Why Do People Buy Wood Floors

The Emotional Underpinning of the Decision to Buy Wood Floors

I recently picked up my copy of Selling 101 by Zig Ziglar and was leafing through the pages.  The book opened to page 74 where I had stuck a boarding pass stub from a flight to Washington DC for the NWFA Expo there two years ago.

Why do people buy hardwood floors?

Along with the boarding pass stub was a small piece of paper where I had attempted to answer the questions Ziglar had posed to readers on the previous page.  The ninth chapter was a discourse on selling the benefits of your product rather than the product itself and it was obvious from the incompleteness of my note-taking that I had been stumped by his query.

Just before asking the question that I had tried unsuccessfully to answer Ziglar stated “…people do not buy products.  They buy products of the products -known as benefits“.  Ziglar went on to challenge readers to list, based on their current marketing strategy, the three main product benefits of what they sell.  Then he asked readers to list the three main benefits that customers actually buy with the all important conclusion being – do the lists match?  If I was honest I’d admit my current list, based on our marketing strategy, doesn’t match the list of reasons that really motivate people to buy wood floors.

As I sat there looking at my unfinished notes I decided to tackle the topic once again.  Here are the benefits I think people assume they’ll experience when purchasing a wood floor.  These are in no particular order although I’d like you to chime in and tell me what you think about my list, add some thoughts if you have them and then tell me which you think are the most important.

Good investment–  There aren’t a ton of things you will only buy once in your life, but a real wood floor could be one of them.  People have an inherent sense that wood floors should last a long time and they also know they won’t go out of style.  In addition, we are constantly asked how many times our floors can be refinished so people have a sense that this is a long-term investment.

Are wood floors a good investment?

People buy wood floors because of the investment. They haven't gone out of style in 5 centuries of use, and, when well cared for, they can withstand 100 years of abuse in a home if not more.

Perpetually Fashionable – Wood floors literally transcend trend.  They have been in use for hundreds of years and yet they remain the floor of choice for the affluent and first time homeowners alike.  How many real estate listings use the phrase “hardwood floors throughout”?  Whether you have a 100 year old floor that you’ve just refinished or a newly installed wood floor, either one will turn heads.

Wood floors have been in vogue for centuries

It takes something or someone remarkable to define classic style. It brings to mind the way Grace was the hallmark of current trends in 1952 but would be just as fashionable in 2012. Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello, to this day, exhibits the original wood floors installed in 1803. In any setting, at any time, wood floors define both classic style and current fashion.

Natural–  Wood floors bring a sense of nature indoors, and not in the raw sense of the word, but rather in natural beauty.  If you admire a fantastic painting you may try to imagine the mindset and the inspiration that moved the artist to create such beauty.  One fantastic feature of wood is the notion that this beautiful product was not dreamed up in the mind of an artisan but rather in the mere existence of a tree.

What makes a wood floor beautiful

A masterpiece of nature. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, each wood plank is a uniquely beautiful creation. Natural. Beautiful.

Environmentally Friendly–  Wood floors are renewable.  With the sustainable practices in forestry that are in place in the US, our hardwood inventory has more than doubled since 1950.  Add to that the fact that producing items from hardwood are much more energy efficient than production cycles in steel, aluminum, glass, brick or concrete.  Wood floors are sustainable and carbon neutral.  I think people have a sense that wood floors are environmentally friendly.  Despite the mis-information that our forests are being depleted, if consumers truly knew how eco-friendly wood floors are they would be even more drawn to them.

Wood floors and ecologically friendly

With sustainable forestry practices in place in the US, the hardwood inventory has more than doubled since 1950. When trees are harvested at maturity they essentially become carbon batteries, storing carbon for life while at the same time beautifying a home. If left to fall and rot in the forest, trees then move from being carbon consumers to carbon emitters.

Indoor Air Quality–  Hardwood flooring provides a surface that will not trap dirt and dust.  We’ve already established here at WFT repeatedly that the EPA recognizes carpet houses between 5,000 and 10,000 dust mites per square foot and that simply walking on carpet stirs up that nastiness into the air you breathe.  Even if you have hardwood and lay down an area rug, at least you can clean under the rug from time to time.  I think people understand the fact that if indoor air quality and allergens are a concern then wood floors are a great solution.

Wood floors help you breathe easier

This picture makes you want to take a deep breath. Why would anyone want a floor covering that traps dust, dirt and dead skin cells. Wood floors promote clean indoor air.

Why do you think people buy wood floors?  What are the benefits that people really expect to get out a wood floor purchase.  Which do you think is the most important?  Love to hear your comments.

About samcobb

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6 Responses to Why Do People Buy Wood Floors

  1. Scott says:

    Reason 6: Easy to keep clean. I hear a lot of homeowners, including my wife, talk about how they want wood because carpet starts staining and discoloring from day one.

    Reason 7: I think this was mentioned in a previous post – wood feels good on the feet. It’s warmer than tile, and just has a softer feel to bare feet.

  2. Mark says:

    From my experience of selling wood flooring to homeowners is they are sick. Sick of looking at carpet and trying to make it look good. Over time, carpet just gets the ugly, worn out look. The homeowner is ready to get something that is easy to maintain for many years and continues to look awesome for years if maintained properly.

  3. Ebrench says:

    Wood is a living, breathing organic product that exhumes a certain indescribable natural element to a home. It’s something you could craft to look extremely formal or very rustic and informal. An amazing product that’s only limited by extreme weather conditions (but even that’s changing now).

  4. From traditional to contemporary, wood flooring offers style and versatility, allowing you to decorate and redecorate without having to perform costly renovations.

  5. Wonderful article – great marketing ideas. Sometimes we are so closely caught up in the pressures of “closing of the sale” and the “sales pitch” that we truly forget the inherent benefits of anything we are providing. After spending 30+ years in the commercial carpet industry, I am happily engaged in the hardwood floors industry, and some of the wood I see come through our contract finishing plant (Premiere Finishing & Coating, LLC) in Reidsville, NC is absolutely magnificent! You can’t get that from the “fuzzy” stuff. I believe “green”, “organic”, “sustainable” are they key phrases these days. People are looking for long-term investments. Money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Thanks for your insight!

    • samcobb says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation Barbara. Premiere does some fantastic work there in Reidsville and Jeff is great to work with. Welcome to the “real” flooring industry, glad to hear you have come over from the dark side!

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