Wood Floor Trends

Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Flooring

Rob Patwary

Rob Patwary

July 21, 2020

Over the last year, we have written over a dozen blogs about hardwood flooring spanning from our most popular, Glued Down vs Wood Flooring, to our most recent, Wood Flooring Terms Explained.

All are filled with expert knowledge and information on some of the common questions and queries that crop up when you decide to install wood flooring into your home for the first time, or if you already have wood floors but would like to learn more about how to best look after them.

We thought we would pull together some of the FAQs that customers often ask, some of which have already been addressed in blogs, so that you can get the answers to any questions you’ve ever had about wood flooring in one handy place.

If you have a particular question, and you can’t find the answer here, then you can reach our hardwood flooring experts on 0121 684 4772 to ask them directly!

What is hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring is flooring made of wood from a deciduous tree, such as oak or maple. It tends to be a highly durable wood because these are slow-growing, dense trees; hence, the name ‘hardwood’.

It’s a hugely popular choice for flooring in home and commercial properties such as gyms, because of how tough and resilient it is, making it easy to maintain and capable of withstanding a high volume of traffic.

You can read up more on hardwood flooring, and how it differs from softwood, here: Softwood versus Hardwood

What are the benefits of wood flooring as opposed to carpet?

Wood has quickly become a more popular choice of flooring material for homeowners across the UK, and for good reason.

Wood flooring is far easier to keep clean than carpet, especially if you have pets or children, as spills can be quickly wiped away where a stain would normally form, and dirt and dust can be easily swept up instead of the tiresome task of hoovering or scrubbing at a carpet.

Wood flooring also has a long life expectancy, partially as a result of the easier maintenance that comes with it.
Unlike carpet, it doesn’t cling on to bad smells, it takes a lot longer for it to lose its colour and it won’t ever lose its shape (unless it experiences some water damage).

In real life conditions, a wood floor can last an entire lifetime and only needs refinishing when it does start to look a little tired; whereas, a carpet would need an intense steam clean, or to be completely replaced, on a more regular basis.

Read more about the Advantages Of Wood Flooring in the Home here

How do you keep wood floors clean?

Cleaning wood floors is not as difficult a job as it probably first seems, even with children and pets running around.

The day to day maintenance includes wiping away any spills that may occur with a dry cloth or paper towel immediately to avoid stains and water damage, and sweeping up any dirt or dust using a soft bristle brush or gentle vacuum cleaner.

A weekly, deeper, clean requires a microfibre mop and specific wood floor cleaning spray to lift the more stubborn dirt and stains.

For further information, read our post on How To Maintain and Clean Wood Floors

How do you protect wood flooring against scratches?

As hard as you may try, you cannot avoid getting marks and scratches on your wood flooring especially if you have pets or children, and if it’s in a room that gets a lot of use, such as the living room.
But, you can put measures in place to protect your flooring and reduce the amount of scratches that occur.

The biggest cause of scratches on hardwood flooring is outdoor footwear. Debris that has been brought in from shoes worn outdoors, or sharp heels that dig into the surface of the wood, are prone to causing some marks and scratches.

The best way to prevent this is to put a strict policy of removing their footwear before entering that room/the house. A heavy duty door mat outside and just inside the house can also help to remove debris from shoes when people are entering the property.

Another common cause of scratches of wood floors is from furniture; dining room chairs being pulled out and dragged along the floor and sofas being pushed and pulled around when cleaning, for example.
The best way to stop this from happening is to put felt protector pads on the bottom of your furniture and be cautious when moving furniture around by lifting and carrying rather than pushing and pulling.

Learn more about How To Look After Your Wood Floors here

How long before my wood floors will need to be replaced?

Wood flooring has the potential to last a lifetime, i.e. if you were to install brand new wood floors today, they can last for as long as you live in that home.
However, this is only true if you look after them well - this means sweeping them daily and doing a deeper clean every week, wiping away spills and water immediately, protecting them from scratches and refinishing them every few years.

As long as your wood floors are well maintained and are not exposed to any major damage, such as a leak/flood, then you will not need to ever replace your wood floors unless you want a new look and decide to renovate your home.

You can find more information about When You Should Replace Your Wood Floors Here

Can wood flooring be fitted in any room of the house?

