Category Archives: Care and Maintenance

Can Sunlight Damage Hardwood Floors?

Did you know that sunlight can actually damage your hardwood floors?

The unfortunate part is that yes, sunlight or ultraviolet rays are indeed harmful to your precious hardwood floors. Hardwood floors become discolored when they are exposed to sunlight over time. Certain floors will become lighter than they originally were while others will become darker, such as Maple and Brazilian Cherry.

The fortunate part is that you can dramatically slow the process down by taking necessary precautions.

Window Shopping
Blinds, shades, curtains, or other draperies for your windows go a long way in keeping sunlight at bay. If you have a large glass sliding door, then it would be best to invest in a screen for added protection. Another option is to look into window films that have proven to be safe and effective in protecting you and your hardwood floors from harmful UV rays.

Change For The Better
It’s important to change the arrangement of your furniture, rugs, and couches to allow for an equal distribution of sunlight on your floors so that colors stay consistent across your whole room. If you decide on moving furniture on hardwood floors, make sure you do it properly.

Moving Furniture on Hardwood Floors

You may have heard, seen, or read somewhere that moving your furniture without proper care can lead to unwanted scratches on your engineered or solid hardwood floors. Nobody wants that, nor do they have time or money to fix it. Here are a few tricks of the trade that can save you the hassle of dealing with nicks and scratches.

Rugs – by slipping an appropriate-sized rug under the furniture you need to move, you can slide the whole piece slowly to your new location. Make sure you use the soft side of the rug (i.e. the top side)!

Towels – by sliding towels under the legs or corners you can slide your furniture around smoothly.

Plastic bags – if possible, you can tie plastic bags to the legs of your furniture to move it around without scratching up your hardwood floors. To be extra sure of avoiding scratches you can double up the bags.

Business cards –these cards are made out of slick paper good for sliding around furniture. Just stick them under the legs or corners and slide away carefully.

Felt pads – this is our best recommendation for you as felt works very well for moving furniture on hardwood floors. You can find them at them at your local hardware store or order them online.

Here’s a video showing you what felt pads look like and how to apply them:

How Long Do Hardwood Floors Last?

This is a common question that many hardwood floor owners have. The answer is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that the wood in the floor itself can last a lifetime. The complex answer is that while the wood may last forever, the beautiful finish/gloss/shine that it has will dissipate over time.

If you’re comparing hardwood floors to carpet then you’ll be happy to hear that carpet should normally be replaced about every 10 years while hardwood floors don’t need to be replaced, but refinished or recoated.

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So the real question becomes: “When should I refinish or recoat my floors?

The answer really depends on how well you take care of your floors.

  • Do you routinely clean your wood floors?
  • Do you make sure to immediately clean up any spills that may happen?
  • Do you stay proactive by keeping your pets from damaging your floors?
  • Do you constantly rearrange heavy furniture with proper padding underneath?

We hope you’ve answered “yes” to these questions because this is how you can really prolong the life and finish of your luscious hardwood floors.

Recoating is a simpler process that aims to extend the life of your finish. Refinishing wood floors is a much deeper process that essentially gives you the look of having freshly installed floors. Recoating is less expensive and if done roughly every 3-5 years, then you can drastically reduce the amount of times to have your floors refinished. Typically hardwood floors should be refinished every 8-12 years, but this varies depending on how rough you are with your floors.

Some people don’t refinish/recoat their floors and are perfectly content leaving them the way they were installed. That’s fine, but it will lack the eye-catching luster that brings hardwood floors to life.

With the technology we have today, engineered hardwood floors are built to last. Combine that with a strong multilayer polyurethane and aluminum oxide finish and now we’ve got a floor that’s ready for battle.

Read more about engineered hardwood floors.

Hardwood Floors and Pets

While hardwood floors are a great addition to your home for a variety of reasons, many buyers often ask if pets and hardwood floors mix. Have you ever said something along the lines of: “I want hardwood floors, but I’m afraid my pets will ruin my investment by scratching it all up”? If so, you’re not alone.

