- Sweep or vacuum your hardwood floor on a regular basis (about once a week)
just as you would any floor covering. Make sure no rocks or pebbles get
lodged in the bristles, they will cause damage to your finish.
- Wash floors with a slightly damp mop using water and POLYCARE Floor
Cleaner. Never mop a hardwood floor with a soaking wet mop. Water
can dull the finish and/or damage the wood.
- There are no NWFA recommendations concerning using steam mops on wood flooring
but there is plenty of common sense that says NO! Damage from steam on wood is common,
especially repeated steaming. Usually it is found when you rip up steam cleaned carpet
over existing hardwood floors. A hardwood floor finish is permeable, which means the
vapors can pass through the finish. The bottom line is to not use steam mops on wood
PROTECT YOUR NEW FLOOR
- Use doormats outside room entrances and in front of high traffic areas like
the kitchen sink and refrigerator to keep dirt and grit off your floor and to
prevent damage and excessive wear. Shake clean or vacuum all rugs periodically
to keep clean.
- Use carpet runners and area rugs (with slip-resistant backings) in high traffic areas
- Wait two days before moving furniture back on the finished floors, and wait a week before
placing an area rug on it
- Lift and place all furniture whenever possible, do NOT scoot furniture. For heavy
pieces use a dolly with inner tube tires, or place clean masonite on the floor and scoot
across the masonite
- Protect your floor from direct sunlight over long periods of time. Consider
installing curtains or blinds that will limit your floors exposure to
sunlight. Windows also can be fitted with thin films of plastic that block
ultraviolet rays. This type of screen, similar to those on used on some car
windows, will protect your floor as well as your furniture, upholstery,
drapes, etc. from sunlight.
- If necessary, use a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain the relative humidity
in your home between 45-55% to avoid shrinkage during heating months. You WILL
have some cracks during winter months.
- Use furniture protectors to avoid scratching and damaging the floor’s surface,
place self-adhesive felt furniture pads under chair and tables legs that could damage
the floor’s finish when moved across the floor. Replace the pads often, and keep
them clean and free of dirt and grit.
- Keep heels of shoes in good repair, especially high heels
- Do not walk on the floors with cleats or any type of sport shoe with metal
or rubber spikes
- Wipe up spills immediately
- Keep your pet’s nails trimmed, they WILL scratch your finish
- Ensure all your plants are in pots that won't leak or have a protective
base to keep water from spilling onto the floor
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Do not use abrasive or harsh chemicals such as ammonia, dish washing detergent,
powdered all-purpose cleaner, Endust, Pledge, Murphy’s Oil Soap or any type of wax
or silicone base products on your floor.
- Do not use ball-type casters or casters made of hard materials such as plastic
or metal on any furniture on your hardwood floor.
- Do not use steam mops on your hardwood floor.
FOR LONG TERM MAINTENANCE
- Urethane finishes will eventually show wear patterns from surface scratching. When
traffic areas begin to look dull, it is time to re-coat your floors. Re-coating is a
one day process, and cost much less than sanding/refinishing. You should plan on
re-coating hardwood floors every 3 to 5 years depending on traffic patterns and wear. Do
NOT wait until you wear through the finish to the bare wood or sanding may be required.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HARDWOOD FLOORS
1. What are the differences between Laminate, Engineered and Solid floors?
A laminate hardwood floor has an image of a hardwood floor on a plastic material fixed on to a compressed board.
It is not a real wood floor and can never be sanded and refinished. Most laminates are 1/4" thick. They are not
glued or nailed directly to the subfloor, they are glued to each other, and installed over a Styrofoam material.
This installation method is called "floating". These are inexpensive imitations of real hardwood floors.
An engineered hardwood floor has a layer of real hardwood glued to multiple layers of plywood substrates. The
thickness of the top layer of real hardwood will dictate the number of times these floors can be sanded and
refinished. While the majority of these floors come prefinished, there are some manufacturers that sell unfinished
engineered flooring. Some engineered floors can be sanded as many times as a traditional 3/4" solid hardwood floor.
These floors can be floated, glued or nailed directly to the subfloor.
Solid hardwood floors are real hardwood floors. They come as thin as 5/16" but the majority are 3/4" thick. If
sanded correctly, they can be sanded 8-12 times before needing to be replaced. They come prefinished or unfinished,
and are installed by being nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor.
