Solid wood floors are renowned for their longevity, with some lasting up to a century. Engineered wood floors, on the other hand, have a lifespan of around 50 years. Both types of flooring can be sanded and repainted to restore their original shine. With proper maintenance and care, hardwood floors can last for a century or more, depending on the type of wood chosen.
Artificial wood is a great cost-effective alternative, but it has a much shorter lifespan of 20-25 years. The longevity of any hardwood floor depends on several factors, including the type of wood and the installation method. Engineered floors are becoming increasingly popular, but they don't last as long as solid wood floors. This is an example of an old hardwood floor after sanding.
Over time, moisture fluctuations can cause wide gaps between boards that can drastically change the appearance of the floor. If you choose to fill these gaps, use a diluted latex filler and spread it evenly across the floor. If possible, use an orbital sander instead of a belt sander to reduce the risk of damage. When it comes to choosing a hardwood floor, there are over 50 domestic and exotic species available, from classic favorites like maple, oak and pine to more modern options like bamboo and purple heart.
Unfinished floors are best for matching existing floors as they can be dyed to the right color. The installation method also affects the lifespan of hardwood floors. Modern homes usually opt for tongue-and-groove installation while in the past, solid wood floors were laid on large boards that covered large areas of floor space. Hardwood floors peaked in 1949 when plywood floors, synthetic fiber rugs and vinyl floors were introduced.
High-traffic areas may require deep cleaning by a professional flooring specialist. Engineered floors can have anywhere from three to twelve layers and the more layers there are, the better quality the floor will be. Under the right circumstances, engineered floors can bring all the benefits of solid wood to areas where it may not have been possible to use wood before. A careful visual inspection of the floor can save you a lot of trouble if it reveals that it is not worth repainting it.