Hardwood Floors and Pets

The good news is that yes hardwood floors and pets do mix, and they can mix very well. Whether it be large dogs, small dogs, or cats, the trick is to limit the amount of damage that could be done by staying proactive with these tips.

Trim, Trim, Trim!

As obvious as it sounds, keeping your pet’s nails constantly trimmed is your best bet to long-lasting hardwood floors. This is especially important if you have a large dog (i.e. Labrador) as larger dogs carry more weight, which can really scratch up your beautiful hardwood floors. You can either do it yourself or have a professional dog groomer perform the task for you.

If you have high energy dogs that like to take off running because they heard a noise or heard someone at the door then it’s best to keep them situated in an area where you may not have hardwood flooring, such as the kitchen. If your house permits, it may be worth investing in a dog gate that can separate your dog from areas that you do not want scratched up.

Fancy a Nice Bath?

Dogs love to go outside; it’s one of the few things that they truly look forward to (besides food and a good belly rub of course). If you have a dog that is constantly going in and out of the house, then it would help to place a mat outside so that it can pick up some of the dirt and other debris before coming back inside. This will only help a slight amount so it’s important to make sure your dog is bathed from time to time in order to get the remaining debris out of their hair, especially their feet. You don’t want them tracking their garbage everywhere.

Did someone say Rugs?

Rugs go a long way in preventing scratches on hardwood floors. By covering up areas where your dog is likely to be a majority of time with rugs, your hardwood floors can stay in tip-top shape for a long time as well as add a nice touch to your floor.

The Denser the Better.

Denser woods have a lesser chance of being ruined by the force of larger dogs. So how do you find out how heavy certain hardwood floors are? It’s actually quite simple thanks to the Janka Hardness Test. This test measures how much resistance certain woods can take. The ideal choice would be to choose a harder wood such as Hickory because it’s not only heavy, but features a lighter color as well. Lighter colors have a natural tendency to hide any scratches that may arise.

But what about Cats?

Cats are light and therefore do not cause much concern when it comes to hardwood floors. Their sharp claws only come out as a defense mechanism, when they’re playing with certain toys, or if they’re using a scratching post. If you manage to keep their scratching post and toys in an area that’s away from your hardwood floors or in an area covered with rugs, then you shouldn’t have any problems with cats. I’d be worrying a lot more about that nice sofa you just bought!

Another great perk to having hardwood floors over carpet flooring is when it comes to the vomiting, urinating, or defecating that may arise from your pets. With carpet flooring, these annoyances become even more annoying when they not only stain the carpet, but also embed their smell into it as well. Nobody wants to deal with that. With hardwood flooring, these annoyances are only slightly temporary and require a quick and easy clean up before you’re back on your way.

If you do end up with some minor scratches on your Hardwood Floors, no big deal, just follow our guide on Removing Minor Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Choosing the Right Hardwood Floor Finish

Hardwood floors are highly durable if they’re properly taken care of. Routine cleaning methods such as dusting and mopping will help your hardwood floors go a long way. Hardwood Floor finishes provide that extra toughness your hardwood floors crave. Think of it as a car wash, when the car is finished, it looks nice and glossy. Hardwood flooring finish acts the same way, except they last far longer than any car wash. They help your floors stay structurally solid as well as provide your floors with a unique lasting look, helping them stay natural and fresh. There are two main types of sealants for residential hardwood floors: surface and penetrating. 

Surface Sealants

Surface sealants are exactly the way they sound: sealants that lie above the surface. They aim at coating the top of your hardwood floors by creating a thin, strong layer of protection. There are a few types of surface sealants you should be aware of.

Shellac – this sealant is one of the oldest in the books, but still has some shine to it. It provides your hardwood floors with a natural glossy overtone. It’s not as durable as some of the other sealants, but it still gets the job done when you’re looking for a cheap, sustainable sealant.