2. What are the differences between Prefinished and
Prefinished wood has been stained and finished at the manufacturer.
- Advantages of prefinished floors
- Quicker completion since there is no sanding or staining/finishing
- Cleaner installation since there will be no dust from sanding
- Little odor since polyurethane and stains are done at the manufacturer
- Can be finished in as little as one day, depending on the job size
- Disadvantages of prefinished floors
- Most have beveled or microbeveled edges which catch dust, dirt and
debris creating maintenance problems
- Limited number of colors from which to choose
- Warranties are general and vague and most do not consider gloss
reduction as surface wear
- Finishes rarely hold up to homeowners expectations
Unfinished wood floors are still the most common found in homes today. Most unfinished
hardwood floors can be sanded 8-10 times in their lifetime and can be stained in varying shades
each time they’re sanded.
- Advantages of unfinished wood floors
- Can be sanded multiple times
- Can be stained many different colors and shades
- Floors are sanded smooth with no bevels to simplify maintenance
- Easy to repair or to add additional flooring
- Can install medallions, borders and/or inlays
- Can apply water-based polyurethanes that are up to three times
stronger than traditional oil-based polyurethanes
- Disadvantages of unfinished floors are:
- Most sanding procedures produce some dust when not utilizing the Atomic
Dust Containment System by Bona
- It takes a minimum of two days to complete your floor work
- With quick drying stains and polyurethanes you can walk on your
floors after 2-3 hours, light traffic only, no shoes
We carry an extensive line of prefinished flooring including. Feel free to visit some
of our manufacturers' web sites (external links): Kahrs,
3. I want to sand and refinish my hardwood floors. Once I
removed my carpet, I noticed several pet stains or plant/water stains. Can they
be sanded out or repaired?
A. For the most part, deep stains will never sand out of the floor. Generally
speaking, the darker the stain, the deeper it is in the wood. The only
solution is to replace the wood that has been damaged. Once you remove several
boards of hardwood from an older floor and replace them with new wood, it may not
perfectly match the existing floor. If a bad stain is in a small area, it may
be possible to remove a few planks of the original floor from a closet or another hidden
area to replace the damaged wood. The best solution for multiple major pet stains
is to replace the entire floor.
4. What will screening my floor accomplish over sanding and refinishing?
A. Screening the floor will only remove light marks caused by normal wear and
tear. Once the floor is screened (lightly sanded), it will be coated with
usually one coat of finish. It usually takes only a day to screen and recoat
a hardwood floor. Screening will not remove deeper scratches and indentations.
Also, screening will not help a floor that has been worn down to the stain. In
these cases, the floor should be completely sanded and refinished.
5. What can I do to prepare for the day my floors are going to
A. This will depend largely on the size and type of job, but here are a few steps to
take for most of them:
- Take your pets to a friend’s house or keep them locked in an area of the house away
from the floors being worked on. A pet can cause quite a bit of damage if
allowed to walk on a floor that’s just been coated. Also, materials used coat
hardwood floors may be deadly if consumed by a pet and loud noise from the floor sanders could
permanently damage your pets hearing.
- If you remove carpet or tile from the floor yourself, be careful not to damage the
wood. Knife marks on a hardwood floor might be impossible to sand out. Be
especially careful of removing tile as some older tile may contain asbestos and should
be removed by a professional.
- Move all furniture from the room. If the room is opened to another room/area of
the house, put up large plastic tarps to keep as much of the dust out as possible.
- Keep the temperature warm in the winter / cool in the summer. Do not turn off air
conditioning or heating systems.
6. How long do I have to wait before I can walk on my new
A. For prefinished floors, you can walk on them as soon as they’re
installed. For site finished floors, you can walk on them as quick as 2-3
hours from finishing.
Wait 2 days before moving the furniture back on the floors and wait a week before putting
down an area rug.
7. How difficult is it to install a special floor pattern or to
add an inlay or medallion?
A. It is not difficult to install borders or medallions in your hardwood floor, but there
is a substantial amount of extra time and planning associated with them. You will need
to allow for extra time when having these things done.
8. What is the best way to expedite the drying process?
A. Leave the air conditioning or heat on 70 degrees and turn on fans after finish is
applied. If possible, set the fans up so they move the air away from the new floors.
