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.

 

Hardwood Floor Trends of 2014

 

As professionals of hardwood floors, it’s important to stay on top of the latest hardwood floor trends. So what have hardwood floor consumers been raving about? Here’s what we’ve found:

Wide planks – Many consumers of hardwood flooring are starting to prefer planks as wide as 10 inches or higher! The new standard has been set to a width of 5 inches. Some may even say that 7 inches is the new standard. We can safely say that we are up to speed on this latest shift towards wider planks.

Exotic woods – Just the word ‘exotic’ brings out a feeling of awe. The thing about exotic woods is that they feature unusual grains and patterns that are completely natural. Examples of exotic woods include Acacia and Brazilian Cherry. Consumers of hardwood floors prefer this natural, wholesome look in their homes.

Engineered flooring – It’s no surprise that engineered flooring is still a strong hardwood floor trend as it’s an eco-friendly approach to hardwood floors as well as cost-effective. On top of this, engineered floors can be installed over concrete and below grade (unlike Solid flooring). In general, the trend towards ‘green’ products has been gaining growth for quite some time.

Dark colors – Hardwood floor enthusiasts are beginning to prefer bolder, darker colors such as dark brown, black, or auburn. Darker colors provide a more sophisticated, vintage appearance that can be very captivating. This isn’t to say that lighter colored floors are outdated. It’s all a matter of preference.

Wood walling (also called wood wall covering) – This is a recent phenomenon in which the walls of your house are replaced with hardwood flooring. It may sound very bizarre, but it’s catching ground. Again, it goes back to the whole idea of the natural look that provides homeowners with a sophisticated appearance that cannot be achieved through traditional white walls.

Head over to our Pinterest account for more ideas on hardwood floor trends & designs!

hardwood

 

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:

 

What is the Janka Hardness Test and Does It Matter?

 

You may have heard of this whole “Janka Hardness Test” business, but aren’t exactly sure what it is or what it means to you. No problem, we’ll try and help you out.

You should know that the Janka Hardness Test applies to both engineered wood flooring as well as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood floors typically feature a plywood base with a solid wood overlay, or “veneer”.

Janka Hardness TestSo what exactly is the Janka Hardness Test? It’s quite simple. An 11.28 millimeter steel ball is forced halfway into various wood species to measure how resistant a species is. A rating is then applied to compare exactly how hard certain hardwood floors really are. A rating of 1290 is used as a baseline to see which woods are soft and which are hard. Ratings above 1290 are considered harder variants and those below 1290 are regarded as softer choices.

What do these numbers mean to me?

The harder the wood, the more trauma it can take before it dents. Harder woods are more forgiving of careless mistakes. Harder woods are also forgiving of large pets and kids that roughhouse. Harder woods are better for heavier traffic scenarios but come with a downside: they don’t deal as well in dry climates and have the potential to split.

Ultimately, you want to choose the wood species that looks best to you, regardless of Janka ratings. If you like a certain type of hardwood because you believe it will match your home better or make it easier to work with, then that should be the one you pick. Also, it’s important to understand that the finish of a hardwood floor is the real defense against scratches and the like.

Read more about selecting a wood species here.

 

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

 

Engineered Hardwood Floors for the New Year

 

With the New Year here, we’re proud to show off two of our premier Engineered Hardwood Floors Collections: Composer and Royal Court. These collections offer an illustrious approach to hardwood flooring.

Engineered Hardwood FloorsThe Composer Collection aims for a classical approach with its natural splits, mineral streaks, and unfilled knots. Finished with a strong Klumpp German finish combined with unique technics of wire brushing and sand blasting, this collection is very resistant towards scratches and dentation. This 11.5” wide engineered hardwood flooring collection is a combination of classical craftsmanship with modern technology, which makes for a perfect balance of harmony in your home.

A sub-collection includes our Composer Orchestra Collection. This 7.5” wide Collection boasts a vintage feel that combines the beauty of European oak with unmatched durability. Our inspiration comes from driftwood, capturing the atmosphere of the ocean. By selecting the Viola, Cello, or Piccolo variants, your home will feel one step closer to the relaxing vibes of the beautiful blue ocean. View The Composer Collection 

engineered hardwood flooring


The Royal Court Collection offers a prestigious approach to your hardwood flooring needs. With a bold overtone, this collection craves the attention of anyone who steps in to your home. Like the Composer Collection, engineered hardwood floors are used to enhance the style of any room by giving it the eye-catching elements that a King or Queen would seek. View The Royal Court Collection

We know many people have New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps switching to engineered hardwood floors is yours.

 

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

 
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