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

 

Window Covering Maintenance Tips

Window TreatmentHere are some tips to help you protect the investment you’ve made in your home’s window treatments.

  • Always spray glass cleaner on a clean cloth, not the window. This will help prevent splatters and potential damage to your window covering.
  • Don’t use water, solvents or abrasive cleaners on your wood blinds or shutters.
  • To remove dust or debris from hard-to-reach areas on honeycomb, window shades and shadings, use a hair dryer on a cool setting or canned compressed air that you can purchase at an office supply or hardware store.
  • Bathtub cleaning or water immersion, ultrasonic cleaning, injection or extraction cleaning and steam cleaning are all specialized professional cleaning treatments. Ask the company where you purchased the window treatment for referrals.
  • Ultrasonic cleaning is done at a professional facility; whereas injection or extraction cleaning can be accomplished in your home. This type of cleaning injects a cleaning solution into the fabric and extracts the dirty solution in the same motion.
  • Steaming can be used to remove wrinkles from some fabrics. Use a hand-held travel-size steamer that provides continuous steam.
  • Many aluminum and vertical vinyl blinds are specially treated to guard against static electricity and dust. If not, wipe the slats with an anti-static dryer sheet.
  • HunterDouglas aluminum horizontal blinds are treated with Dust ShieldTM, an anti-static paint additive that inhibits dust build-up.
  • The best way to clean alternative wood blinds and shutters is with a soft damp cloth.
  • Always refer to the care instructions you received when you purchased your product. When in doubt, call a long-standing business that specializes in window coverings or the manufacturer.

Window Treatments Offer Ultimate Light Control

ShadingsThe most popular and growing category of window covering options include window shadings, sheers and light louvers.

All three of these products are made from fabric and offer the ultimate in light control.  Their versatility can provide complete privacy without complete darkness by simply adjusting the vanes for the desired amount of light.

Shadings, sheers, louvers and panels are made with a wide selection of soft fabrics, including opaque and translucent materials.

Both window shadings and sheers consist of soft fabric vanes that are suspended between two sheet fabric facings. Window shadings vanes run horizontally and sheers run vertically. These vanes rotate for a filtered view allowing for complete privacy or anything in between. Both window shadings and sheers are offered in a variety of fabrics ranging in opacity, texture and color.

SheersWindow shadings, sheers and louvers are extremely versatile and can be installed in almost any room in the home. These products blend all the advantages of draperies, shades and blinds into one design. Vertical sheers work particularly well on large window patio doors or on window walls.

The elegant and sophisticated looks of these window coverings make them the perfect choice for living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms. They work well in contemporary and traditional settings.

One of the newest window covering designs in this category is light louvers. This new window fashion has a similar look to traditional wood shutters, but has honeycomb louvers that function much like a blind. Light louvers are made of durable fabric and come in either a translucent or room darkening style. Many colors and pattern combinations are available.

These products can be installed with an inside or outside mount depending on the window molding and sill construction. Vertical sheers also come with the option of right, left or split stacking configurations.

It is important to note that window shadings and sheers may not be the best fit for pet owners. Being a sheer fabric, they may get damaged at the hand of a cat and its claws.

 

 

Window Covering Maintenance

Window CoveringHere are some tips on cleaning various types of window coverings.

  • Water, solvents or abrasive cleaners should not be used on wood blinds or shutters.
  • The best way to remove dust or debris from hard to reach areas on honeycomb, window shades and shadings is by using a hair dryer on a cool setting or compressed air purchased from an office supply store.
  • Bathtub cleaning or water immersion, ultrasonic cleaning, injection or extraction cleaning and steam cleaning are all specialized professional cleaning treatments. Power washing is not.
  • Many aluminum and vertical vinyl blinds are specially treated to guard against static electricity and dust. If not, the slats can be wiped with anti-static dryer sheets.
  • It is best to clean alternative wood blinds and shutters with a soft damp cloth.