Hardwood floors can be striking and timeless. The possibilities are endless when you consider all of the different specialty woods, colors of stains, and plank width. However, some people still shy away from installing wood floors in their homes because of some common misconceptions about wood floors. Here are the reasons why these myths are not valid.

Myth #1: Hardwood is expensive, and I won’t recover my investment when I sell my house.

Hardwood flooring does have a higher upfront cost at installation, especially when compared to carpet. However, you must take into account the lifetime of the product that you are buying. Hardwood floors can last for hundreds of years. Depending on the quality of the product, the carpet may only last five years. Similarly, linoleum and tile will need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. If you plan to be in your home for a long time, you will save money by installing wood floors from the beginning.

If you are only planning to stay in your home for a few years, you may still want to install hardwood floors. Many homeowners prefer hardwood floors over wall-to-wall carpeting in living spaces and even bedrooms. This fact may hold particularly true for those who suffer from allergies (which is about 20% of the population). Hardwood flooring is easier to keep free of dust and pollen. Additionally, you are likely to get a 70-80% return on your wood floor investment when you sell your home.

Myth #2: Wood floors are high maintenance.

Caring for hardwood floors does require a little extra consideration. For example, using a traditional mop and cleaner on wood floors would be a bad idea. Using a wet mop on the floor may dull the finish, and the water may soak into the wood, causing the boards to warp. The best tool for routine cleaning of wood floors is a dust mop. These mops pick up all the dust and debris off the wood surface and leave it shiny and clean.

Of course, the floor will need deeper cleaning from time to time. If you need to use water to clean sticky spots or spills, keep the water to a minimum. Additionally, there are many reputable hardwood floor cleaners on the market. Ask your installer what they recommend for your floor. Because wood does not trap dirt and grime the way carpet does, you may find that hardwood floors are actually less work to keep clean.

Hardwood floors will need to be refinished from time to time. The good news is that you can refinish your wood floors and make them look brand new again. You can even use this opportunity to update the color of your floors.

Myth #3: It is a bad idea to install wood floors in the kitchen.

Some people think that the only options for kitchen flooring are those that are impervious to water. You might be surprised to know that the kitchen is one of the most popular places to install hardwood floors. Wood is much softer underfoot than tile if you are on your feet a lot.

While it is true that the water in the kitchen can be hazardous to the floors, there are a couple simple ways to protect the wood. First, clean up drips and spills as soon as you notice them. By wiping up moisture off the floor quickly, you keep it from getting in between the boards and causing damage. Second, use a mat on the floor in front of the sink where most drips and spills happen. This mat will protect the wood underneath from water.

Myth #4: You should not install hardwood floors if you have pets.

Pets can be hard on any type of flooring. Just because you have a cat or a dog doesn’t mean that you can’t also have beautiful wood floors. Depending on the species of wood that you choose to have installed, wood floors can be very durable.

The hardness of each wood species is rated on the Janka hardness scale. Red oak is a popular species used in many hardwood floors. It has a Janka hardness rating of 1290 and holds up well to traffic. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed will also help to protect the floor. If you have pets, pay special attention to the type of wood floor that you choose. The harder the wood, the better it will hold up to pets and people.

Myth #5: Engineered hardwood floors are not real hardwood.

The truth is that engineered hardwood floors are a hardwood product. These types of floors are made of layers of different woods. The top layer is the desired wood species prefinished to a specific color. The subsequent layers or plies underneath consist of varying wood species layered with the grains running in different directions. The function of these plies is to provide stability to the floor.

While engineered hardwood floors are not solid hardwood all the way through, they have some built-in protection against warping and shrinking that you don’t find in traditional hardwood floors. The drawback is that they have a thinner top layer of wood. Engineered hardwood floors cannot be refinished as many times as a ¾” solid wood floor can be.

Hardwood flooring has been used in homes for hundreds of years. The styles and look of the floors have changed, but the durability has not. They are an excellent choice for any home, regardless of occupants or circumstances.