Category Archives: Care and Maintenance

Damp Mopping – The Way Experts Clean Their Wood Floors

damp mopping wood floors

Remember: Damp Mop.

Damp mopping is a very simple way of cleaning hardwood floors. It also happens to be a tried and true method that many experts believe is the most effective way in cleaning urethane finished wood floors on a day-to-day basis.

What Do You Have To Do?

Anyone can do it; all you need is a mop and some water. There are many different types of mops to choose from. Microfiber and/or sponge mops are popular choices for many.

Dirt and grit are the biggest enemies of a wood floor, so before you begin cleaning with a damp mop, remove any dirt and grit by sweeping with a soft broom, or vacuum (do not use a vacuum with a beater bar).

Fill up a bucket with water (NO SOAP), take your mop, dip it into the bucket of water, and – here’s the important part – make sure you squeeze any surplus water out of it. This gives you a damp mop that you can now use to glide over your hardwood floors with ease. There’s nothing fancy to it.

But What About Homemade Cleaning Solutions?

Many people claim specific do-it-yourself cleaning solutions that involve a host of different easily attainable products such as white vinegar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, liquid dish-washing soap, and even black tea bags perform well on cleaning their wood floors. While some may swear by these methods, there’s no guarantee of these methods working in the long-term. People claim they help restore the shine of a finish, but it’s only short-term.

The issue experts have with these simple do-it-yourself cleaning methods is that they will in fact leave a nasty “dulling” residue on your hardwood floors. Solutions with vinegar and lemon juice contain acids that may harm a floor’s finish in the long-term.

Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

As the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry”. All you have to do is ask yourself if it’s worth the risk to put your trust into a hardwood floor cleaning solution that you found on the Internet.

Our best advice is to stick with the easiest solution of them all – a mop and some water (make sure it’s DAMP!)– and occasionally use cleaners such as Bona® as a “spot” remover when necessary. Always carefully follow cleaner manufacturer’s instructions.

5 Ways To Prevent a Ruined Hardwood Floor

ruined hardwood floor

As we begin to see more and more families make the switch to hardwood flooring, we want to remind you of a few ways to keep yourself from the sight of a ruined hardwood floor.

1. Welcome Home

As you’re out and about throughout the day, your shoes pick up a handful of debris ranging from just normal everyday dirt to gum, and if you’re really unlucky – dog doo. The last thing you want is for this debris to catch your hardwood floors. This is why it is essential to add a welcome mat to the entrance of your home, giving you an efficient space to take your shoes off without adding in the extra chore of cleaning your floors.

2. Too Much Cleaning

Everything in life is about balance. While cleaning your wood floors is definitely a great habit to pick up, it can actually be damaging. Here’s the main reason why: too much water or solution. Dry mopping or dry-damp mops work best. The last thing you should do is blast your floors with a wet mop. The same goes for overdoing it with cleaning solutions.

Instead of cleaning the whole floor, perhaps stick to certain areas that appear filthier than others. Some people have tried steam cleaners (with some cleaners advertising a “wood flooring option”). Our advice – stay away from steam cleaners.

3. Here Comes The Sun

For those who live in cooler climates, this won’t affect you much. But for those of us stuck with lots of sunlight should highly consider investing in blinds, shades, drapes, and/or moving furniture around to distribute the sun equally throughout the room. Too much sunlight may damage hardwood floors, can dry out the finish, and cause discoloration.

4. Cushioning the Furniture

It’s nice to come home and throw yourself into a chair to relax. Sometimes, this results in unwanted scratches to your floors. An easy solution: furniture padding. You should spend no longer than an hour of your day searching for furniture pads to place under the corners of any furniture – couches, chairs, tables, etc. Chances are, your local hardware store will be carrying them.

5. Cat Scratch Fever

Pets are great companions, but your hardwood floors may have a different relationship with them. The biggest concern with pets is their nails. Their nails could leave small scratches, leaving you with a ruined hardwood floor. If pets could, they would probably trim their own nails like we humans do, but they can’t. When you begin to notice your pets’ nails becoming a little too long, then it’s time for a trimming. With some pets, this chore can be a real hassle. If that’s the case then look into a professional groomer who can also give them a nice bath, too!

Protecting Your Hardwood Floors from Guests

It’s common for families and friends to get together for celebration. It’s also common for many homeowners with hardwood floors to realize how their guests have left the floors with scratches or spills.

Hardwood floors are very durable; especially engineered floors that are specifically made to handle guests. However, it’s hard to control what happens during an event. Follow our 4 tips below to ensure you are proactively protecting your hardwood floors from guests:

Rugs
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: rugs are hardwood floor’s best friends. The trick here is to strategically place any rugs in ‘hot spots’, or spots that will contain lots of foot traffic. You definitely want to place a rug right at the entrance for people to take their shoes off or wipe their shoes down. This also goes for any backdoor or side entrances where your guests may be going in and out.

Chairs
If you have any chairs, then you may want to consider adding some cushion to the bottom in case you have guests that decide to plop into the chair, with their weight causing the chair to move backwards, potentially scratching your floor. Depending on the type of chair, you will either need felt pads or chair glides. Both are easily attainable at your local hardware store.

Paper Towels
Chances are, a few minor spills will happen during your event. Keeping a sufficient stock of paper towels handy can save you anguish later on. In case a guest spills soda while pouring, a paper towel can quickly mop up the mess. Keep a few a rolls scattered in various spots throughout the house where you believe a spill is most likely to occur. If a larger spill happens, then it would be best to use a mop to clean your hardwood floors.

Outdoor Eating
If you’re overly stressing about your floors and weather permits, then you should consider having your guests eat outside to further reduce the likelihood of any damage or spills occurring. This will require you to have enough chairs and tables handy, as well as table covers, paper plates, and plastic utensils. Most importantly, make sure the trashcan is also placed outside.

We hope these tips help you in proactively keeping your hardwood floors looking sharp for any event you host. Above all make sure you enjoy the time you have with your family and friends!

Read more on how to prepare hardwood floors for you, your guests, and your family.

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.

hardwood

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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