The Present: Solid Wood

Wood-flooring catalogs are beginning to look a little like books of paint chips. One company offers solid wood flooring in six domestic hardwood species, four widths, three grades, 14 colors, and two types of finish—actually a fairly modest selection, considering that nearly 50 species of wood are now used for flooring, almost half of them "offshore" woods from places like Brazil and Australia. Then there's wood from sustainable forests, grown under controlled conditions, and lumber reclaimed from old buildings, railroad ties, and river bottoms. Expect to pay between $8 and $10 per square foot (installed) for readily available species like red oak, more for exotic and reclaimed woods.

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