The best form of keeping your wood floors clean, is preventative maintenance.

By removing shoes, or at least keeping them clean, free of debris, and dry, this will help prevent scratching and scuffing. Also remember to apply felt pads to all furniture that can come into contact with the wood floors.

As far as cleaning, dry dust moping (Swiffer) can be used at any time. For high traffic areas, an occasional damp cloth or mop can be used. You can use either diluted white vinegar with warm water or Bona K. Make sure that after any damp mop procedure that you go directly over with a dry mop or towel.

Protecting Your Hardwood Floor Helpful Tips

  • Furniture legs, glides and casters can scratch and dent your floor. Use specially made felt protectors or furniture coasters to prevent scratches and dents.
  • Dust and dirt tracked onto your hardwood floor acts like sandpaper to your finish. Place an entry rug at every outdoor entrance.
  • Use rugs in high traffic areas.
  • Domestic pets’ nails can scratch and dent your floor. It is a good idea to keep your pets’ nails well groomed.
  • Some types of high-heeled shoes may cause indentations in wood floors. High heels worn by an average woman can exert 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.
  • The use of oil soaps, furniture dusting spray, and liquid or paste wax products can dull your floor’s finish and make further cleaning and refurbishing difficult.

What kind of wood floors should I choose?

Both open-grain and close-grain woods are used in flooring. Heading the list of hard open-grain woods is durable, beautifully patterned oak, used for an estimated 95% of all wood floors. Other hardwood include northern walnut, pecan ash, elm and chestnut. Among the close-grain woods are maple, birch, beech, Douglas fir, and yellow pine. Since the overwhelming majority of wood floors are of hardwood, this care guide applies specifically to this type of flooring.

What is minimum care?

A good rule of thumb is to vacuum or dust mop weekly. A damp mop can be used for spills and general cleanup on floors which have non-waxed polyurethane or Swedish finish. If the floor is waxed, occasional buffing helps remove scuff marks that may appear in the wax coating. A waxed floor need only be re-waxed once or twice a year – or as often as needed in heavy traveled lanes – using a liquid buffing wax/cleaner combination.

Wood and water don’t mix.

No matter what finish your wood floor has, or what claims the manufacturer makes for his finish, never intentionally pour water into the floor. While a damp mop is fine for non-waxed polyurethane and Swedish finishes in good condition excessive amounts of water may find a way to seep between the boards causing them to warp or stain. Wax coated finishes should never be cleaned with water, nor even a damp mop.

Wood flooring expansion and contraction.

When maintained properly, our hardwood flooring installations can last the lifetime of a home. The most important factor homeowners must keep in mind when it comes to preserving hardwood flooring is the level of moisture in the air. Generally, wood floors will expand when exposed to moisture and contract in its absence. Homeowners can minimize the range of moisture changes by installing a humidifier. Here are some scenarios that can lead to expansion and contraction of your hardwood flooring.

Cupping. As seasons and humidity change, cupping, crowning, and cracks between boards will all happen to an extent. Cupping is when the edges of the board are higher then the center, usually when humidity causes wood to swell, pushing the boards together and deforming the edges. If the cupping gets worse or does not go away, there is most likely a moisture problem which must be identified and controlled. Common moisture issues could be from large spills in which the liquid is absorbed by the boards or plumbing issues where moisture seeps into the flooring. Once identified, cupping can be reversed by drying out with fans, however depending on the damage the floor may need to be recoated or sanded and refinished.

Crowning. Crowning is the opposite of cupping, with the center of the floor boards rising higher than the edges. Crowning can be a result of the floor surface encountering moisture. Sometimes this is the result of sanding the floor too soon after cupping, and when the floor dries out and returns to normal the edges are now lower then the middle of the boards.

Cracks. When homes are heated in the winter it is not uncommon for gaps to form in between floor boards as the moisture evaporates. These cracks can be as wide as a dime, with light-colored woods and plank floors being the most obvious. These will usually close as the season changes and should not be a big concern.

Buckling. An uncommon wood flooring reaction to moisture, this is usually a result of flooding. When buckling, floor boards can raise a few inches from the subfloor. When buckling occurs, it is possible to repair without completely redoing depending on the level of damage.

Preventing Moisture Problems.

Controlling humidity is the best way to be proactive in preventing flooring moisture problems. We also recommend following these maintenance tips:

  • Use a floor care kit or preferred cleaning product applied to cloth
  • Follow any manufacturer recommendations for cleaning instructions.
  • Do not regularly clean with water or water based products, the water deteriorates the wood and finish
  • Never leave a spill to dry

We hope you enjoy your new flooring! Follow these hardwood floor care tips to keep your flooring beautiful and to extend the lifespan.

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