Folks who live in log cabins know a secret that you, too, will learn if you have hardwood flooring installed in your home. Real, organic wood actually absorbs warmth, providing its own unique kind of insulation. For that reason, logs that are used to build rustic cabins or upscale ski lodges generally have four times more natural insulation than concrete blocks.
Wood has the ability to soak up solar energy from the sun during the day, and then gradually release it at night, when temperatures drop. Of course wood won’t actually heat your house sufficiently during the winter, unless you burn it in a fireplace or wood stove. But it can make a significant difference in terms of your comfort when you’re walking through the house barefoot. Whereas a ceramic floor can feel downright frigid underfoot, genuine hardwood flooring is much more pleasant. That’s just one of the many fringe benefits of using hardwood flooring in cold climates like New England.
Two hundred years ago New Englanders didn’t have rolls of fiberglass insulation in the walls between the framing studs. They would hang blankets against the wall for extra protection. In modern times, people often hang beautiful handmade quilts on the wall for artistic decoration. But that practice originated with the early settlers, who did it out of necessity in order to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
In the old days, homeowners who could afford them would also lay down thick rugs on the floor during colder months. They’d often leave them down all year ‘round, in fact, to avoid getting painful splinters from the rough-hewn flooring that was used back then. To smooth out floors, they’d apply a thick layer of wax, usually beeswax, which also helped preserve the wood. That is where the tradition of waxing floors started, although most hardwood flooring installed today doesn’t require labor-intensive waxing.
Eventually that desire to have a comfortable, insulated floor led to the innovation of manufactured carpeting that could be installed across the entire floor. Hardwood flooring fell out of favor, as suburbanites jumped on the wall-to-wall carpeting bandwagon.
In recent decades, however, hardwoods have come back into vogue as the flooring of choice. Not only do modern hardwoods offer exceptional beauty and comfort, they also are much healthier and easier to maintain than carpets. Carpet fibers act like a magnet to trap dust, dirt, and allergens. They can aggravate respiratory problems, for example, which is one of the reasons why carpet sales are suffering, according to the most recent flooring industry data.
Meanwhile the market for hardwoods is robust, and homes with hardwood flooring are generally viewed as a wise investment because hardwoods retain not just warmth, but resale value.
If you are in the market for new or refinished hardwood flooring, don’t spend another winter tiptoeing around on icy floors. Check out our vast inventory of hardwoods and find out why real wood is still the classic leader when it comes to gorgeous, long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable flooring.