The title of this blog in my opinion should be the first question out of your mouth if you are a consumer or remodeler who preaches sustainability. The beauty of wood flooring is that it has the ability to last for well over 100 years depending on the wear layer thickness of the material.
Let us define wear layer as the surface of a flooring product that is in contact with foot traffic that can tolerate gradual removal of material without compromising the integrity of the flooring fastening system. Wear layer is a tremendously overlooked factor for people who are purchasing products. A minimum wear layer thickness for product that is serviceable through recoating or refinishing should be 3/16″. The wear layer of a typical 3/4 solid hardwood floor is 5/16″. That means that you may be able to refinish the floors typically 8 times. Some of the houses in Portland have fir flooring with a wear layer thickness that may have once been close to 1/2″ or 8/16″ in my estimate. That’s pretty amazing for longevity.
We recommend that in addition to the cost and the color, the primary consideration of your flooring material should be serviceability over time.