Wood hardness

Different woods have different degrees of hardness and density which will affect how they look over time. Eastern White Pine, the softest wood used for flooring, has in many cases withstood over 200 years of use and abuse. You’ll never “walk through” a wood floor.

Hardness and response to moisture are individual to each species, and these properties are important considerations when choosing a wood floor.

The hardness of wood is measured scientifically by the “Janka” test. This test measures the pressure it takes to sink a .444 inch steel ball one half its diameter into the surface of the wood. A higher number denotes a harder wood. Woods that are naturally harder than others will show less dents and evidence of traffic, but this relative standard is mostly for cosmetic reasons as all wood floors will last hundreds of years before they are worn through.

Aging gracefully: wood and sunlight.

All wood exposed to sunlight changes color over time. In furniture, this acquired color is called “patina” and is desirable. Anything organic exposed to the sun changes color, including you and me. (more…)

Some reasons to choose wood flooring

Wood flooring is an investment rather than an expense, increasing the value of any property. Count how many times wood flooring is mentioned as a selling point for houses on the market. It will last for the life of the building, and can always be refinished to “brand new” condition … even after centuries of use. It contributes to a healthy living environment because it will not harbor dust mites or molds. Wood is the only building material that is both bio-degradable and renewable, two cornerstones of environmental friendliness. The “cradle-to-grave” environmental impact of wood production, transportation and installation, is far less than that of any competing construction material. Wood flooring production is very efficient and generates nearly no waste … every part of the tree is used. Considering its lifespan, wood flooring is the most cost-effective floor covering.

Most importantly, wood flooring is just plain beautiful. Each piece is as unique to the entire world and all of history as you are. We think it transforms a space like no other home improvement and is one of the most rewarding do-it-yourself projects.

Dogs and wood floors

Every wood flooring manufacturer mentions pets in their maintenance instructions (we do too). The recommendation is to keep their nails clipped so as not to leave any potential scratches or gouging in the floor. Our 55-pound poodle can leave occasional evidence in our American Cherry, which is the softest hardwood we carry. It only happens when the neighborhood kids come over and throw the ball down the winding Cherry staircase, and the dog slips. Our Maple floors, which are substantially harder than Cherry, survive anything she can dish out. The real big and heavy dogs (i.e. Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands) usually don’t move around fast enough to leave marks.

Wood flooring in the bathroom & kitchen

The only difference between these two rooms, and the rest of the house, is that there is more moisture generated in these two rooms. If spills are cleaned up when they happen, and water is not left standing, then wood floors are as good as any other flooring material. If you leave puddles of water to dry on their own, then an inorganic inert flooring material may be a better choice. The biggest danger is not any surface abuse, but in trapping water between the finish floor and the subfloor, which could occur with any material. The trapped moisture cannot dry out, and this leads to an environment that promotes mold and mildew growth. Cork floors and floating floors offer slight cushioning underfoot, and are recommended for kitchens, exercise rooms, or any room where you’re on your feet most of the time.