Get Your Hardwood Floors Ready For Spring

Winter can be a tough time on floors with all the excess salt, debris and moisture that can accumulate during those cold months. Make sure you treat your floors with extra care as you prepare them for a new season of sun and fun.

Photo: Bona Floors

How to Revitalize Hardwood Floors

    • Clean floors last. It’s best to clean rooms from the top down so that any dust and debris won’t find their way onto a newly-cleaned floor.
    • Dry mop/dust floors. Use a microfiber dusting cloth or a vacuum to remove the initial layer of dust and debris on floors. If using a vacuum, avoid using the beater bar so the vacuum’s brush doesn’t damage the floor.
    • Spray mop floors. Use a cleaning solution designed for your floor type. Avoid DIY vinegar solutions or steam mopping your floors since they both can damage your floor’s finish leaving it to look dull and cloudy. If your mop doesn’t have a spray function, fill your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and spray floors a bit at a time to avoid any excess amount of liquid on your floors.
    • Apply a new coat of polish. Now that your floors are clean and dry, applying a coat of polish is a great way to revitalize your floor’s finish. A coat of polish can even out a floor’s look, filling in any small scratches and adding a new protective layer on top of your floor.

Here are some tips that can help protect your floors even more.

    • Use floor mats and area rugs to protect high traffic areas. If using mats and rugs, try to get rugs and mats with a natural rubber backing since some materials can discolor floors after extended use.
    • Protect floors from sun damage. Rearrange furniture or use curtains to protect floors from fading and UV damage.
    • Protect furniture legs with appropriate pads and covers. Felt or rubber pads can help avoid scratches from accidental dragging of furniture on your floors.

Source: Bona Floors

 

Flooring Moisture Management

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Wood is an organic material that reacts to its environment. It is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs and loses moisture in reaction to its surrounding environment. In humid environments, wood gains moisture and swells. In dry environments, wood loses moisture and shrinks. This is completely normal and happens at all stages of the wood life cycle, even as the tree is growing in the forest.

If wood gains or loses too much moisture, problems can occur.

Wood that gains too much moisture can cup. Cupping occurs across the width of a floor board, with edges that are raised on each board and centers that are lower than the edges. Cupping always happens due to a moisture imbalance through the thickness of the board.

Wood that loses too much moisture can gap. Gapping occurs between floor boards. Gaps can vary in size and are considered normal if they appear and disappear during seasonal changes in humidity. Gaps are not considered normal if they are large or do not close during more-humid months.

Both of these issues can be minimized by maintaining an environment that is consistently between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and 30-50 percent humidity. Significant fluctuations outside these ranges can result in cupping or gapping.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

 

 

Protect Your Oiled Floors

Photo: Monarch

Photo: Monarch

Treatment with wood oil is very popular as it brings out the same beautiful look that many exotic wood species have. Wood floors treated with oil bring out the wood’s natural character and warmth. Wood oil doesn’t give any direct protection against wear but helps to repel water. It’s a good idea to think about which rooms are suitable for oiled wood floors.

It can be difficult to see and feel the difference between an oiled wood floor and a waxed wood floor. A waxed wood floor is softer and a little more slippery than oiled wood floors.

Things to think about when you dust and clean your oiled wood floor:

Protecting your oiled floors is simple. By routinely cleaning, you remove dust and dirt before they scratch and dull the surface, or wear away the floor.

Always keep water to a minimum when cleaning your oiled wood floors. If you spill (food or drinks), wipe up immediately to prevent any permanent damage or staining.

Sweep or vacuum your oiled floors as often as needed.

Don’t use ”all-purpose” cleaners on your oiled floors as they tend to leave a dull residue and you end up using too much water, which is damaging to your oiled floors.

Things to think about when you maintain your oiled wood floor:

Use a special oil product for maintaining and protecting your oiled floors.

If you have laid an oiled floor in an area where there is a high risk of spilling water, like in a kitchen, apply oil refresher to add a layer of protection and increase the life of your new floors.

The oil refresher can be applied as needed but usually a few times a year. Always make sure the wood floor is cleaned before re-applying.

Source: Bona

Wood Floor Maintenance: 10 Tips

Photo: Bona

Photo: Bona

Cleaning your wood floors is easy. Regular maintenance includes sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with the beater bar turned off. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.

Here are some other steps you can take to maintain the beauty of your wood floors.

  • Don’t use vinyl or tile cleaning products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
  • Use throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching your floor.
  • Don’t wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
  • Don’t over-wax a wood floor. If a wax floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
  • Put stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching. Replace these often as dirt and debris can become imbedded on the pad and act like sand paper on the flooring surface.
  • Avoid walking on your wood floors with sports cleats and high heels in disrepair. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels with an exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When moving heavy furniture, don’t slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture to move it and to prevent scratches.
  • For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug at the kitchen sink.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

How to Maintain Varnished Floors

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Photo: BONA

Floor varnish is one of the most common wood surface treatments. Varnish is available in several gloss levels from completely matt to glossy. A varnished floor is highly resistant to abrasion and chemicals. It’s important that you Dust, Clean and Maintain your varnished wood floors in the right way.

Dust and Clean

Here are some things to think about when you dust and clean your varnished wood floor.

Protecting your wood floors is simple. By routinely cleaning, you remove dust and dirt before they scratch and dull the finish, or wear the floor.

Always keep water to a minimum when cleaning your wood floors. If you spill food or drinks, wipe up immediately to prevent any permanent damage or staining.

Sweep or vacuum your wood floors as often as needed. Use Bona’s mild, specially formulated Wood Floor Cleaner for best results.

Don’t use “all-purpose” cleaners on your wood floors as they tend to leave a dull residue and you end up using too much water, which is damaging to your wood floors.

Maintain

If your wood floors are starting to look dull or have small scratches, you can use a refresher to revive them.

Polish and refresher add lustre to your dull wood floors and act as a layer of protection against wear and tear.

If you have laid a wood floor in an area where there is a high risk of spilling water, like in a kitchen or bathroom, apply a polish or refresher to add a layer of protection to your new wood floors.

Polish or refresher can be applied as needed but usually a few times a year. Always make sure the wood floor is cleaned before re-applying.

Source: BONA

How to Clean Wood Floors

Photo Courtesy: Shaw Floors

Photo Courtesy: Shaw Floors

With today’s advances in wood flooring stains and finishes, cleaning your wood floors has never been easier. Regular maintenance requires little more than sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with a soft floor attachment if your wood floor includes a beveled edge that could collect debris. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional.

There are other steps you can take to minimize maintenance and maintain the beauty of your wood floors as well.

  • Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
  • Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt and other debris from being tracked onto your wood floors. This will prevent scratching.
  • Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
  • Do not over-wax a wood floor. If a wax floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
  • Put stick-on felt protectors under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching. Replace these often as dirt and debris can become imbedded on the pad and act like sand paper on the flooring surface.
  • Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats, sports shoes and high heels. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
  • When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture completely to prevent scratches.
  • For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps or cracks.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

 

 

 

 

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