The Many Benefits
Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be regrown time and time again.
- Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service).
- Harvesting trees has minimal environmental impact. For every cubic foot of trees harvested, 1.66 are regrown (Source: USDA Forest Service).
- Standing US hardwood volume currently is about 328 billion cubic feet (Source: USDA Forest Service).
- Indoor air quality is better with wood floors (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency).
- Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
- Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
- At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
- Wood floors last hundreds of years, so won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options (Source: National Association of Home Builders).
- While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100-plus years (Source: National Wood Flooring Association).
- Manufacturing wood info flooring does not contribute to global warming (Source: University of Wisconsin – Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
Wood floors improve indoor air quality. They do not harbor allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides tracked in from outdoors.
In addition, dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal with wood floors, which improve indoor air quality (Source: US EPA). This presents a significant advantage for the 60 million people in the US who suffer from asthma and/or allergies (Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America).
Durability & Re-coating
Wood is extremely durable as a flooring option. Each wood species used to make flooring has a different density, which translates into a different hardness. The Janka scale is a measurement used to rank the relative hardness of wood species used for flooring.
Janka ratings are determined using a test that measures the force required to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in each species. The denser and harder the wood, the higher the rating.
These rating are for solid wood flooring only. Engineered wood flooring cannot accurately be ranked using the Janka scale because it can include more than one wood species due to its multi-layer construction.
In addition to Janka ratings, there are other factors that contribute to the overall durability of wood floors as well, including saw cut and finish.
One of the advantages of wood floors is that they can be refinished, which makes them a great long-term value.
If small scratches occur, they typically can be repaired easily with a maintenance coat. A wood flooring professional will clean the floors to remove all contaminants, then will lightly abrade the floor and apply a new coat of finish. If scratches are deep in the wood, or if there are large dents or damaged boards, trained refinishers will be able to repair the damage without affecting the rest of the floor.
The number of times a floor can be refinished will depend on the floor itself, the degree of repair needed, and the skill of the refinisher. A professional refinisher will remove very little of the wood to make repairs – generally 1/32" or less – while those without proper training or equipment might remove much more wood than that, which greatly reduces the service life of the floor.
Wood floors offer great long-term value, are easy to maintain, and add value to the home or business.
When properly installed and maintained, wood floors can last for hundreds of years. Other flooring options that won't last as long will need to be replaced more often, at additional expense both financially and to the environment.
Routine maintenance requires nothing more than a broom or dust mop. Periodically, using a wood flooring cleaner made for the floor will help remove surface dirt.
Wood floors also add value to a property. Real estate agents report that properties with wood floors sells faster and for more money than properties without wood floors.
Wood Flooring Myths
Investing in wood flooring doesn't make sense if you plan to move.
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.