Varnish – another oldie, but goodie. It typically isn’t used much today as better options exist, but it still is versatile when it comes to different tints. It’s relatively inexpensive (similar to Shellac) but requires a deft hand to apply as it dries slow, allowing dust to complicate the process.

Lacquer – this is a finish that can be applied by spraying it on. Water-based lacquers cost more than varnish or shellac, but offer a quality glossy finish that is very durable.

Urethane – these are the new standard of finishes. They boast the highest possible gloss and excellent durability. Oil-based, water-based, and acid-based urethanes exist. Oil-based are normally inexpensive and easy to apply, but are potentially hazardous to your health and take awhile to dry. They also have a tendency to turn yellow over time. Water-based are more environmentally friendly and do not yellow over time, but lack the strength of an oil-based urethane sealant. Acid-based urethanes dry extremely fast and do not yellow over time, but are flammable and typically require a professional to apply correctly.

Penetrating Sealants

Penetrating sealants do exactly what their name says: penetrate your hardwood floors. These sealants soak into the wood by filling the pores, helping to protect it. Penetrating sealants help bring out the best in your wood. However, they typically aren’t favored because they do not give off the fancy gloss that surface sealants can produce. They must also be applied consistently. There are three types of oils to familiarize yourself with.

Tung Oil – a classic that has been used for many years is tung oil, which is an oil that comes from tung tree nuts. It’s a very natural “green” product that is easy to apply. It’s not the most durable choice, as it requires many applications to receive the durability you want, but it’s one of the least harmful choices out there.

Linseed Oil – an oil made from flax plants, this oil is also a natural choice very similar to tung oil. This oil isn’t as water-resistant as tung oil, but you can fix most scratches that may happen on your hardwood floors easier with this sealant. It’s more forgiving.

Danish Oil – this oil is normally a mixture of tung oil and varnish. It can also be classified as a surface sealant, but it penetrates as well. It dries quickly, is more durable than the other oils, and requires fewer coats. Of course this all comes at the cost of a higher price than the other options.

Sealants are a great investment to maintaining your hardwood floors and there are two things to keep in mind when you select one: dry time and the color it will produce.

We hope this information can help you seal the deal. For more info, view our post on Refinishing Your Hardwood Floors

Removing Minor Scratches and Nicks On Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a great addition to your house, but they are prone to scratches. If you manage to nick or scratch your hardwood floors then don’t panic. There are a few tricks to follow without the help of a professional.

Depending on how minor of a scratch it is and the color of your hardwood, chances are you can simply use a Sharpie pen to touch up and hide the scratch. It’s an inexpensive option that can curb your headache.

Who knew walnuts could repair scratches? Believe it or not, rubbing a shelled walnut over the scratch could fix your problem. When you rub a walnut, it’s natural oils come out which acts as a scratch filler and natural sealant.

Olive oil and vinegar is another known alternative method to fixing a scratch. By mixing olive oil and vinegar and pouring a small amount onto your scratch, it’s possible that your scratch can dissolve within 24 hours.

If these methods don’t satisfy your problem, then another promising option exists: wax sticks. Wax sticks combine stain and urethane (which produces that lovely gloss) to fill in nicks and scratches that require more attention. However, make sure you choose a wax stick that will best match the color of your hardwood floor. This isn’t as hard as it sounds because hardwood floors combine well with many colors, except for white scratches of course.

Be Proactive:

Preparing for them can prevent many scratches. Scratches are commonly formed from moving around furniture. The best way to prevent this is to invest in furniture pads that act as a small cushion under your furniture. Not only do they prevent scratches, but also allow for easy movement.

Rugs are hardwood floor’s best friends. You can prevent scratches by placing a rug under your furniture. This can also allow for easier movement, while adding a nice touch to the room. Aside from just furniture, surface rugs work very well in securing areas you feel are more likely to get scratched up (i.e. an area where children are playing).

For more information, please visit our section on Cleaning and Care for Hardwood Floors

Why Choose Hardwood?

