The Kitchen Zone



Hardwood Floors and Cabinetry Add Elegance and Value to Kitchens

(ARA) - With interest rates at all-time lows, many savvy homeowners are refinancing, then getting cash back to make smart home improvements that enhance living spaces. The top-rated improvement is a kitchen remodel where the average return on investment is a whopping 94 percent. Not only is this a sound investment -- it also adds personal enjoyment.

One of the top ways to bring the element of luxury into any kitchen is with hardwood floors and cabinet upgrades. For anyone looking to add style and value to their home, the timeless appeal and warmth of hardwood will pay dividends for years to come.

A natural place to start when planning a kitchen upgrade is deciding which wood type best reflects your home's character, and what color will provide a timeless look. Below are a few relatively new and classic wood types popular among homeowners today:

Cherry: The sapwood is creamy white and the heartwood runs a rich red to reddish brown. Can be stained and polished.

Maple: The sapwood is creamy white with a reddish brown tinge and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. Can be stained and polished.

Northern/Southern Red Oak: The sapwood is white to light brown and the heartwood is a pinkish, reddish brown. Can be stained and polished.

Lyptus: A new, environmentally responsible wood harvested from Eucalyptus trees. This hardwood features a grain similar to mahogany with color similar to cherry. It also can be stained and polished.

Since some hardwoods are obtained from old growth forest in countries where environmental regulations are lax, many homeowners are looking for "ecologically friendly" alternatives. Recently released on a national scale, products like Lyptus are catching on with many homeowners looking for an alternative to mainstream hardwood choices. It is readily available, affordable and most importantly -- sustainable.

Lyptus, available as flooring or as lumber for furniture and cabinets, has generated enthusiasm among homeowners and professionals alike. "Everyone gets excited when they first see it," says Craig Anderson, senior product manager for Weyerhaeuser in Ephrata, Pa. "Everyone who sees our floor asks, 'What is this?' We've had it eight months, and already two families who saw our floor have installed it in their homes," adds Mike Garner, co-owner of Lafferty Lumber in Lemoyne, Pa.

Consider utilizing a versatile hardwood, as staining floors and cabinets complementing colors provides a visually inviting kitchen. A lighter floor will set off dark cabinetry beautifully or vice versa -- the higher the contrast, the greater the impact. Lyptus resembles cherry in color but can take on a lighter or darker look depending on the stain used. The density allows it to take different stains and finishes evenly. It is slightly harder than oak and maple and much harder than cherry or mahogany, which means it will hold up better.

According to Ian Firth of Weyerhaeuser Building Materials, "We spent five years conducting research and extensive testing to bring something new to the high-grade wood industry that we can honestly say is 100 percent sustainable for the environment."

When asked about the specific environmental benefits of Lyptus, Firth explained, "We selected a Eucalyptus hybrid that grows in Brazil as the primary species for the product. In that climate, the trees we planted on our plantations will grow to full size in 14 to16 years -- two to three times quicker than comparable species. This enables us to produce more flooring material faster, while using less of the earth's resources. The plantations are also interspersed with indigenous species to help maintain the natural ecosystem."

In short, today's homeowners can have it all in their hardwood choices -- a wide choice of styles, good value and responsible environmental practices. Couple these characteristics with natural aesthetic advantages and a high return on investment, hardwood flooring and cabinets are destined to be a favorite for many years to come.

To learn more about Lyptus products, talk with an expert by calling (877) 235-6873 or visit to locate the distribution center nearest you.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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