Our twins are starting their third year of tap dance lessons and beg us to remove the family room carpet and put in hard flooring. What's a tap-proof flooring material, and what will it cost to tear up 14 x 20' of carpet and install hard flooring?
Zaida ~ Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Zaida, most dance studios rely on durable hardwood floors to withstand the tapping feet of hundreds of dancers, so I'm sure that a new oak or maple floor in your living room will suffice for your two daughters. Both oak and maple are commonly used for hardwood flooring, and the wood's strength and tight grain pattern make it an excellent choice for high traffic floors.
You can expect to pay between $3 and $5 per square foot for a select grade of oak or maple flooring, which would be random length boards that are 3/4 of an inch thick and 2 1/4 inches wide. If you estimate that your floors are approximately 280 square feet, then the wood alone might cost you between $840 and $1,400. The cost to install, sand and finish your new floors might cost between $5 and $9 per square foot, but you should consult some flooring contractors who work in the Sioux Falls area to get an accurate estimate for the labor needed to complete your project.
I recommend that you choose a solid wood flooring, as opposed to an engineered hardwood product, so that you can refinish the floors, should they need it, sometime in the future. I would also recommend that you do not install factory-finished hardwood flooring, but instead opt for a sight-finished hardwood floor. Many factory-finished hardwood floors have small grooves between the floor boards, which make for a less than smooth finished surface. I can also recommend a finishing product called Synteko, which is bombproof when it comes to protecting wood floors from furniture scratches or the claws of household pets.
While I certainly don't want to dissuade you from installing new wood floors in your living room, I should mention that there are portable wood dance floors available that might also suit your needs. The benefit of a portable dance floor is that your girls can take it with them when they go to college, and you can keep your living room carpet!