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Feeling particularly bored over breakfast one morning, I found myself starring at my beautiful solid walnut wooden floor (now replaced with oak), and wondered how long it would actually last. Well, longer than me I thought. A lot longer. And I can remember T Rex and Wizard, so granted I may not have that much longer to live. But a wooden floor is going to out live anybody if it’s well looked after, so again, I could be writing a very short article.
However, I decided to read from what I thought would be a good reliable source about how long a wooden floor would last, so I went to the NWFA ‘The National Wood Flooring Association’ in the USA, to have a quick read. I had a look at their report on this topic and what I got was something that resembled the Magna Carta. 5000 pages of absolutely nothing to do with how long a solid wood floor would last. Or if it was, it was buried so deep in the report, I just lost interest. Yet that’s what the report was supposed to be about. I decided after opening it that I would rather stare into space over breakfast, and just die of natural causes, because I could still be reading the report well into old age, and be none the wiser. And then I thought, what on earth am I doing. It’s a bit like going over your old arithmetic books to check that your 3 times table is still correct. I know how long a wooden floor is going to last, and I don’t need some boffin to tell me in a 5000 page report. But our American friends love to check pointless things. They once commissioned a survey on yawning to see if yawning had any relation to being tired. And guess what?
There is no question that wood is a forever product. It’s everywhere in our little world, and almost anything you can think of has been made from wood. Cars, boats, houses, planes, trains, musical instruments, furniture, the list goes on and on. And it becomes more valuable with age too. Try buying a reclaimed wood floor and see how much it costs. You could buy a small country for the price we pay for some of our reclaimed wood flooring. In fact it doesn’t even need to be reclaimed to cost a fortune. See if you can get any money back from a reclaimed linoleum floor after 20 years of use. The only thing old linoleum is good for is wrapping bodies up in.
And what about Copenhagen airport. Their first floor was fitted back in about 1962, and guess what. It's still going strong after 60 years, and it's probably worth more now than it was back then.
But whatever species of wood you select for your wooden flooring project, there is no doubt in my mind that unless the sub structure of whatever you buy was made from used tea bags, its going to out live you. The one thing that will make a difference is how you finish it. My advice is always use a wax oil, and dont even think about using a UV lacquered floor with a colour. You cant maintain them, you'll need to sand them when the colour starts to wear out, and they look naff. Otherwise any normal wood floor you buy is going to outlive you.
And quite frankly in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that really matters.
Time for tea.