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How Long Does Oak Flooring Last?

Zoom in photo of a oak wood floor.

There is a reason why many people choose oak for their hardwood flooring. These floors are beautiful and warm. They are durable and last a long time to bring you joy every time you walk into your home. Oak has been used for decades as a wood flooring type in homes.

It has a range of colors based on which specific type of oak you choose. It can enhance any home decor and bring out its natural beauty. If you already have or are considering adding oak flooring to your home, you may wonder how long it will last. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about oak flooring. 

How Long Does Oak Flooring Last?

Oak flooring is intended to last for a lifetime. However, even the strongest and most durable floors will wear over time. The more you care for and protect your oak flooring, the longer it will last.

You can expect to get about 25 years from your oak floor before you begin to see any signs of wear and tear. However, there are steps you can take to care for and extend the life of your oak flooring.

Why Prime the Subfloor?

A professional is installing a sub floor.

If your subfloor has irregularities, it can cause your oak floor to have an uneven finish. You want to ensure that your subfloor is level, dry, and free of debris and damage. A great way to handle uneven subfloor is to screw down any portions that are loose.

You may consider smoothing out bumps with a sander. You can also use leveling compound and a trowel. Taking these steps can help ensure you have a proper installation for your oak floor.

Basic Care Can Extend the Life

While your oak flooring will last a lifetime, it is impacted by wear and tear. There are some steps you can take to care for your floor to get the best possible life from them. It would be best if you cleaned your floors regularly by sweeping and vacuuming. You want to focus on high-traffic areas when cleaning. You can also consider mopping the floor with a damp mop once a week.

It would be best if you did not use abrasive cleaners on your oak floor. They can dull your floor and make it vulnerable to scratches. You can always use water mixed with a small amount of white vinegar to clean the floor. You may want to consider using area rugs in high-traffic areas.

It would be best if you also considered using furniture pads for heavy furniture. When you walk around on the floor, you may want to wear socks or slippers and not shoes. This will help maintain the flooring and reduce the amount of dirt and debris that collects on your floor.

Related: Can You Whitewash Oak Flooring?

How Do I Know When It Is Time To Replace My Oak Flooring?

Photo of a man installing a french oak flooring to his clients new house.

Large Marks 

You are going to get scratches and marks on your floor. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid that from happening. Just moving around your house as part of your everyday life is going to cause scratches. When you only have a few marks, you do not have to worry about it too much. However, when you have scratches over a large area of your floor, you may want to consider replacing the flooring. 

Large gouges or chips are also a sign of concern. When you see a deep scratch that cuts through the stain and goes all the way to the wood, your floor is vulnerable to more damage, including water damage. Likewise, when you have a spill that seems to go through the wood, it can cause serious damage.

Water Damage

Two craftsmen uninstalling an oak wood floor to repair a water damage.

One of the things that can really damage your wood flooring is water. Some floors are more resistant to water, but they are still vulnerable to warping, stains, and other issues, especially when the floor is exposed to moisture. You want to ensure that your floor has a good seal.

This prevents stains and spills from soaking into your floor. However, even the best seal cannot prevent damage caused by flooding or plumbing issues. Water damage most often leads to warping or separating. When this occurs, refinishing the floors will not be able to resolve the problem.


When nails are sticking out of your floor, there are unattractive, annoying, and dangerous. This tends to happen in the high-traffic areas of your home. When nails are exposed, you can stub your toe or snag your sock.

If you see a couple of nails exposed, it is not a reason to replace your floor. However, if you see a large number of exposed nails across large sections of the floor, it could be time to replace your flooring. 


There are a number of reasons why the color of your flooring may change. When your floor has long-term exposure to sunlight, it can fade. Water can also cause your floor to discolor. When wood absorbs water, it begins to oxidize, and the color of the floor changes.

It is common to see discoloration and gray stains when there is water damage to your floor. When not addressed, the stain becomes darker and can turn black. This is an indication that the structure of the wood is damaged and needs a replacement.

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