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disability–friendly floors – hardwood flooring

Hardwood Flooring

Flooring Type - Hardwood

Hardwood floors are not only beautiful, they also resist common household allergens. In addition, the smooth surface of some of the hardest hardwood floor types (such as Brazilian Cherry) can help accommodate wheelchair movement with little wear and tear. Note that hardwood flooring may not be suited for everyone as the slick surface could be dangerous for an unpredictable step.


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Hardwood flooring is a natural insulator


  • Can be easily scratched
  • Certain hardwood types can warp upon liquid contact or climate change
  • Hardwood flooring can be slippery, providing an unsafe surface for people who use walkers and canes
  • Amplifies sound
  • Sunlight exposure can cause floors to darken
  • May expand or contract with changes in humidity (which can lead to floors cupping or cracking)

Disability–Friendly Floor Tips – Hardwood Flooring

  • Add a hard urethane finish to increase durability
  • Clean up spills, dirt and debris immediately
  • Protect the subfloor with a moisture barrier or underlayment such as cork or foam rubber
  • Help manage allergies and respiratory problems by choosing hardwood flooring and adhesives containing little to no VOCs*
  • Use flat, non–slip rugs or mats in high–traffic areas to minimize damage.
    Note: Rugs and mats with rubber backings may discolor hardwood flooring.
  • Avoid putting hardwood flooring in areas where water or other liquids may spill (example: bathroom, kitchen, laundry room) as this could void your floor's warranty

    *VOCs are carbon–based, chemical compounds that can be found in certain floors and flooring materials. VOCs are commonly associated with allergy–like symptoms and are even believed to increase cancer risk.