A classic material with enduring beauty, solid wood flooring adds warmth and value to any space. Wood has been used for flooring for hundreds of years, due to the comfort it provides as well as many other practical factors. The first wooden floors were crafted from rough hewn timber that was hand planed and sanded to create a smooth surface and were commonly placed directly over bare dirt floors. In the new world, during the colonial period, they took advantage of the vast forests available to them, and made wood flooring the most common material used for covering the floors in homes and buildings. Using wide, long and thick planks cut from old growth trees the wood was tight grained and dense providing superior durability.
As technology progressed and milling improved wood flooring became more easily accessible, and truly became the material of choice for floors. The advent of tongue and groove mill work made wood flooring much easier to install and created a product that could be pre-leveled before installation, giving it a more polished and uniform look, one that we are familiar with today.
Hardwood flooring remained the flooring of choice until the 1920's when linoleum and cork flooring products were introduced. These new options were easier to install and maintain, making wood less desirable for a period of time.
In the 1930's floor finish technology made huge strides with the introduction of polyurethane, keeping wood in vogue until the introduction of inexpensive carpeting hit the market after World War II. During the 1980's people wanted a different flooring solution, and turned back to hardwoods for their clean and natural looks as well as the performance they provide.
Today, Hardwood and other wood flooring options are more abundant and popular than ever. Not only is wood flooring one of the most practical options it is also very attractive and timeless. In the last 30 plus years the trend has been to remove the existing carpet in older homes and to re sand and finish the old wood floors, bringing them back to life. This in itself is a testament to the longevity and quality of these timeless floors.
Many new wood floors are crafted using similar techniques as their older counterparts, creating a floor that has many of the same characteristics and closely resemble their looks. When choosing a floor that will last for generations to come, many consumers today are focused on the quality of the mill work as well as the material itself.
Reclaimed wood flooring is a great option that has become popular, not only for the look it provides but for environmental reasons as well. With a growing population and increased demand for wood products, it only makes sense to reuse existing resources when possible. As the reclaimed industry has grown, so have the options and products available as well as the quality of those products.
Traditional hardwoods have always been a popular choice for flooring. Superior durability and performance make them a practical material for floors worldwide. From more common species like oak and hickory to highly prized woods such as walnut and cherry peolpe today want to make a lasting statement with their spaces.
While there are engineered options available, solid wood flooring remains the most popular choice in the united states. Solid planks are the most traditional type of wood flooring and have the greatest ability to be sanded and refinished as wear occurs over time, providing a floor that will last longer than most engineered wood floors.
A common question is what type of finish should I use? With finishes ranging from natural oils to hard wax oil as well as urathanes, there are many good options that all have their benefits and drawbacks. Natural oils will penetrate deep into the wood and are highly repairable, but also require a little more maintenance. Hardwax oil is similar to a natural oil with the addition of a wax layer that remains on the surface of the floor and provides more protection. Urathane finishes can be the most protective but are difficult to repair and will show scratches and wear and tear.
While there are numerous ways to change or enhance the color tone of a solid wood floor from dark stains to white treatments, clear finish continues to be a popular and classic choice. Clear finish enhances the natural beauty of the planks and is a timeless finish that has been used for centuries to protect the wood from stains and other wear related issues.
Maintaining a solid wood floor is important, with a few simple steps and common sense, it is common to see wood flooring that is in good shape without being refinished after 20 plus years of service Weekly cleaning is recommended and will keep the floor looking great.
Whether you are looking for a traditional, modern or rustic solid wood floor, there are more choices and available options today than ever before. From wood species to surface texture to the type of finish used, there is no limit to the ability to create the perfect wood floor. Choosing a solid wood floor is a timeless choice and will be a great investment that will pay for itself time and time again over the life of the floor. It is also common for a wood floor to increase the value of a home in the case of a sale.