It is vital to make a great first impression. A fresh, clean unencumbered appearance is a pivotal first step toward putting your best efforts forward to sell your home. Stained and threadbare carpeting or cracked tile with discolored grout is an eyesore. This is one reason why more people are installing hardwood floors in their homes.

Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and can create a classic or contemporary ambiance that will beautify the interior design of your home. Many residential real estate agents confirm that homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster and fetch higher prices.

Last year, 99 percent of real estate agents responding to a national survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association agreed that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. The survey also found that 82 percent believe homes with hardwood floors sell faster and 90 percent said they would sell for more money.

The American Hardwood Information Center claims that restoring hardwood flooring is one of the best long-term investments in a home.

John Heggland, owner of Connecticut Floor Supply Inc. in Wilton for more than 50 years, said revitalizing wood floors can be a fairly inexpensive investment. "Wood floors can be a forever product," he said. "We can resand floors that are up to 150 years old. Sanding floors and applying three coats of oil-based polyurethane can cost under $2 a square foot and a new stain for a little more."

"Hardwood floors are environmentally friendly, forever fashionable, and will last for generations," said Pembroke Jacobs, president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. "Plus, with an expected life span of more than 100 years for certain premium hardwood flooring, you can be assured that that the hardwood really is a one-time investment with a very long-term payoff."

Maple, mahogany and oak are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and bamboo.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that indoor air quality is one of the top health threats, and wood floors can help contribute to a healthy living environment. In fact, a recent EPA study found that pesticides used in gardens and homes accumulate on floors and other surfaces in the home, but wood floors can greatly reduce the accumulation of such toxins. Hardwood floors also do not trap or harbor dust mites or mold.

Although wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly cared for, they are easier to maintain than other floor surfaces. Having hardwood floors could be the difference between selling your home or watching a potential buyer walk out the door on a less-appealing floor type.

Linda Skolnick's "Skolnick's Scoop" appears every other Friday. She is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Riverside in Westport and can be reached through her website,, or by calling 203-246-0088.