How long do hardwood floors last?

Hardwood flooring is one of the oldest floor covering materials and many older buildings still have wood floors originally installed hundred years ago. Longevity of hardwood flooring will be determined by many different factors. Some floating poor installed lower quality wood floors might be necessary to replace or at least fix not long after installation. But another properly installed and maintained hardwood floor will last for a lifetime.

Type of hardwood flooring and finish quality

Prefinished hardwood flooring comes from producers with already applied finish and requires installation only. Every type of finish and wood itself will be covered by manufacturer warranty for a certain period of time. Usually coverage will range from 10 to 50 years. Premium quality solid hardwood flooring typically will have the longest lifespan and a budget friendly engineered click and lock is the least lasting option.


Proper installation is an essentially important factor in determining how long the wood flooring will last. Even the most durable and highest quality hardwood might be spoiled by unprofessional work at a job site. Many homeowners might consider to lay floating or even nail down wood flooring by self, but all recommendation and manufacturer instructions should be followed otherwise warranty will be voided and no one will guaranty that the floor will last long.

While choosing a new hardwood flooring suitability of particular product for specific application should always be checked. Some wood cannot be installed over radiant heated floors, below grade, or in the areas with potentially high moisture level.

Maintenance and repair

Adequate care and periodical maintenance will impact the wood flooring lifespan dramatically. Properly maintained hardwood floors will preserve its appearance and will last longer. Wood has a natural ability to change color overtime and it cannot be considered as poor care about the flooring. None of the manufacturer or certified installer will guaranty that the hardwood won’t change the appearance after installation. It’s just a way wood react on light exposure. To minimize such affect homeowners might consider protecting the flooring from direct sun rays. But in any case, such wood property does not affect the flooring life expectancy.

If the wearing layer thick enough hardwood flooring can be refinished a few times what significantly increase overall lifespan. Usually all solid and some quality engineered wood floors can be sanded 4 – 7 times making the surface as good as new eliminating all worn out finish, minor dents and scratches.

Partial repair of wood flooring can be performed by professionals. Even though it might be very time consuming process a few damaged planks or strips doesn’t mean the whole floor has to be replaced.

Wood species

Correctly selected species might impact the hardwood flooring longevity. Some wood have denser structure and much harder than other. Janka scale is commonly used for evaluating the hardness of wood. Species which rated higher are much less susceptible to damages. Brazilian Teak (Cumaru), Walnut (Ipe) or Chestnut are more than twice harder than white or red oak hardwood flooring and will preserve its appearance longer with minimum care and maintenance.