Hardwood floors add beauty and character to any space. Below we discuss some common myths about hardwood so you can be well-informed when it is time to decide on flooring options for your home.
Myth #1: Wood floors are expensive
Initially, wood floors 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 to 20 years, which means they will need to be replaced five to 10 times as often as wood floors. 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.
Myth #2: Wood floors do not add value to a home
Actually, The National Wood Floor Association states wood floors can potentially increase the sales price of a home, according to many realtors and investors. The timeless beauty and lasting value of a hardwood floor can add significantly to your home, regardless of whether it is for your own pleasure or if you are selling. In addition, hardwood floors in a home increase the home’s “likability,” meaning that buyers appreciate the look of hardwood and many consider them a more healthy option than carpet.
Myth #3: Damp mopping is the best way to clean a wood floor
False! Water and wood should never mix, so get rid of that bucket and mop. Water can cause damage to the wood as well as the finish. The safest method to clean your hardwood floor is with a dry microfiber dust mop. You may use a damp mop sporadically, but using a damp mop too much can dull a floor’s finish. When and if you do use a damp mop make sure that your mop is damp and not soaking wet because too much water will discolor your floors.
While weekly vacuuming or sweeping is vital for getting rid of dirt and dust that can scratch your floor, it is best to use products and procedures that will not cause harm to the urethane finish. A hard bristle brush beater bar, typically meant for carpet, can damage your hardwood, therefore a gentle vacuum or Swiffer is recommended. It is important to check the compatibility with urethane finishes and the products you plan on using. You never want to use vinegar, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners, since they will dull and damage your hardwood floors and void warranties. Soaps and detergents can leave a harmful film causing the top finishes to yellow, crack, or pull away from itself, causing ridges (known as alligatoring.) Review the product labeling for warranties and directions.
Myth #4: Hardwood floors scratch easily
False! Hardwood is durable enough to stand up to most lifestyles. While top finishes and wood can still scratch or dent under enough pressure, it is relatively easy to repair a wood floor to its original luster.
High heels or spiked heels, such as cleats, can cause significant damage to hardwood floors. These types of shoes strike with more force per inch than an elephant’s foot, up to 10,000 pounds per inch. If the heels are damaged, they act like a tiny hammer, repeatedly beating the floor and causing damage.
Wheels on rolling chairs can also harm a wood floor if they are made of hard plastic or metal. To protect your floors, try using barrel-type rollers made of non-marring rubber or put a mat under rolling chairs. Another helpful tip is to purchase adhesive felt furniture pads from your local home improvement store and put them on the legs of chairs, tables, and furniture to prevent damage to your floors. Location, traffic, regular cleaning, kids and/or pets can factor into the wear and tear of wood flooring.
Myth #5: Hardwood floors are hard and expensive to maintain
False! No flooring options are totally immune to wear and tear, but wood is the only flooring product where damage can be repaired to make it look new again.
Most scratches in a wood floor are superficial or in the finish, not the plank itself, which means the floor can generally be repaired with a maintenance coat. The finish on the flooring is lightly sanded and a new coat of finish applied. For deeper scratches that impact the plank, the floors should be professionally sanded and then refinished. After the scratches are removed, a new coat of finish is applied, restoring the floor to its original luster.
To minimize the risk of scratches on your wood floors, place rugs at entryways from the outside, put felt pads on furniture legs, keep pet’s nails trimmed, and avoid walking on floors in athletic cleats or high heels that are in disrepair.
Myth #6: Purchasing wood floors depletes forests
Wood is the most environmentally-friendly flooring option. Through responsible forest supervision and production, wood can be harvested with barely any effect 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 U.S. since 1953, which currently is about 328 billion cubic feet. Shannon and Waterman is proud to say that we manufacture our lumber from family-owned forests and have been responsibly harvesting for over 100 years.
Jack Shannon surveys a Shannon Family tract of white oak timber in Missouri, circa 1938
Some may be concerned with the impacts on global warming from lumber production. However, the primary cause of global warming is carbon dioxide. Trees actually help combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen. This process makes wood a carbon neutral product. 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. In addition, wood floors can last hundreds of years, thereby using fewer raw materials, energy and natural resources over their lifetime.
Look beyond the myths to appreciate the beauty and value of hardwood floors.
Every newly crafted Shannon & Waterman wide plank floor has its beginnings in our family-owned, old growth forests. For generations, we’ve masterfully managed our forests for true sustainability—ensuring that we always have the mature trees necessary to supply the densely grown, stable, and generously proportioned wood to create the floors of your dreams. In addition, many of our products are FSC® certified.
The complete Shannon & Waterman line of products of can be viewed on our website here: S&W Floors