Some types of flooring come with a well-known life span. Carpeting, for example, may be switched out and traded up every decade or so. When it comes to wood flooring, the floors you install today can easily outlast its occupants. But this is dependent on a number of key factors, and it all starts with the wooden flooring installation process:
The Beginning Stages
What may be the most critical element to the longevity of your hardwood flooring is how well it is installed. Experienced and quality professional installers of wooden floors will know how to assess and tackle a number of key issues that will determine the performance of your floor and how it ages:
- A professional will be aware of the ideal conditions to install the wooden floor and will only proceed if these conditions are being met
- Experienced installers will be well versed in proper installation methods
- Floor preparation is key to having a long-lasting wood floor. A properly prepared floor will keep moisture and any other issues at bay that can affect the shape and quality of the wood
Wood Profiles and Specifications
Today’s hardwood floors are often created with the traditional 3/4” tongue and groove. This type of wood profile has a shorter lifespan than the old school method of having a solid piece of wood nailed to the ground. This is largely because there is a greater limitation on how often this type of floor can be sanded and refinished. Generally speaking, the tongue and groove type of board can only be fully sanded anywhere from 2 to 4 times in its life span, unlike solid timber which can last several more decades.
Proper Care and Maintenance
Home owners who don’t use proper products that are tailored specifically for their wood floor (and type of wood) can significantly damage the wood. This may result in them needing to sand and refinish their wooden flooring more often, thus reducing its lifespan.
- Whenever possible, vacuum your wooden floors to keep them clean rather than mop. Dust them with an electrostatic cloth to remove most grime.
- Contrary to popular belief, a combination of vinegar and water is not an effective wood cleaner. The acidity of the vinegar can break down your wood and destroy its finish.
- If you have waxed floors, never mop.
There are a few other simple tips that one can keep in mind. Remove your shoes when inside of the house to cut down on dirt and grime. Consider outfitting furniture with floor protectors to prevent scratches, and immediately take care of oil, grease and stains with an appropriate commercial product.
The Final Verdict
The truth is that the longevity of your hardwood floor greatly depends on how well it’s installed and how properly it is cared for throughout its lifetime. The best way to ensure that your wood floor will stand the test of time is to have it installed by a qualified and experienced professional. Once you’ve given your floor the best start possible, it’s up to you to protect the floor through routine (dry) cleaning and stain removal. To really help extend its life, consider placing an area rug in high traffic areas to prevent additional scratches, scuffs and marks. Follow this and your wood flooring will remain brilliant and beautiful for decades to come.