sure to include both the material costs and the installation costs. That way, you’ll get the look you want at a budget-friendly price.
DIY author Fran Donegan has written several books, including Paint Your Home. He also writes for The Home Depot about homeownership and projects that add value to your house. To see a selection of hardwood flooring options like those described by Fran in this article, please click here.
This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Winter’s chill is in the air and spring is still several weeks away, but there’s plenty to do in your hometown during the colder months including checking out a winter farmer’s market.
Traditional farmer’s markets usually run from early spring to late fall, but there’s a growing trend popping up in cities across the country: the winter farmer’s market.
Typically your local winter farmer’s market is held indoors, which means no matter the weather, you can still shop in comfort for your favorite offerings of the earth’s bounty.
Want to make the most of your next visit to a winter farmer’s market? Here’s what you need to know:
Manage Your Expectations
When strolling around your favorite farmer’s market during warmer months, you’re likely to find all sorts of bright, juicy fruits and beautiful growing plants. The purpose of a farmer’s market is to help connect local farmers and producers with the community, as a source of great seasonal offerings.
Your winter farmer’s market likely won’t have the same options as the markets held in spring and summer. This is mainly because those fruits and vegetables aren’t being grown or harvested during colder months.
Depending on the size of your market and where you live, it might not be possible to do all your grocery shopping at your neighborhood winter farmer’s market, but you should be able to check several items off your shopping list.
Think Outside the Box
Winter farmer’s markets are a great opportunity think outside the box, with regard to the produce you buy. There you may come across different varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables, or different options altogether.
Take this as a chance to try something new! Never cooked with baby bok choy or purple potatoes? These are some delicious choices, and likely to be spotted at a winter farmer’s market.
And make sure you talk to the farmers or sellers about their wares. They are likely to be a wealth of free information for you. For example, if you usually cook with cilantro in the spring and summer, ask the farmer to recommend another herb you might try when it isn’t available.
Ask the farmer if he or she has a favorite way of preparing the veggies or a tip for making fruit last longer. This is your chance to talk directly with the expert about his or her produce.
Stock Up on Essentials
Whether you are a dedicated home cook or someone who just enjoys trying a new recipe every now and again, there are certain essentials that a well-stocked kitchen must have.
Often a winter farmer’s market is a great place to find things like local honey, spices and jams or preserves. It never hurts to have these pantry staples on hand. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing you are supporting the livelihood of local growers and producers.
Since these types of items are usually canned or dried, they have a longer shelf-life and will serve to be very useful for all your culinary creations until spring arrives.
You might also see cut flowers or winter plants. Depending on the type, winter is often a good time for planting. Some farmers also sell or swap their seeds, especially heirloom varieties, so make the most of this opportunity to stock up for your spring and summer garden.
Give the Gift of Local Made with Love
Winter farmer’s markets are often more than just farm fresh produce and things grown in the ground. There will likely be offerings and wares for sale by local artisans and makers.
From handcrafted jewelry and pottery to unique and one-of-a-kind art or woodworking, these selections make wonderful gifts for friends. Other items you might find include essential oils, handmade soaps and lotions, and natural cosmetics. Sellers will often allow you to sample their wares in order to see what you might like.
These are just a few ways you can enjoy a winter farmer’s market in your neighborhood. Before too long, spring will arrive with all its blooming beauty. But until then, it’s nice to know there are still some fun things to do to make the most of winter.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
What color are first place ribbons? That’s right — they’re blue. That means blue is the official color of winning, and it also happens to be the official color of Coldwell Banker, the real estate brand who is #1 in dollar sales volume. Coincidence? We think not.
Ready to perform like a champion? Visit coldwellbanker.com/careers and see what it feels like to be on the winning team.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Many companies have already incorporated smart home tech into their daily business. Some have installed smart locks, lights or thermostats in the office. Many have encouraged agents to take the Coldwell Banker Smart Home course. The first-and-only course of its kind created for real estate agents. Companies have also encouraged agents to talk about the benefits of smart home tech in listing presentations.
Have you considered how you can use the brand’s leadership in the Smart Home space as a way to set your company apart and attract new agents to your office?
Even for agents who haven’t yet had a transaction that included smart home tech in one way or another, chances are good that they will in 2018. Most aren’t going to be prepared. And many may not even know where to go to find information on how smart home can or should fit into their business.
January is Smart Home Month here at Coldwell Banker. We are kicking the month off with our sponsorship of the Smart Home Marketplace at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas! We will have agents from around the country creating content specifically to help other agents understand how to use Smart Home in their own business. This is a great opportunity for you to reach out to the agents in your market, offer them information and demonstrate the value you can add to their business. Here are a few questions to start with:
- Have you considered how to talk about smart home tech during a listing presentation?
- Do you know what you would say if a client asked you about the value of smart home tech during a purchase or sale?
- Have you thought about using smart home as a reason to get in front of your sphere and network in the new year?
Every day in January we will be adding new tips, tricks and best practices for incorporating smart home tech into a real estate business, along with new product spotlights. All of this content can be found at ces.coldwellbanker.com. That means every day there is a new reason to talk to your list of prospects.
Showing agents the power and importance of this technology in the sale of a home, is yet another way you can bring value to agents in your office and attract those not yet affiliated. Leverage the leadership of Coldwell Banker in this area to deliver a clear edge for agents by sharing insights into state-of-the-art smart home technologies and how to leverage them to dominate the marketplace.
From content to conferences, Coldwell Banker is collecting and delivering leading edge insights during Smart Home Month to help you understand how the smart home boom impacts real estate:
- CES: Catch Coldwell Banker on the floor of CES, Jan. 9-12 as the exclusive sponsor of the Smart Home Marketplace, which has grown every year since we began our sponsorship in 2016. It’s now over 114,000 square feet.
- Consumer Survey: Find out how consumers view smart home tech, what they expect agents to know about it and how they react to VR. Spoiler alert – they love it!
- Inman Connect New York: Coldwell Banker sponsors ICNY, Jan. 22-26, and hosts an exclusive lunch and learn on Jan. 23 where participants get the inside track on how to use smart home to market themselves and their listings.
- Daily Content: Get an agent’s perspective on how smart home tech can benefit your real estate business with video and blog posts straight from the CES show floor.
- Case Studies: Two case studies – one from T3 Sixty and one from Samsung – will explore how agents can be the early adopters of smart home in their market and how VR can truly set a listing apart.
If you’re already affiliated with Coldwell Banker and want to learn more about our Smart Home initiative, visit CB Exchange and search “Smart Home.”
If you would like to know what Coldwell Banker agents have access to, head to coldwellbanker.com/join and explore the possibilities of moving your business to Coldwell Banker.
One more phone call. One extra mile. One more opportunity to lend a helping hand. Here is the story of a Coldwell Banker Brand Ambassador who always makes time for “just one more”.
Coldwell Banker Brand Ambassador Joycelyn Jaggers has a motto, and it is her North Star. You see, each day she wakes up with the goal of making a positive impact on the businesses of the brokers and agents she serves.
“If I take the time to do one more thing. I might be able to turn someone’s day around”, she says. Joycelyn does make a positive impact, and on more than just her book of business.
The latest installment of our “Coldwell Banker is Home To” video series highlights this exceptionally dedicated and talented professional who embodies the work ethic and commitment to service that makes Coldwell Banker a special place to hang your hat – and the world a much better place.