Debunking Hardwood Flooring Myths
While wood flooring has been used for ages, there are still some myths that persist about them today. Learn the misconceptions about wood flooring and the truths that debunk them.
Wood has been used for flooring in homes for millennia. At first, only the very wealthy, such as royalty, were able to afford and enjoy the comfort and elegance of wood floors. Often, wood was used as unfinished planks supported by wooden joists over dirt or stone. It wasn’t until 1625 that artistic French parquetry patterns began to emerge. The process and meticulous craftmanship meant that the average populace couldn’t afford this type of flooring.
However, the vast forested lands of the New World provided more homeowners with access to wood and they began to install plank floors in their homes. Wood flooring was used primarily for comfort and function rather than beauty – they were usually cut in varying sizes and were left unfinished.
These days, hardwood floors have become popular for their elegance as much as for comfort. However, myths about the use of hardwood floors still abound which prevent people from enjoying their full benefits. Read on to learn misconceptions and truths about wood flooring.
1. Hardwood floors are difficult to maintain.
On the contrary, wood floors are actually very easy to maintain. Regular sweeping, dusting, mopping and vacuuming is enough to ensure that dirt and grit is removed from floor boards. The use of excessive water can eventually dull the finish of wood floors or damage it so it’s best to avoid using wet mops and steam mops; instead, dry or slightly damp cloths should be used. Similarly, make sure to switch the beater bar off when vacuuming wood floors so as not to wear the finish down. Choose vacuum cleaners with rubber wheels, which will be gentler on your wood flooring, instead of ones with plastic wheels or those without wheels at all.
If you notice that the floor starts looking a bit dull, you can use a wood flooring cleaner to renew its luster. Consult a reputable floor covering store for recommendations if you’re unsure about the type of cleaner to use.
2. Wood floors cost a lot of money.
While it can cost more than other flooring options initially, the durability of hardwood floors means that you won’t have to replace it for years to come. Properly installed and maintained wood floors can last hundreds of years, unlike other flooring options that usually only have a service life of up to 20 years, maximum. You can find numerous examples of historic homes that have had the same wood floors for more than 300 years! This is because this type of material can be sanded and refinished several times over the years to restore their beauty.
Additionally, wood floors are versatile; they go well with various interior design changes and can adapt to any décor. Meanwhile, other flooring options can look unfashionable and are not easily adaptable to ever-changing decorating trends, which means they would need to be replaced.
3. Wood floors become dirty and dusty more than other flooring options.
While it may not be as obvious with other flooring options compared to wood floors, you can be sure that all flooring types get dirt and dust. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. The advantage of wood flooring is that it’s easy to see dirt and dust, thus, remove them, which will greatly improve indoor air quality. It does not conceal dust, mold and animal dander. For this reason, wood flooring is a healthy option especially for those who are susceptible to allergies.
4. If you have young children and pets, wood floors aren’t the right flooring option for you.
Many people erroneously believe that wood floors can’t stand up to wear and tear brought about by children and animals. Durability and hardness varies depending on the wood species, so consult an expert when choosing which ones to use if you have young kids and pets. Also, you can enhance the durability and extend the lifespan of hardwood floors by applying a paint coat to reduce wear and tear. There are also finish products that can endure heavy foot traffic.
5. Wood floors can scratch easily.
No flooring option is immune to wear and tear over time; however, wood flooring is the only one that can be repaired to make it look brand new. Most scratches actually occur in the finish, not in the wood. This can be repaired by lightly abrading the finish and applying a new coat. In case the wood gets deeper scratches, these can be sanded and refinished.
You can also do your part in preventing and minimizing scratches by placing throw rugs in all doorways leading to and from the outdoors and avoiding walking on your wood floors wearing athletic cleats or high-heeled shoes without good soles. If you have pets, make sure you clip their nails regularly, so they don’t scratch the wood. It’s also advisable to put felt or rubber pads on your furniture legs so they don’t end up scratching the wood when they need to be moved.