Maintaining and Changing the Look of Wood Floors

wood floor photo

Photo: Bona

How should I maintain my wood floors?

Routine maintenance for wood flooring is really very easy. Simply sweep, dust mop or vacuum with the beater bar turned off to remove dirt and grit from between the floor boards. Wet mops and steam mops should be avoided because excessive water and steam can dull the finish or even damage the wood. When spills occur, clean the area immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth.

If the floor begins to look a little dull, using a wood flooring cleaner recommended by the installer or manufacturer will help renew luster. Avoid mass-market rejuvenators, polishes or restorers. If you are not sure which cleaner to use, visit a reputable flooring store like MODA Floors & Interiors for a recommendation.

Will I be able to change the look of my wood floors?

One of the advantages of wood floors is that they can be refinished, which makes them a great long-term value. A wood flooring professional will clean the floors to remove all contaminants and then lightly abrade the floor and apply a new coat of finish. If scratches are deep in the wood, or if there are large dents or damaged boards, trained refinishers will be able to repair the damage without affecting the rest of the floor.

The numbers of times a floor can be refinished will depend on the floor itself, the degree of repair needed and the skill of the refinisher. A professional refinisher will remove very little of the wood to make repair – generally 1/32” or less – while those without proper training or equipment might remove much more wood than that, which generally reduces the life of the floor.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Can I Install Wood Floors Myself?

Photo: Bona

Installing wood floors is a lot more complicated than painting your walls or replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets. Wood flooring requires special tools that you will likely have to rent. You will need to make sure the room you are working in is flat, that the subfloor material will work for wood flooring and that no moisture issues are present that will damage the wood long term.

You also will need to know how to center the room, how much space should be left for expansion gaps and how to work around obstructions like closets, fireplaces, bay windows, staircases and cabinets. If you make cutting mistakes, you may end up running short on your material and not have enough to finish the job.

For all these reasons, installing wood floors is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project. In the long run, you will save money and time by using a professional installer.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association 

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.

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your New Floor

Wood Flooring Photo

Photo: Lauzon Flooring

Are you ready to update your home this year with new wood flooring? Here are seven steps to help you streamline the process.

  1. Determine where in your house you would like to have wood flooring.
  2. Establish a general budget range and desired timing for the project.
  3. Find a professional to help with selecting/ordering product and installation.
  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.
  7. Enjoy your beautiful new wood floors for a lifetime.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

 

What is the Janka Scale?

Did you know that each species of hardwood has a different level of hardness? Some common domestic species like walnut, cherry and birch are less hard in comparison to other common domestic species like maple, hickory and oak. The hardness of solid wood is measured according to a system called the Janka Scale.

The Janka Scale gives a good indication of how well a wood species can be expected to withstand dents and dings. The scale is determined by the amount of pound-force required to push a .444-inch diameter steel ball halfway into the wood.

Ratings for both domestic and imported species are included in the scale; however, none of these values apply to engineered wood flooring. While Janka values give a general sense of how hard solid wood is, other factors also contribute to the durability of wood as well. This can include things like how the wood is cut and the finish that is applied to the wood.

Durability

Paws and claws? No problem! Wood floors are designed to withstand the traffic of busy families, including man’s best friend. Wood floors are extremely durable. They can withstand the rambunctiousness of a puppy and still look beautiful for decades. Just be sure to pick a species that can endure Fido’s playful spirit, sharp nails and occasional accidents.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

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.