When people think of wood, they usually think of chairs or buildings or maybe some wood flooring. But one of the very cool things about wood is that it is incredibly versatile. Wood has been preferred over metal in many cases, like for gunstocks or tool handles because of their properties of thermal conductivity, or perhaps lack of. If you were to touch both a piece of metal and a piece of wood, the warmth of your hand would transfer out of your hand as much as one hundred times faster to the metal than to the wood.
Relatively speaking, wood is non-conductive. This is why it is an ideal material, again, for furniture. When it comes to things that humans might come into contact with, like wood flooring, wood works generally as an insulator instead; working as the opposite of a conductor. Depending on the wood floors, some are more conductive than others. It all depends on the wood's specific gravity and overall moisture content. The higher the specific gravity and moisture content, the more likely the wood floor will conduct heat. This is because the wood's overall ability to insulate decreases dramatically as moisture and specific gravity increase.
So why do you think that hardwood floor is used for most buildings? Besides their versatility their natural beauty, environmental approach, wood provides an excellent insulator for homes and businesses alike. Using wood and wood floors saves energy output, which saves energy itself and money to produce it.
It turns out that wood, nature's creation, is seven times more effective than concrete, 300 times more than steel and 1,400 times more effective at thermal insulation. Indeed, there are better insulators out there. Fiberglass, rockwool, and foam are three to four times better insulators, but they look terrible and are not very strong. Wood provides excellent insulation with durability and beauty – something that only nature could manufacture! Maximize your thermal insulation by making sure that the direction of heat movement occurs perpendicular to the floor grain.
Should heat be directed parallel to the floor grain, it will be two to three times more conductive. Also, remember that if you do choose wood floor for your building, make sure that you build a vapor barrier as close to sub-floor if you live in a cold climate.