There are a lot of myths surrounding this question with many people under the impression that there are some rooms in the house where wood flooring is inappropriate.
This is due to the fact that there are some rooms/areas in the house that:

  • Expose wood flooring to a higher risk of water damage, such as the bathroom or laundry room
  • Expose wood flooring to dirt and debris from outside, as well as a high volume of traffic, such as the entryway

Although we can appreciate that you might not feel comfortable installing wood floors into certain spaces in your home because it will require more caution and maintenance, there is no room that would be deemed ‘inappropriate’ for wood flooring.

What are the different finishes available for wood flooring?

There are eight different types of finish that you can apply to wood: oil, lacquer, dye, water-based, stain, french polish, shellac and varnish.

Each finish lends itself to a different aesthetic known as the sheen level, and also how hard wearing it is and how often it will need maintenance.
For example, if you like the shiny floor look and want to maximise the natural light available to the room, then you’ll want a high gloss finish which you can achieve with a lacquer or shellac.

On the other end of the spectrum, you might prefer a matt finish which is more durable and easy to maintain, so you would opt for a varnish or oil.

You also want to consider the various benefits of each finish. Some of these include the fact that stains improve the wood colour and increase the visibility of the grain, water-based finishes give a natural appearance to the wood, and varnishes are great for protecting the wood.

They also require different maintenance schedules. An oiled wood floor is easier for a non-professional to maintain as it’s fairly simple to replenish the floor with a maintenance oil when it starts to look dull. Whereas, a varnished wood floor takes a little more work, so, when it begins to wear out, it will require a professional team to perform sanding before re-lacquering.

To learn more, read our Finding The Right Finish For Your Wood Floors blog here

Is wood flooring safe for pets and children?

In short, yes.
There are many precautions you can take and measures that you can put in place to protect both your wood floors from your pets and children, and your pets and children from your wood floors.

The biggest concern for most parents and guardians is that young children will be prone to severe injury should they fall on a wood floor and that the chances of this increase due to wood flooring be a slip hazard.
The reality is that wood is a natural shock absorber and when paired with a thick underlay, it isn’t actually as painful for children should they fall as you might think.

Furthermore, when it comes to pets, we’ve written a whole blog on Wood Flooring in a Home with Pets which details exactly how you can ensure that the two live harmoniously together.

Is underfloor heating safe for all types of wood flooring?

There is a danger of wood floors changing shape and warping due to the changes in temperature/climate as a result of underfloor heating; however, as long as the system is designed and installed correctly, this should not be a problem.

There should never be any sudden changes in temperature and the heat should be emitted uniformly across the floor which will prevent any disturbance to the wood flooring itself.

There is no specific type of wood that is considered unsuitable or unsafe for underfloor heating, but it has been said that modern engineered wood floors are more appropriate than solid hardwood floors for the installation of underfloor heating.

Should I glue or float my wood floors?

There are a number of key differences between glued down and floated wood flooring which should be factored in when making a decision between the two.

The main difference is that glued down wood floors are far more stable and secure whilst floated wood floors are slightly more spongy and you may notice some movement in high traffic areas; though this isn’t something that will cause any major issues.

However, the most important thing to consider, and one which may be a problem at some point, is whether or not you are likely to want to change your wood flooring in a few years because if it has been glued down it will be far more difficult and time-consuming to rip it up and replace it than if it has just been floated.

This is often why people opt for floated wood flooring in areas where there is risk of water damage, such as the bathroom. If there is ever a leak and the flooring needs to be taken up, it can be done quickly and without causing any damage to the planks of wood.

For further information, read our blog: Should You Float or Glue Down Your Wood Flooring?

How do I know when it’s time to refinish my wood floors?

The great thing about wood flooring, aside from it’s durability and stunning appearance, is that when it starts to discolour, look tired or experiences any surface level damage, it can be refinished a number of times, leaving it looking as good as new.

This means that wood floors can last for many, many years before they need to be replaced.

There are some key telltale signs for when your wood floors should probably be refinished:

  • There are a lot of visible scratches, dents or marks
  • The floorboards are starting to grey or lose their colour
  • There has been a little water damage
  • It has been over seven years since they were last refinished

Our Beginner’s Guide To Refinishing Hardwood Floors explains this in more detail.

We are proud to call ourselves experts in all things to do with wood flooring, from supplying to fitting to refinishing, so if you would like to ask any questions or find out more about any of our service, then call us today on 0121 684 4772