Hardwood flooring is a desirable and often more expensive option for homes. Because hardwood flooring is a beautiful investment into your home's appearance and value, you may wonder how long wood flooring lasts? We researched common types of wood for flooring and helpful tips to help your hardwood flooring look its best. Learn more about maintaining your wood floors and how to promote their longevity.
Under normal circumstances of daily wear-and-tear and no extreme events, most wood flooring lasts an average of 100 years. Engineered hardwood flooring can last as long as 50 years. Significant damage to untreated wood flooring, using softer woods, and a lack of maintenance can shorten the lifespan of wood floors.
Discover more about maintaining beautiful hardwood floors for a sophisticated home, no matter if you select engineered or traditional wood flooring.
Lifespan Of Wood Flooring
It is critical to care for wood flooring appropriately to prevent damage caused by improper cleaning materials, sun bleaching, and scratches. Over the lifetime that you live with specific types of wood flooring, it will most likely require refinishing every seven to ten years, or as much as 20 years. In most cases, you can restore the look of wood flooring without resorting to outright replacing it.
Hardwood flooring can withstand being sanded and refinished up to seven types over its average lifespan of over 100 years. Engineered wood lasts a little over 50 years if well maintained.
Many types of wood are selected for qualities that make them an ideal choice for durable, tasteful flooring. Here is some more info about common wood flooring:
- Oak - One of the toughest, traditional flooring choices that lasts a century or longer
- Maple - Affordable popular choice that can last decades up to 10 years if well maintained
- Ash - Durable, water-resistant, shock-absorbent wood that is light in color and lasts for 100 years or more
- Hickory - A water-resistant wood that has a sporadic look and is stronger than white oak, lasts 100 years or more
- Walnut - A popular flooring choice that can easily last a little over 50 to 60 years before needing replacement
Wood Flooring Look-alikes
- Bamboo - Really a grass, but it can last between 20 to 25 years or up to 50 years if properly maintained
- Laminate - Engineered hardwood floor lasts between 15 to 25 years on average. Typically, engineered forms of ash, oak, and other woods last 25 to 30 years if high-quality and installed properly before needing replacement.
If you are uncomfortable restoring original hardwood flooring in a home or are not adept at installing natural or engineered flooring, hire a certified professional. When hardwood flooring is appropriate for the climate, construction method, and correctly installed, it is more likely to last longer with fewer problems.
Choose a harder wood for high-traffic areas instead of softer wood to reduce visible damage. Learn ways to protect your flooring and maintain it for better longevity. Wood floors are susceptible to:
- Fading from the sun
- Stains and rot from water
- Overdoing it with sanding
Read more: "Can You Wax A Floor Without Stripping It?"
Do Hardwood Floors Scratch Easily?
For the most part, if your home has flooring made from a harder wood like white oak, hickory, or hard maple, it is less likely to develop scratches easily. However, certain woods are less ideal for an area that will experience heavy foot traffic. If you discover some unsightly scratches on your floor, check out these tips:
- You can help reduce the chances of your floor getting scratched up by placing down mats, runners, or area rugs.
- Make sure to remove your street shoes before entering a space with hardwood flooring.
- Add protective pads to furniture to prevent dings and dents when moving pieces.
- Regularly clean floors to remove the dust and debris buildups.
- Use a vacuum for hardwood floors.
- If you see any scratches or damages, don't wait long to take care of it.
While some hardwood floors are less prone to getting damaged easily, they are all vulnerable to scratches.
How Often Do Wood Floors Need Refinishing?
If you notice your hardwood floors have lost their luster and are looking worn down, consider refinishing the flooring. Wooden planks are usually about 3/4 inch thick and can handle being sanded and restored up to seven times during their lifespan. Consider putting down a new, protective coating on floors after a minimum of three to five years, especially if it is in a high-traffic area.
After adding a new finish to hardwood floors, on average, it should last up to 10 years before it needs to be repeated. When hardwood floors show fading, discoloration, water stains, splinters, dents, dings, or scratches, it's time to refinish it. Floors that are severely damaged or have very loose planks may need to be outright replaced.
Is It Worth It To Refinish Hardwood Floors?
Make the investment on your hardwood floors and choose to refinish them as needed instead of resorting to replacing planks. It is not incredibly labor intensive to refinish hardwood floors and is fairly cost-effective maintenance. The finish on hardwood flooring usually lasts an average of 10 years and increases a home's value exponentially.
Before deciding to scrap old hardwood flooring and give up on giving it a lift, take a closer look. Older wood floors that look worn but could still tolerate sanding and a new stain and wax treatment, provided no serious wear-and-tear, structural problems, or planks that move a bit too much. Check and see that flooring hasn't been sanded to death before going all in on refinishing.
How Do You Know If Wood Floors Are Sealed?
Hardwood floors that have been properly sealed should be resistant to water and stains. If you want to figure out if the floors are sealed, conduct a water test.
Find an area on your floor and drop a bit of water onto the surface. If the water beads up then the wood floors have a sealant. If the water begins to soak into the planks, the floor is not sealed.
Because of the porous nature of wood, it is important that it is sealed and protected after sanding and staining. A sealant should protect wood from water stains, reduce wear-and-tear, and slow down visible damage.
Remember, staining does not protect hardwood floors, but a sealant does. Engineered flooring is usually designed with a water-proof, scratch-resistant coating, so it doesn't require an application of sealant.
What Is The Most Scratch-Resistant Wood Flooring?
Hardwoods can be judged by their ranking on The Janka test, which registers their relative hardness compared to one another. The best woods for a scratch-resistant floor include hard maple, white oak, and hickory.
Some people turn away from hickory flooring because the planks have such a wide variation in appearance compared to other woods. Installing flooring that has a visually interesting wood grain pattern and the cut and placement of planks can also help hide flaws.
To better protect wood floors from scratches, consider doing the following.
- Take off street shoes and do not walk on floors with high heels, cleats, or abrasive soles.
- Put down protective pads on the underside of furniture legs to prevent scratches when rearranging pieces.
- Routinely sweep and polish floors to remove dirt and debris build up.
- As needed, strip, sand, and refinish floors to restore them to their formative glory and reduce any visible damage.
Durable, hardwood floors can look attractive for decades when properly maintained and cared for to reduce damage.
We hope you have a better understanding of hardwoods, the qualities that make them a great flooring choice, and helpful maintenance tips. Woods that are softer or based on their grain and cut may be more susceptible to scratches or show visible wear-and-tear. Most popular hardwood flooring in oak, maple, or engineered options can last for decades before requiring a replacement or refinishing.
Some experts suggest that hardwood flooring get refinished every seven to ten years or as needed. Hardwood floors will require refinishing to reduce the visibility of water stains, sun bleaching, scratches, or a worn appearance. Choose your hardwood floors wisely and enjoy durable, attractive flooring that can last up to 100 years or more. Engineered hardwood flooring typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 25 years if properly maintained.
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