Hardwood Floors Improve Indoor Air Quality

Hardwood Floor PhotoYou probably think a lot about whether the food you eat is safe. But how safe is the flooring surface in your home?
When it comes to flooring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that hardwood floors improve indoor air quality. They don’t harbor microorganisms, allergens or pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. Hardwood floors also minimize the accumulation of dust, mold and animal dander, which makes them a healthy option for your child’s first steps and beyond.
Allergens can exist everywhere. Some are more common outdoors, like pollen and mold spores, while others are more common indoors, like dust mites and animal dander. All allergen sources, however, can be present anywhere at any time. And because the impact of air-borne allergy-related illnesses can be staggering – up to $17.5 billion in health care costs and more than 6 million work and school days lost each year – it makes sense to prevent and minimize allergy triggers whenever possible.
While outdoor allergens can be hard to control, there are ways to minimize the impact of allergens that occur indoors. Frequent dusting, vacuuming, and washing will minimize many indoor allergens, but these activities can stir them up as well. One way to prevent allergens altogether is to eliminate many of the areas where they can gather.
Flooring is one area of the indoor environment where the number of indoor allergens can be controlled. Certain types of flooring, such as carpet, are simply better gathering places for allergens. Small microorganisms, pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, animal dander and other substances tend to accumulate in carpet fibers. Other flooring types, such as wood, tend to minimize the accumulation of allergens because there are no fibers to trap these substances. Taking steps to minimize these kinds of allergens can result in improved indoor air quality.

Learn About the Sand-and-Finish Process

Are you looking to update your hardwood floors before the onset of holiday gathering traffic? Prepared by Bona, these tips will help you understand what to expect before, during and after the sand-and-finish process.

https://us.bona.com/articles/what-to-expect-when-sanding-and-finishing-hardwood-floors.html

Why Choose Hardwood Floors?

Durability and cost are two factors to consider when choosing a hardwood floor for your home. Hardwood floors, when properly maintained, can last many years and look beautiful. They also add value to your home. Learn more in this brief video from Bona.

Want to Install Wood Flooring in Your Home?

Here is a step-by-step guide to getting there.

  1. Determine where in your house you would like to have wood flooring. Wood floors can stand up to all the big and small moments that happen at home.
  2. Establish a general budget range and desired timing for the project.
  3. Find a professional to help with selecting/ordering product and installation. Wood floors can last for the lifetime of your home, so you want to choose a professional who has the knowledge and skills to do the job right.
  4. Choose the type of flooring, design requirements, and colors that are necessary for your project.
  5. Plan a time to have the work completed.
  6. Discuss maintenance requirements with your flooring professional. Schedules can vary depending on use, finish wear and tear, and lifestyle.
  7. Enjoy your beautiful new wood floors for many years to come. One of the advantages of wood floors is that they can be refinished, which makes them a great long-term value.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Maintenance Tips for Hardwood Floors

When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost. Here are some maintenance tips to help you keep your floors looking great.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened cloth.
  • Use breathable throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching the floor.
  • Sweep with a soft bristle broom or dry microfiber mop. A wet mop and steam mop are not recommended because water and steam can damage the finish and the wood.
  • Follow a regular cleaning schedule to ensure a better performance of the floor. Sweep or dust mop as needed, vacuum weekly using the bare floor setting and clean with the appropriate wood floor cleaner monthly.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps between the floor boards.
  • Ask a wood flooring professional for a recommended maintenance schedule. Schedules vary depending on use, finish wear and tear and lifestyle.
  • Ask a professional if your wood floor could use a new coat of finish. Most scratches in wood flooring will occur in the finish, not the wood itself. A professional may be able to lightly abrade the finish and apply a new coat to restore the floor.
  • Consider new finish options to give an updated look and style. There are wood floors in excess of 300 years old that are still in service today, but have gone through numerous style changes.

Give Your Living Room A Wow Factor

A rug on top of your living room hardwood is an accessory that can easily transform your space. Small rugs look great on top of sleek hardwood flooring and can add a whole new dimension to the room, especially if they include rich colors, textures or patterns.

Any carpet can be custom bound into a unique area rug. With such a wide variety of carpet styles and designs, giving your room a completely different atmosphere is simple and effortless. Consider these rug ideas for your living room design.

Durable Patterns
Houses catering to a family should include a rug that can withstand the wear and tear usually inflicted upon the floor by children.

“Real Simple’ magazine suggests patterned rugs to make the space more visually interesting, adding another element of texture to your living room.

Use Your Rug As An Accessory
The size of your rug should be smaller than the area that your furniture covers. People often make the mistake of using an oversized rug for their room, covering up more of their hardwood floor than they have to. According to HGTV, the front two legs of your sofas or chairs should be placed on the area rug, supporting the gathering space, but not taking away from the overall sleekness or openness of the room. Think of the rug as an accessory, just like your ottoman or coffee table. It shouldn’t take over your flooring, but complement it instead.

“Real Simple” recommended using a decorative rug to draw attention to a specific piece of furniture, like your bold-colored sofa. This is easily done by contrasting the color of the rug with that of the piece of furniture you want to make the focal point of the living room.

Source: Shaw 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