Solid wood floors are renowned for their longevity, with some lasting up to a century. On the other hand, engineered wood floors have a lifespan of around 50 years. Both types of flooring can be sanded and restored to their original shine, making them a great long-term investment. With proper maintenance and care, hardwood floors can last for 100 years or more, depending on the type of wood chosen.
Artificial wood is a cost-effective alternative that typically lasts between 20 and 25 years. However, hardwood floors offer the best value in the long run, as they can be restored and refinished multiple times. The lifespan of a wooden floor is determined by several factors, including the type of wood and installation method. Engineered floors are becoming increasingly popular, but they tend to have a shorter lifespan than solid wood floors.
This is an example of an old hardwood floor that has been sanded down to compare it to new wood. After 100 years of fluctuating humidity levels, the boards may have developed large gaps that need to be filled in order to restore the floor's original appearance. If you decide to fill in the gaps, use a diluted latex filler and spread it evenly across the entire floor. If possible, use an orbital sander instead of a belt sander as its action is gentler and less likely to cause damage. At the beginning of the 20th century, hardwood floors began to be standardized in terms of widths and qualities.
Oak, maple, fir, and yellow pine were the most popular choices for floors at the time. Nowadays, there are over 50 domestic and exotic species available for solid wood floors, from classic favorites such as maple and oak to more modern options like bamboo and purpleheart. Hardwood floors in high-traffic areas may require deep cleaning by a professional flooring specialist. Unfinished floors are best for matching existing floors as they can be dyed in the desired shade. Over time, finishes will deteriorate depending on how much is used and may need to be reapplied at shorter intervals. In 1949, plywood floors, synthetic fiber carpeting, and vinyl flooring were introduced which caused hardwood floors to decline in popularity.
Engineered floors can have anywhere from three to twelve layers depending on their quality. Under the right conditions, engineered floors can bring out the best qualities of solid wood floors in areas where it would not normally be used. The type of wood also affects how it is installed. Modern homes usually opt for grooved and tab installation methods as they are more cost-effective. In the past, suitable hardwood floors were laid out on complete boards that covered large surface areas. Hardwood floors need ideal conditions such as proper floor preparation, acclimatization, and installation methods in order to last for many years.
Some of the oldest hardwood floors date back to 1911 when additional layers were added over existing ones. To conclude, with proper maintenance and care, hardwood floors can last up to 100 years or more depending on the type of wood chosen. Engineered wood floors are becoming increasingly popular but tend to have a shorter lifespan than solid wood floors.