The appeal of glossy hardwood floors goes back centuries. The warmth of wood floors makes them a coveted design feature, and people who have wood floors work hard at keeping them looking good. Often when people move or make decorating changes in their interiors, or when floors get really dull and worn, they arrange for professionals to sand them to remove old finishes and then apply new ones. Installing wood floors, whether of new wood or reclaimed planks or antique wood, is a popular upgrade to houses, especially in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, as it’s known to increase the resale value.
For centuries, most wood floors were given a wax finish, which requires regular maintenance and waxing as part of routine housekeeping. Some homes still continue that tradition. But for the past 50 years, the vast majority of wood floors in American homes have been topped with layers of polyurethane. The advantage of this is a nice, durable finish and the ease of maintenance mostly by simple vacuuming and dry mopping.
One alternative to solid hardwood floors is engineered hardwood, which is made with a top layer of hardwood and a core of crisscrossed layers of other woods. Engineered wood floors are known to be very stable, so they are a popular choice for areas with concrete subfloors or in basements.
The best feature of wood floors: They go with everything.