Facility Managers

A Facility Manager’s Guide to Wood Flooring

by Jason Brubaker

Harvard Business Review research shows that it can take just 3 to 7 seconds to form a lasting impression of a person. It stands to reason that the same holds true for your facility; and as with people, first impressions last a long time and color all future interactions. In light of the importance of first impressions, it makes sense to ensure that your facility makes a great impression right from the start. One of the easiest ways to do this is to install wood flooring.

Yet some facilities managers still shy away from using real wood floors because of misconceptions about its performance in high traffic areas. Here’s a fresh look at the factors that affect the use and performance of real wood in your facility.

Aesthetic Impact

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Wood flooring is versatile. It comes in an almost infinite variety of species and colors so you can choose the perfect wood flooring for your space. Depending on the choices you make, your space can look elegant or cozy, welcoming or exclusive, trendy or traditional—the list of alternative looks can continue indefinitely. Whatever look you decide fits your brand’s image best, you can easily achieve it with wood flooring.

Woods include maple, oak, hickory, walnut and more. Depending on your preference, you may choose a wood with very little visible grain or one with a more rustic look complete with visible knots. You can even choose a reclaimed wood, or have wood customized to your specifications to present a very exclusive and unique image.

Once you’ve decided on a wood, you have options to select light, medium or dark finishes, and you can even add a slight color stain to add to the decorative effect.

Gray and blue stains are currently very trendy and they give your floors a very modern, high end look. The stains are usually very light in color, so the floor is neutral and can act as a backdrop for boldly colored furnishings and artwork.

Light natural stains are also trendy, and they provide an airy open feeling to your space. These lighter colors can open up a small or narrow space, making it feel larger and even compensating to a degree for lack of natural light.

Darker stained wood can create a feeling of traditional elegance, providing a rich backdrop for furniture. Darker wood can have a very modern feel depending on the surroundings, but it can also feel very traditional.

Mixing light and dark stains or different species of wood enables you to create patterns that add interest to the floor without the upkeep of carpet. Rosewood inlays with light oak or maple is particularly arresting. You can also place wooden planks at various angles to create cubes, chevrons, herringbone or basket weave patterns that are very striking. Installing matching baseboards, stair risers, railings, cornices and other decorative accent pieces enhances the effect even further.

Regardless of the wood, the stain and the pattern you choose, wood flooring is among the most versatile choices you can make. But the beauty of wood flooring is more than just surface.


Commercial flooring takes a beating, so you want to ensure that the floor is attractive but also strong. Infused wood flooring combines the natural beauty of wood with the strength of acrylic and ceramic. The result is real wood flooring with the toughness of acrylic.

We patented the infusion process in 1963, and we’ve improved it since the original concept. Today, our real wood flooring goes through four steps.

Vacuum Sealing: This removes any air trapped in the wood fibers, leaving room for the acrylic to penetrate.

Pressurization: The acrylic mixture is pumped into the sealed container under pressure, forcing it into the pore structure of the wood. The mixture includes a catalyst as well as the acrylic.

Depressurization: Next, we drain the remaining liquid from the container so the wood can dry.

Heat: We heat the container to activate the catalyst. The acrylic hardens within the pores of the wood, making it a very hard substance, similar to Plexiglas, but with the beauty of the natural wood intact.

The resulting finish is visually indistinguishable from the traditional finish of wood flooring, except it has much better performance characteristics.


Infused wood flooring is real wood, not a laminate or an artificial product. However, it is more than three times more durable than traditional wood floors. It has 300 times more dent resistance, as shown by its Janka hardness scores, which are much higher than those for un-infused wood floors.

Infused wood flooring is also highly abrasion resistant, and we have the Tabor test scores to prove it. In fact, we are so sure that our real wood flooring is tougher than any other flooring, we guarantee it.

Sound Absorption

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Many hard floor surfaces cause sound to ricochet, creating echoes and making it hard to carry on a conversation or hear background sounds. Using carpet may muffle sound but it brings its own issues: food and drink spills, stains, odors and fading among them.

Wood flooring can be installed over an acoustical underlayment to help increase sound absorption and enhance the comfort and ambiance of the space. With infused wood flooring, you get the beauty of wood, the sound absorption of carpet and the easy care of tile—all in one cost-effective solution.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Infused wood flooring shows you care about the environment and the health and safety of your employees and visitors to your facility.

We use sustainable wood species harvested from responsible forest management companies. For example, aspen wood regenerates quickly, helping to prevent deforestation. Our process uses 100 percent of the tree, unlike traditional sawmills which usually average less than 50 percent utilization of the wood.

Our wood is certified under PEFC Annex 4, the world’s largest forest certification program. We are also Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standards certified and FSC certified as controlled wood. We care about the state of our forests, and go out of our way to adopt best forestry practices for sustainability.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) certification means the holders adhere to standards of environmental friendliness and create healthful and energy efficient building products. Our infused wood floors have been certified to LEED 2009 and LEED v4 standards.

Infused wood floors use no formaldehyde and meet the tough California VOC emissions standards. You can feel confident when installing infused wood floors that you have selected a safe, high-quality material.

Maintenance Requirements

One of the greatest misconceptions about real wood floors is that they require a great deal of maintenance to stay looking good. That is not the case with infused wood flooring, which requires very little maintenance to retain its stunning good looks. Your infused wood flooring is designed to stand up to the wear and tear of high volume public areas such as hospitals, retail facilities, restaurants, and offices.

Daily vacuuming or dust mopping to remove surface grit and grime is enough to keep the floors looking good under normal conditions. Promptly removing spills and stains, as you would with any floor, can prevent permanent damage. Avoid wet mopping or excessive use of water or liquids, and your floors will look great for many years to come.