Let’s get basic! Why not? You’re on our page because you might be considering installing wood flooring into your home. Awesome thought. Now let’s learn a little about how wood floors can benefit your home, family, and life! First off, wood floors reveal a sense of elegance when entering a home. They immediately project comfort and style along with a right-at-home feeling.  Because wood floors are natural, they bring a positive environmental factor right into your home.  A great thing about wood floors is that there are so many styles to choose from to match any type of décor.  Every different type of wood has a unique style, design, texture, and color. The options are almost limitless when it comes to customizing your dream floor. Because hardwood is top-notch quality, your home will always stay beautiful as long as the right maintenance is put into keeping your floors the same quality as if they were just bought!

Hardwood lasts for decades. There is no doubt that it reminds sustainable for many years. It is fairly easy to maintain also. Dust mopping on a regular basis will keep your floors looking new as well as the occasional approved cleanser. For those who love to go green, wood flooring has tremendous environmental benefits. Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other possible flooring options such as laminate or tile. Although they last hundreds of years, the flooring can be recycled! Indoor air quality is even improved when hardwood is installed. Your health will begin to see benefits from your wood floor too. Dust, mold, mites, and dirt build up on carpets, irritating colds, allergies, and other health problems. Allergy sufferers find many pros when it comes to wood floors because of the improvement in air quality.We all know wood flooring is quite an investment. Even though this is true, it is ultimately a great long term investment because it increases the value of your property and adds a beautiful charm to the overall feeling and appearance of your home.
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Cleaning Your Hardwood

Hardwood floors are unique. They add taste, style, and elegance to your home. We all know that wood floors are an expensive purchase. Therefore, it is important to keep them looking just as they did when you first installed them. Although not all hardwood floors are the same, they all need special treatment to keep them clean.  The first step is simple—make sure you have a soft bristle broom in handy for those daily dust removing touch ups. Avoid using brooms that have hard bristles because they may damage the floors. If you choose to vacuum, be sure not to scratch the floor. The hose attachment may be helpful to gather extra dust near the baseboards of the floor. The attachment is a safer choice because it is difficult to repair damaged wood caused by a vacuum.  If a water spill occurs, wipe it immediately with a towel.  Use a dry-damp mop so that extra water does not seam into the floor. Now that the simple cleaning rules are understood, more extensive care may have to occur if the floor is beginning to look dull. If this happens, waxing and buffing the floor can be done by using a buffer machinurle. Most of the time, wood floors needs a good mop cleaning when it comes to certain stains that are sometimes unavoidable, especially with a full house. Most of the time, a damp cloth will do the trick. Remember to dry the spot so that water is not left behind. Of course there are products and solutions on the market that help when it comes to spills or accidents. Most products contain wax which gives the floors an extra glow. Depending on the type of floors in your house, it is always best to find a solution best fit for the kind and quality of floor you have. Important tip: Be sure to never dump an entire bucket of solution onto the floor. It could leave unwanted streak marks. Remember that to keep your hardwood in its best condition, maintain its quality by cleaning and dusting it frequently.

How to Create a Built-in-Bookshelf

As we all know, flooring has numerous factors that complement color, shade, the type of wood, and more. Design, care, and maintenance are just a few aspects that go hand-in-hand with the flooring that you choose. Decoration and color are key factors to a wonderful, breathtaking room.  Sometimes these additions can become expensive. Why not create a decoration yourselfurl-10? Many might be thinking– where is my talent and money that must go into this process? No need to worry. Following a few steps will help create a decoration or addition that you have always wanted. Today we are going to discuss a popular trend that is seen in many living rooms and bedrooms..Built-in bookshelves! In my opinion, I believe these are great for show, and for also saving space on a regular bookshelf. The trick is a 12-step process that will bring you from scattered supplies to a magnificent creation. After-all, if you can read, you can build!

One,  you need to measure and cut the shelving. Measure the shelves in relation to the space you will be inserting them.  Cut the pieces of shelving and using a circular saw, cut out the kick-plate area on the bottom of the unit.

