How to Take Care of Laminate Floors

Laminate floors are beautiful and very durable but not indestructible. Floors can dull when unattended dirt acts as an abrasive on its surface.

This can be avoided by sweeping, dust mopping or vacuuming regularly to remove loose dirt and grit.

You can use a broom or, to make the job faster, a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar.

Vacuum cleaner attachments are useful to pick up dirt from between planks, tiles or along edges.

An occasional very light damp mopping using laminate floor cleaner is also suggested. However, your laminate flooring can expand if excessive water is used while cleaning. Your mop should be damp, not wet.

After damp mopping, a clean dry cloth should be used to wipe your floor thoroughly.

Placing doormats or walk-off mats at each entryway will collect excessive moisture and dirt before they enter your home.

Do’s and don’ts you should know about.

  • Glides or floor protectors on the bottom of your furniture will prevent possible scratching or abrasion.
  • It’s important to lift heavy furniture instead of dragging or pulling the piece.
  • Use pieces of carpet face down under heavy objects when moving them across your floor.
  • Spot cleaning and occasional complete cleaning of your laminate floor can be done using the manufacturer’s recommended products.
  • Never use abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scouring powder.
  • Don’t use soap-based detergents or “mop-and-shine” products.
  • Never flood your floor with water or cleaner. In all cases, less is best, especially when it comes to water.
  • Don’t wax or polish your laminate floor.
  • Never try to refinish or sand your laminate floor.
  • Durable but not indestructible, your laminate floor can be damaged by heavy or sharp objects.
  • But the good news is that the finish on your laminate floor can help protect the floor from sunlight and the typical fading you find with aging hardwood floors.
  • Keep in mind that if a repair is necessary in the future, the replacement product may be a slightly different dye lot and/or texture than the initial installation.

For additional care procedures please refer to the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions and recommendations.

By understanding and following these basic care guidelines you can be confident that your laminate flooring will provide you with many years of beauty and lasting performance.

 

Rating the Hardness of Wood

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Want to know which woods are harder than others? Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in flooring.

These ratings were done using the Janka Hardness Test, which measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood.

The higher the number, the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring.

The construction and finish also play an important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor.

Wood Species Hardness Rating
Douglas Fir 660
Southern Yellow Pine (short leaf) 690
Southern Yellow Pine (Long leaf) 870
Black Cherry 950
Teak 1000
Black Walnut 1010
Heart Pine 1225
Yellow Birch 1260
Red Oak (Northern) 1290
American Beech 1300
Ash 1320
White Oak 1360
Australian Cypress 1375
Hard Maple 1450
Wenge 1620
African Pedauk 1725
Hickory 1820
Pecan 1820
Purpleheart 1860
Jarrah 1910
Merbau 1925
Santos Mahogany 2200
Mesquite 2345
Brazilian Cherry 2350

Understanding the hardwood family should help you decide if this is a flooring answer for you and your home. What’s your favorite species of wood?

 

Choosing an Area Rug

Photo: Shaw Floors

Colors and designs for area rugs run the gamut from serene and subdued to spunky and bright. But don’t be confused about your selection. Here are a few guidelines.

Color and Design

If you want to make a bold, contemporary statement, consider a large floral pattern or dazzling geometric that becomes the room’s main focal point. To add warmth, texture and quiet style, try a rug with more subdued colors or a classical pattern in subtle shades.

Tips for Choosing

  • Living Areas: A rug should be large enough to hold seating groups and small enough that the floor forms a contrasting frame around it.
  • Dining Areas: Choose a rug large enough to accommodate chairs when they’re pushed away from the table.
  • Foyers: The rug should cover a large portion of the area, allowing a generous 18- to 24-inch border of floor to frame it.

Do you have a favorite area rug?

Source: Shaw Floors

How to Select Window Treatments

Janice Howell of MODA Floors & Interiors helps answer some questions about selecting the proper window treatments for your home. Is privacy an issue? Is light control important? Click on this link to learn more.

Keep Your Home Warmer in Winter, Cooler in Summer

Photo: HunterDouglas

Photo: HunterDouglas

Insulation

In winter months, your home heating escapes to the outdoors through your windows while in the summertime, the outside heat flows into your home through these same windows. With window treatments that provide insulation, you can reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs, and create a more comfortable atmosphere.

Solar Heat Control

The warmth provided by the sun, its solar energy, may be desirable during the winter to help heat your home, but in the summer, it can make a room overly hot and uncomfortable—driving up air conditioning costs. Many window fashions help control solar heat by allowing it into your home in the winter and minimizing the amount that comes in during the summer.

Daylighting

Daylighting is the practice of lighting rooms with natural light rather than artificial light.

By drawing natural light into a room many HunterDouglas window treatments reduce the need for other types of lighting, thereby reducing your energy use.

Source: HunterDouglas

 

 

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FAQ: Care and Maintenance of Wood Floors

Hardwood Floor

Photo Courtesy: Bona

How are polyurethane or other surface finishes maintained?

Surface finishes like polyurethane require only simple care. Just dustmop, sweep or vacuum regularly. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known. When cleaning no longer restores shine, recoat the floor with a surface finish. The frequency of recoating depends on the amount of traffic. Never wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor.

How are wax or penetrating-stain finishes maintained?

Dustmop or vacuum regularly, and use a buffer to maintain the shine. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known. If buffing no longer restores shine, you may need to rewax. If so, apply a cleaner and liquid wax specifically for wood floors. Apply the wax evenly, allow the floor to dry, and buff to the desired luster. Depending on traffic, a properly maintained wood floor should need waxing once or twice a year. Be careful not to over-wax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other low-traffic areas by applying wax half as often as in higher-traffic areas.

How can I clean a discolored or soiled wax finish?

If the wax finish is discolored or has dirt build-up, use a combination liquid cleaner/wax made specifically for wood flooring. Make sure it is solvent rather than water-based. Spread the liquid cleaner/wax with a cloth or fine steel wool and rub gently to remove grime and old wax. Wipe the floor clean, let it dry for about 20 minutes, and then buff.

Can cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors be used on wood floors as well?

No. Never use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. And never use self-polishing acrylic waxes on wood floors. These waxes cause wood to become slippery and dull. In this case, the floor must be sanded and refinished.

Can a wood floor be damp-mopped?

Never damp mop a waxed floor. When cleaning a surface-finished floor, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. You may generally use a dampened (near dry) mop to maintain a wood floor; however excessive moisture will cause damage. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood, and leave a discoloring residue. If water spills on a wood floor, immediately wipe it up with a clean cloth.

How can I prevent scratches on wood flooring?

Place mats and throw rugs at doorways to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt and sand. Place felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floor regularly.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association