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.
1. Purchasing wood floors depletes forests.
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 regrows 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.
2. Cutting down trees to make wood flooring contributes to global warming.
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 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).
Cleaning wood floors is easy. Regular maintenance includes sweeping with a soft bristle broom or dusting with a dry microfiber mop. If the floor has beveled edges, vacuum with the beater bar turned off to remove dust from between the floor boards. Clean the floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional. Find a professional in your area.
Recommended Maintenance Schedule
Sweep or dust mop
Vacuum using the bare floor setting
Clean with recommended wood flooring cleaner
Every 3 - 5 Years
Every Few Decades
Sand and refinish
To keep wood floors looking and performing well for generations, follow these guidelines. Individual maintenance schedules will vary depending on use, wear and tear, and lifestyle.
There are other steps that can help maintain the beauty of wood floors.
There are five main finishes to choose from. Each has its own benefits and advantages.
This is a transparent, tough, oil-based finish formulated to provide excellent durability and remarkable stain resistance. Polyurethane gives wood floors depth, richness and amber coloring while protecting them from dents and spills.
Average dry time between coats is 8 - 12 hours. Traffic is allowed after overnight drying. Furniture can be replace in 48 hours and rugs placed in 30 days.
Waterbased finishes are clear coatings that dry quicker between coats (3-4 hours) thus allowing 2 coats per day. They have a less noticeable odor and do not require the occupants to vacate.
They are more abrasive resistant to the every day traffic which dulls the floor. They are more difficult to apply, require more finishing supplies, and are more expensive. Because of this we add an extra $ .35 per sq ft to use these finishes.
We are proud to offer and use StreetShoe from BasicCoatings, Traffic from BonaKemi, X-Terra from Duraseal, and Neptune from Precision Technologies.
A clear to amber finish (depending on manufacturer) also known as a conversion varnish. Swedish finishes are the Hardest of all floor finishes and are very popular in the northwest. They are solvent based and require the use of organic vapor respirators during application.
They are combustible during application thus requiring the extinguishing of ignition sources such as pilot lights. Swedish finishes like waterbases dry very quickly, but do leave a residual odor for a couple of days. You (or your pets) can not remain in the home during and immediately after application.
Due to the inherent health risks we do add an extra $ .50 per sq ft to use a Swedish finish. We are proud to use Swedish for Pros from Precision Technologies and Gold Seal from Glitsa.
Wax finishes are perhaps the most beautiful of all floor finishes and the most misunderstood. Because it is one of the oldest floor treatments we only remember our moms on her hands and knees stripping and buffing. Wax is a very durable and easiest of all finishes to repair. A waxed finished floor can be put back in use immediately after finishing.
When an area begins to look dull or worn usually it can be restored with only a light buffing. Damaged areas are easily sanded and recoated without having to do the entire house. Yes, it will spot if water is spilled and left, but even then the white spots can be hand buffed out. It may require a strip and clean in traffic areas every couple of years depending on each household.
One should think of a wax finished floor as an investment that needs annual light maintenance and is why we offer an annual eminence service of clean and buffing of only $ .25 a sq ft based on original job size.
When a floor begins to look dull it is time for a recoat or what some people call a refinish. Recoats must be done before the finish has worn through to bare wood or stain. Recoats will only remove minor scratches.
The process involves cleaning and minor mechanical (Screening) abrasion of the top surface coat, then applying 1-2 coats of finish. There is minimal dust involved and usually does not require masking off of areas. High build finishes like polyurethane and Swedish only require 1 coat. Waterbase finishes may require 2 coats depending on the floor.
There is no comparison to the coziness and warmth that hardwood floors bring to any space, which is why so many people choose to have it installed and automatically upgrade their homes. Hardwood Flooring can last for decades and can easily adapt to many styles and colors that you may choose for decorating your home. Wood flooring has many different options, price ranges and styles, however, it can be divided into that made with solid wood and that with engineered wood. Solid-wood flooring is what you might directly think of when it comes to hardwood floors, and is basically made of solid, chunky planks of wood. Engineered-wood flooring consists of several layers of wood stuck together, with a top layer made out of many types of solid-wood veneers to choose from. It can sometimes be less costly than solid wood, but high-end engineered wood can be of equal endurance, quality and pricing. It is known that this layering method helps floors keep their original shape, color and condition for longer periods of time.
What is going to be most defining for the future of your hardwood floors will be the moment you decide which is the right one for you. It takes more than just picking out a kind and a color. These aspects should ultimately be decided upon by carefully defining these 6 elements to consider for you to get exactly what you want and what you need for your space.
The very first aspect to consider is what kind of budget you will be working with to start reviewing your options. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you compromise for less costly options for solid-wood flooring and it doesn’t mean that if you choose engineered wood you will get low-quality ‘fake’ wood. Determine your expense limitations and do your research in order to find a product with good price-performance ratio to fit your needs.
A greatly determining factor for deciding which kind of flooring you should get will be where it will be placed. Whether the room is over, below or at ground level (above, below or on grade, as it is referred to) should have an influence on your decision for solid- or engineered- wood flooring. Solid wood is not recommended for below grade rooms, like basements, where water filtrations and higher moisture levels can ruin the floor.
· Living Habits
What kind of activities you do in the room and how much wear the floor will have to endure are essential points to consider. If you are dealing with high-traffic areas or there are pets living in your home, you might want to consider harder wood or maybe you feel like the area is not used too often, so it would be okay with a less dense wood. You can also play around with different grain and stain options that can better help camouflage dents and scratches.
The kind of subfloor you currently have will be a crucial factor as well. The most common types are concrete slab and plywood. For concrete slab floors, your options narrow down to those with engineered wood since solid wood cannot be nailed to concrete. There are many styles and types of wood veneers that will surely satisfy your needs. Plywood floors can welcome both types of flooring and make it very easy to install the wood planks. Plywood covers can be used over concrete and particleboard floors to make it possible to install solid-wood flooring if you are willing to incur in the added costs.
· Style and Home Décor
The kind of style you have chosen for your home decoration should also be something to consider when choosing hardwood flooring. The color and species of wood you choose should complement or match that of cabinets, other furniture and door frames. It should be in tune with the overall style of the room, whether more traditional, for which you could choose a darker hickory, or a more modern style, which could benefit from natural-colored maple or a gray-stained oak.
Essential factors that will contribute to the durability of your flooring and the maintenance habits you will need to keep it will greatly be determined by the stain and finish you get. You can choose darker stains to easily camouflage defects, or get a mate finish instead of a glossy one to hide dents and scratches. What will also be essential is for you to ask your contractor on guidelines for cleaning the specific kind of floor you are purchasing. Regular cleaning with a dry mop will keep your floors in good shape, and remember to always use only products per manufacturer's specification.