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When Bill Walz walked into the multimillion-dollar custom home, his eyes traveled directly to the floor. Beautiful French oak boards, twelve inches wide and ten feet long, spanned across the massive living room.

“That is what a wood floor is supposed to look like” Walz exclaimed. “Too often these days, I see $5 million homes with $8 floors. Do the owners know what they bought?”

And he would know. As a co-founder of Mansion Hill Custom Floors, an industry leader in creative hardwood flooring, Walz understands the difference between a project done right, and a project done the easy way. With 40 years of experience in the hardwood floor industry, Walz has seen firsthand what can happen when someone installs a cheap wood floor.

When a homeowner invests millions of dollars into a beautiful custom home, sometimes the last thing they think about is the floor. Oftentimes, they end up going with the cheapest option, unaware of the colossal, long-term mistake they’ve just made. While installing cheap flooring might seem like a wise decision in the moment, it can have major repercussions in the long run.

1. Cheap Floors Don’t Last Long

When homeowners install high-quality wood floors, they make a long-term investment. Quality floor boards come with a thicker wear layer, meaning they can be resanded and refinished multiple times, a process that’s significantly cheaper than completely installing a new floor.

Cheap floors, on the other hand, often have a thin wear layer and usually can’t be resanded and refinished.

When wood floors are worn down, homeowners with cheap wood floors find themselves installing entirely new floors, a costly and cumbersome process. Meanwhile, their neighbors with high-quality wood flooring can simply resand and refinish their existing wood for a fraction of the cost.

2. Cheap Boards Aren’t Aesthetically Pleasing

When homeowners pick a cheap wood floor from a 30-inch sample, they find themselves disappointed when the flooring is installed in their massive living room. They get thin, short boards that look choppy and jigsawed.

“People know the difference between a cheap floor and a quality floor when they see it,” Walz says. “Cheap floors sometimes have short board lengths, and you end up with a butt joint every few inches, and that stands out when you see a whole floor of that. And not in a good way.”

Cheap flooring usually consists of thinner, shorter boards made from low-grade wood (cheap because they’re easier to produce). And those boards often don’t lay flat or sustain their own strength. Instead, they conform to the subfloor, creating dips and imperfections throughout the space.

Conversely, longer and wider planks draw people’s attention, carrying their eyes through the room as they follow strong, straight boards.

“Simply put, it costs more to harvest the beauty of a ten-foot board,” Walz says. “But wider planks and longer boards are going to look a lot better in that 30-foot wide kitchen.”

3. Cheap Floors Create Higher Cost Over Time

Sure, selecting cheap flooring during the building process might seem like the smart financial decision initially. But that cost savings only lasts a few years.

For example: a homeowner spends $20,000 on a cheap wood floor. Thin, short boards with no wear layer, no potential for resanding and refinishing. In five years, those boards are worn down and in need of refinishing. But that’s not an option, so the homeowner needs to install new floors for another $20,000, plus the cost to rip out their old floor.

Meanwhile, their neighbor selected a high-quality wood floor for $30,000. Wide, long boards with a thick wear layer. A little more money up front. In 15 years, those floors might require resanding and refinishing, so the homeowner does just that for a fraction of the cost, maintaining their home’s original wood floors while saving money in the process.

In another five years, the cheap flooring will need to be replaced again, while the quality floor boards can simply be resanded.

“You want a floor that’s going to look good for longer. A floor you can refinish down the road,” Walz says. “Spending a little more on a floor now is way cheaper than doing a brand new cheap floor again in a few years. Put in a good floor now and it’ll last forever.”

4. Cheap Floors Have Limited Durability

Whether it’s a homeowner who’s tough on their floors, or it comes in the form of weather and temperature, cheaper wood flooring has less potential for durability.

Cheap wood flooring tends to expand and contract, especially thinner, shorter boards made from solid wood (as opposed to the strength of engineered wood). Oftentimes, this can create warped boards, or spaces between planks.

Depending on the wood floor’s finish and engineering, quality wood floors can sustain more wear and tear. And, when they’re ready, a quality wood plank with a thick wear layer just needs some resanding to return to its former glory.

5. Cheap Wood Floors Reduce Resale Potential

When it comes to a home’s resale value, realtors seem to include one floor feature on advertisements: hardwood floors. Not vinyl, not carpet, not anything else. People want quality hardwood floors, and selecting a quality hardwood floor can add dramatic value to a home.

Some people try to edge around this idea by installing cheap wood floors. But prospective buyers aren’t easily fooled.

“Even though they market hardwood floors, the floors could be made from cheap wood, or cheaply installed,” Walz says. “And people know the difference when they see it.”

Next Steps

When it comes to selecting a wood floor for your home or business, avoid the trap of cheap flooring. Instead, opt for quality. It looks better, and it saves money and effort in the long run. Make sure to consult experts before making a decision, experts like the team at Mansion Hill Custom Floors.

“Anybody can do the cheap stuff,” Walz says. “We want quality floors and quality craftsmanship attached to our name.”

Smart homeowners don’t want “cheap”, they want “value”. Experts like Bill Walz will ensure that homeowners, builders, and architects get the best value and a quality product for their home.

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