9. Is the choice of hardwood important?
A. Yes. You need to choose a hardwood floor that meets your needs. As one example,
a soft yellow pine floor would not be appropriate for a family of five with two
big dogs and a cat, where all the neighborhood children play. It would not
stand up to the heavy traffic.
10. What rooms can I put hardwood in and what rooms should I avoid?
A. Hardwood can be installed in every room of the house except full baths
where water from bathtubs and excessive humidity become factors.
with permission from the National Wood Flooring Association
You may wonder why to choose real hardwood flooring over other flooring options.
As you'll see, the benefits of wood floors are overwhelming.
Top 10 Reasons for Choosing a Wood Floor
- Wood floors don't depreciate.
Real wood floors are good for a home's resale value and last the life of the
home. People walk on wood floors as old as our nation every day; for
example, the floors in Washington's Mount Vernon. Carpet is replaced three
to six times before most solid wood floors need repair. Wood floors cost
less in the long term and add value to your home.
- Wood is a natural product in a diverse range of colors and grain
Wood floors offer unmatched natural beauty, warmth and design appeal that
allow your new or existing house truly to become your family's home. Who
hasn't marveled at the beauty of a fine wood floor? There is more diversity
in wood floors now than ever before... a wood floor for every taste.
- Wood is the easiest floor to maintain and requires fewer
chemicals to clean.
Whenever someone says, "I think tile or carpet might be easier to clean," I
point to my wood floor cleaning tools. With only a swivel mop and sometimes
a non-aerosol spray, I can clean my wood floor in less than half the time it
takes to vacuum, scrub or shampoo other floor coverings. They don't trap
dust and fumes in the fibers or grow mold in the grout. Unlike carpet or
tile cleaning, cleaning a wood floor requires few chemicals.
- It's the best choice for the environment.
Wood manufacturing is much cleaner than the manufacture of other building
materials. Steel results in up to 40 times more pollutants than the
manufacture of wood; concrete, six times more; and brick, four times more.
Steel releases three times more carbon dioxide, and concrete releases even
more. Wood sends less solid waste to the landfill than manufacturing the
same product in either steel or concrete. Finally, wood is more
energy-efficient. The cellular structure of wood traps air, giving it
superior insulating properties. It takes 15 inches of concrete to equal the
insulation qualities of just 1 inch of wood.
- You can redecorate your wood floor entirely with stains, faux
finishes and inlays.
You can change the entire look of a wood floor with stains, paints and
inlays without replacing any materials.
- Finishes can be repaired or reapplied easily (as long as
maintenance procedures are followed).
Wood floors can be recoated or touched up instead of adding to the landfill,
as happens with some other floor coverings. Our industry helps preserve
what's already there... the finest form of recycling. A properly maintained
wood floor never should need to be completely resanded.
- Wood floors give a little and are better for your joints.
Don't be surprised if your doctor recommends a wood floor for your spine and
joints. Wood gives slightly, making it easier on your legs and feet. Have
you ever noticed that your feet get tired faster if you are standing on
stone or tile than if you are standing on wood?
- Wood is an ideal choice for people with allergies.
Wood does not trap dust or fumes, and will not harbor dust mites or mold. We
spend 90 percent of our time indoors. Some researchers believe the dust mite
could be responsible for increasing asthma occurrence. Wood floors in your
bedroom and other main living areas can improve air quality, according to
the American Lung Association.
- Wood floor sales support good forest management.
Wood floors are a high-end use for forest products and can involve better
margins, thereby ensuring the perpetuation of the forest. Many developing
countries today rely on timber for export earnings, yet the greatest threat
to primary forests in these countries is conversion to other forms of land
use. Using exotic species for wood floors is a good way to give a high value
to the wood and encourage reforestation for continued income production.
- Wood is our greatest renewable resource.
North America has more than 70 percent of the forest cover that was here in
the 1600s, and many exotic foods come from certified sustainable forests.
North America produces more wood than any other place on the planet!
According to a World Resources Institute report, North America was unusual
in that it increased tree cover in the 1990s. In other words, we grow more
than we cut. North America also is becoming known as a carbon sink.
Scientists have shown that young trees use more carbon dioxide than older
trees, much like younger animals need more food.
Printed with permission from the National Wood Flooring Association