Top 10 Myths About Wood Floors
- Wood floors are expensive
- Wood floors are hard to maintain
- Wood floors can scratch easily
- Purchasing wood floors depletes forests
- Investing in wood flooring doesn’t make sense if you plan to move
- Wood floors don’t provide any warmth to a room
- Wood floors tend to show dirt and dust more than other flooring options
- Cutting down trees to make wood flooring contributes to global warming
- Wood floors can’t stand up to wear and tear from young children and pets
- Engineered wood floors are not real wood floors
1. Wood floors are expensive.
Wood floors initially may cost more than other flooring options, but over the long-term, wood flooring is actually one of the most cost-effective flooring options available.
When properly installed and maintained, wood floors can last for hundreds of years. Other flooring options will likely have a service life of 10-20 years, which means they will need to be replaced 5-10 times as often as wood floors.
There are numerous examples of wood floors in excess of 300 years old that are still in service today. Most wood floors can be sanded and refinished several times during their service lives to restore beauty and luster. In addition, wood floors can adapt to many décor and style changes over the years while other flooring options can look dated and require replacement based on new decorating trends.
This makes wood floors a great long-term investment, and one of the least expensive flooring options available when considering total service life.
Routine maintenance for wood flooring is really very easy. Simply sweep, dust mop or vacuum the floors with the beater bar turned off to remove dirt and grit from between the floor boards.
Wet mops and steam mops should be avoided because excessive water and steam can dull the finish over time, or even damage the wood itself. When spills occur, they should be cleaned immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth.
When the floor begins to look a little dull, using a wood flooring cleaner recommended by the installer will help renew luster. If you are not sure which cleaner to use, visit a reputable floor covering store for a recommendation.
All flooring options will show some wear over time, but wood flooring is the only flooring option that can repair that wear to make it look new again.
Most scratches in wood flooring will occur in the finish, not the wood itself. These can be repaired with a maintenance coat in which the finish on the flooring is lightly abraded and then a new coat of finish is applied. This process is much like refinishing a piece of furniture where the old furniture is lightly sanded to give the new paint something to adhere to.
For scratches that are deeper and in the wood, the flooring can be sanded and refinished. A wood flooring professional who is properly trained, and also has the proper equipment, will remove just a small amount of the flooring material to make these kinds of repairs. Then, after the scratches are removed, a new coat of finish will be applied, restoring the floor to its original luster.
Scratches on wood flooring can be prevented and minimized by placing throw rugs at all entryways from outside, putting felt pads on furniture legs, clipping pet nails, and avoiding walking on floors in athletic cleats or high heels in disrepair.
Wood flooring is the most environmentally friendly flooring option available.
Through sustainable forest management, wood can be harvested with minimal impact on the environment because trees are a renewable natural resource. According to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, for every cubic foot of hardwood harvested in the US, 1.66 cubic feet is planted in its place. This has resulted in a 90% increase in standing hardwood volume in the US since 1953, which currently is about 328 billion cubic feet.
In addition, because wood floors can last hundreds of years, they use fewer raw materials, energy and natural resources.
Wood floors can add significant value to a home, potentially raising its sales price.
A survey of real estate agents in the US revealed that 99% believe homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell, 82% believe they sell faster, and 90% believe they sell for more money, up to 10% more. This means that if a home valued at $200,000 were to invest $10,000 in hardwood flooring, at an increased home sales value of 10%, the home potentially could sell for $220,000, doubling the homeowner’s initial wood flooring investment.
Wood floors actually can contribute to the warmth of a room, both aesthetically and in terms of insulating capacity.
Wood as a building material has excellent insulation properties. It has 10 times more insulating capacity than steel or aluminum, and five times more insulating capacity than concrete or cinder blocks. As a flooring material, wood retains warmth from heating systems, both from HVAC systems and radiant heat systems, increasing the overall physical warmth of the room.
The dirt and dust that is visible on wood flooring is on other flooring options as well, it’s just not as obvious. This is an advantage of wood flooring because it does not harbor dust, mold and animal dander. It’s easy to see and easy to remove, which improves indoor air quality, an advantage for allergy sufferers.
The main cause of global warming is carbon dioxide, and wood flooring is a carbon neutral product.
During their growth life, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. This process makes wood carbon neutral. In addition, wood flooring also stores carbon throughout its service life, maintaining its carbon neutral status even after the tree has been harvested.
A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison further indicates that wood flooring production has minimal emissions for carbon dioxide and no emissions for methane, nitrogen oxide and other particulates, all of which contribute to global warming.
Wood floors can stand up to any lifestyle.
Different species of wood have different durabilities and hardnesses, which are measured using the Janka scale. The Janka scale rates how likely it is that a wood species will dent or show other wear. For example, the Janka rating for domestic black walnut is 1,010, while the Janka rating for Brazilian walnut is more than three times higher at 3,680. The Brazilian walnut species is likely to be much less prone to showing wear and tear.
Finish can contribute to minimizing wear and tear on wood flooring as well. There are many finish products on the market today that can withstand heavy consumer traffic, like in restaurants and malls, so there are options that can stand up to busy family life as well.
Engineered wood floors are real wood floors. They are manufactured using multiple layers of wood or wood composite veneers. Other laminated flooring products may look like wood, but not actually be made of wood at all.
With engineered wood flooring, the only non-wood components used to make them are the adhesives used to bind the veneers together, and the finish that is applied to the top veneer to protect the wood.
Many people believe that solid wood floors are better than engineered wood floors, but it’s important to note that both are made using real wood. In addition, once installed, they will look the same.