Two, you must cut rabbet joints into the ends of the top shelf, cutting straight across the shelf into 1/8’’ increments

Three,  “Mark the location for the center shelf, and use the pegboard as a template for drilling holes for adjustable shelves. Clamp the pegboard in place so that the first holes will be 4″ above and 4″ below the center shelf. Draw reference lines across the holes in the pegboard to help you keep the holes even. Drill holes 2″ from the edge in 2″ increments.”

Four, attach 1’’x 2’’ support blocks for the center shelf with glue and finish nails. “Drill and countersink pilot holes for the top of the bookshelf. Attach it with glue and 2″ wood screws. Apply wood glue to the support blocks for the center shelf, and set the shelf in position. Drill and countersink pilot holes in the side of the bookshelf, and attach the shelf with 2″ wood screws (Image 2). Be sure to drill the holes in an area that will be covered when the bookshelf is recessed into the wall”.

Five, attach support blocks for the bottom shelf with glue and nails

Six, Fasten the back panel with 1’’ brads to help the shelf stay square

Seven, “Attach 1″ x 2″ trim pieces to the side and bottom edges of the bookshelf with sixpenny nails and glue”.

Eight, “Drill and countersink pilot holes for the kick plate so the screw heads will be just below the surface of the wood. Attach the kick plate, then cover the screw heads with wood filler or spackling compound.”

Nine, remove any base molding from where the shelf will be placed

Ten, drill pilot holes through the back corner and into the wall studs—be careful not to drill through the inside of the bookshelf.

Eleven, “Measure and cut the nailer board and trim for the top of the bookshelf. Attach the nailer to the top of the shelf with sixpenny finish nails. Use finish nails to attach the trim”.

And finally, replace the baseboard trim and touch up any areas that need adjustment.

See photos and tips for guidance on http://bit.ly/12CHela

Water Damage: How to Prevent and Fix

We all love the look of newly installed wood floors. Of course there is maintenance that goes into keeping your floors quality, but what happens when water damage becomes an issue? If there is major damage, like a flood, the floor may need to be replaced. This can obviously be highly expensive. At the site of damage, remove the wood so that the sub-floor is visible. Drying it outside is the next step. In minor cases, it is important to act immediately by cleaning any spills by using towels. No matter how major the accident is, dehumidifiers and open windows can hwater-damage-hardwood-floorelp ventilate the room to prevent the damage to begin with.

Experts speak upon the easiest ways to dry your flooring

-The easiest way to dry out the top of the floor is to buy or rent large fans and point them down to the floor.

-Keep the AC on if you have it, but open windows next to the floor area about 2 inches.

-The excess moisture has to go somewhere, even with air conditioning.

-Now more importantly, below the floor in the basement, you also need to have large industrial fans pointed up to where the water has come through.

-If you happen to have a finished ceiling below the floor, you might also consider cutting a neat (and repairable) square in the drywall.

-This is so the fans can better dry the under side of the subfloor.

-It would help if a few holes were drilled up into the subfloor where the leak began, to make sure a puddle of water is not sitting between the floors.

ask@woodfloordoctor.com

There are other simple things you can do to prevent water damage in the first place.

“Use entrance mats- Sometimes dirt that accidently grinds into floors can accumulate water and moisture” which can cause long-lasting damage that might ultimately go un-noticed.

“Clear your floors regularly- Soft brush vacuum cleaners help prevent scratches” and there are many mild wood flooring cleaning products that are gentle on your floors.

“Choose your wood products wisely- Oil soaps are known to damage certain floors.” You wouldn’t want to cause more damage than the problem itself!

“Wax coating can help seal out moisture”’

Elegant-Floors

The important thing to know is that one must act immediately upon any noticeable water damage. Some floors can even collapse if the problem is not attended to. Re-coating and finishing the floor is important when going from damaged goods to a newly defined wood floor!

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