News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


The hard truth about flooring

The folks at our house had an epiphany recently while down on hands and knees.

With floor cleaner in one hand and a scrub cloth in the other, we understood the old sales pitch behind wall-to-wall carpet that made housewives salivate.

Alas, it is knowledge that comes too late because our house doesn't go back to the days when covering real hardwood flooring with carpet was a move up.

To return to the era of warm, rich-looking hardwood, we had to do more than rip out carpet and refinish real wood. Ours came with carpet and pad glued to concrete.

"It's low maintenance, and it's better for allergies," Regina said, while we made the decision between new carpet in the downstairs bedrooms and hall, or installing prefinished hardwood.

We made that leap about six years ago in the dining and living rooms. But we immediately covered both floors with area rugs that hid three fourths of the wood.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because," she replied.

Installing the latest hardwood left something amiss. The new outshone the old. Same brand. Same finish. Same color. And both batches came with the understanding that if we keep the wood dry it will look new and last nearly forever, or until hardwood goes out of style again.

"I don't get it," she said, while looking at the contrast.

"I seem to remember carpet ads with housewives down on their hand and knees waxing and polishing those floors back in the good old days," I said.

Was I suggesting that she do that? Regina asked.

I wasn't suggesting that I do it.

So there I was late Sunday afternoon, with cleaner and cloth, spraying and wiping and removing layers of dirt that supposedly came off each of those times she sprayed lightly and mopped quickly.

The results? Floors matched, back sore. Just like the good old days almost. But back then, guys didn't do housework.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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