Atlas Custom Hardwood Flooring | Blog
"Wood Floors Hurt The Environment": Debunking 5 Hardwood Floor Myths
You've Heard Them All Before...
cautionary tales about hardwood flooring and how expensive and difficult they are to maintain, or how they tear down forests and hurt the environment...although some of these misconceptions about hardwood flooring may have held a little water 20 years ago, the truth is that technology has changed, and the way that hardwood flooring is manufactured, installed, and the materials used to maintain it etc. have kicked the legs out from under these myths. This article examines 5 of the most common myths and offers real, factual information regarding each of them.
We will look at each myth individually. Let’s start with one that makes logistical sense. You hear this and think, "how can this not be the case?” Well- it isn’t. And we explain why:
1.) Hardwood Flooring Contributes to Deforestation, and Global Warming.
If you're not actively involved in the Hardwood Flooring industry, it is easy to understand where this myth got its origin. Hardwood flooring is made from wood, which comes from trees, and to make the wood panels, trees have to be cut down, which is inherently bad for the environment, right? Sort of... What most people do not realize is that responsible hardwood flooring companies buy their lumber from areas which are specifically designated for growing trees for lumber. In this way, hardwood flooring doesn’t expand the areas which are deforested; instead, the lumber is grown on designated tree farms, and the trees are grown on a rotation schedule so as to not damage the soil. In this way, razing trees is done in a self-contained, environmentally friendly way which does not require new forests or sections of forest to be destroyed. All of our hardwood flooring is purchased from eco-friendly companies using sustainable logging practices, including replanting, selective felling and meet the requirements to receive an FSC certification. If environmental concerns still weigh on your mind, these days there is also the option for engineered hardwood flooring, which we will discuss later in this article.
2.) Hardwood Flooring is Difficult and Costly to Maintain.
Hardwood Flooring does require maintenance, this is true; however, any type of flooring you may decide to choose will require upkeep. If you choose tile, it still requires regular cleaning, grout needs special attention, and each type of tile has its own maintenance requirements and special needs. Carpeting is just as susceptible to staining (if not more so), requires regular cleaning, and regular replacement, laminate flooring is easy to damage, and can peel up and requires regular replacement. The truth is that any type of flooring will require maintenance, that is simply the nature of any material which has the purpose of being walked on or over on a regular basis.
Unlike other types of flooring- a regular dry mopping and occasional once-over with some conditioner can keep hardwood floors free from major maintenance and refinishing for 10-15 years. Try having a carpet in a home for that long without needing replacement. Hardwood can do this and still look amazing through years of use. Keeping up with dry mopping to remove particulates and dirt from the floors (which can reduce their luster over time), and quickly cleaning up liquid spills is about as much maintenance as is needed to maintain beautiful hardwood floors.
3.) Hardwood Flooring shouldn’t be used in Homes with Pets
False. In fact, we recently published an article, " Protecting Hardwood Floors from Pet's Claws" which specifically deals with this myth. Having a hardwood floors and having a family pet do not need to be mutually exclusive. It is true that in order to have both, you do have to take a small bit of special precaution, but that should be true of having a pet in general. Being a responsible pet owner involves regular grooming, and keeping a pet's claws trimmed is just about all the extra maintenance required to have a family pet and hardwood flooring. Some other simple solutions to keeping a family pet in a home with hardwood flooring are:
- Using floor runners or rugs in areas of high pet traffic
- Keeping Pet's claws trimmed and well maintained
- Avoiding play or activities in the home which cause a pet to "dig in" to the floor for traction. Save those activities for outside walks and play time with your pet
- Diligence in cleaning up pet stains from wood, and placing training pads in problem areas
- Using non-harmful nail covers, such as Soft Pawson cats and dogs.
- Regularly using a protective wax coating on hardwood floors
- Long Walks on coarse surfaces to naturally file nails
4.) Hardwood Floors shouldn’t be used in Kitchens
Technology, the way that hardwood floors are manufactured, and advanced in finishes and protective coatings really make this myth obsolete. Hardwood flooring is durable, more so now than ever before, and as such it can hold up to increased traffic that regularly happens in a kitchen environment. It is true that moisture is detrimental to hardwood floors, but to avoid this kind of issue, using an absorbent run in front of areas highly susceptible to spills is an easy solution. These areas include right in front of the sink or dishwasher, or in front of food prep areas, stove, or under a dining room table.
Using floor mats and rugs is generally standard practice in a kitchen anyway. This simple step makes using hardwood floors in a kitchen a completely viable option. Just make sure you keep your floors in good condition by tending to spills immediately, avoiding wet or damp mopping, and spot treating any issues in the urethane finish. Hardwood floors are aesthetically pleasing, and using them in the kitchen is perfectly okay as long as they are maintained.
5.) Engineered Hardwood Floors Don't Look Nearly as Good, and aren't "Real Wood" Floors.
In this day and age, even laminate hardwood flooring is hard to spot when put against the real deal. Engineered Hardwood floors are not only made from actual hardwood, they are actually an even more environmentally friendly option which can't be told apart from regular hardwood floors, except by experts in the field.
Let's examine the difference between regular hardwood and engineered hardwood (click to open enlarged photo):
As you can see, in both instances, there is actually hardwood flooring used at the surface. Both engineered hardwood floors and solid hardwood floors have the same thickness of wear layer, and as such are basically impossible to tell apart. The main difference is that engineered hardwood floors require less wood to be used, which means less trees are felled in order to produce this fantastic alternative.
Don't believe us? Below is an example of an engineered hardwood floor, right next to an example of a solid hardwood floor. Can you spot the difference? (Click the image for the solution)
There are many myths and misunderstanding surrounding hardwood floor and their alternatives. There are definitely too many to cover in this article. We examined some of the most common myths about hardwood flooring, and hope that these correct facts will make your floor buying decision a little easier.