DIRT and GRIT : Dirt, grit and
sand are your hardwood floors worst enemies.
They act like sandpaper on the
finish, causing scratches, dents and dulling. Place floor mats
at entrances to trap dirt and prevent damage.
WATER AND OTHER SPILLS : Standing
water can warp a poorly finished hardwood floor and can damage
the finish. Simply wipe up all spills as they happen.
HARD CLEANERS : Avoid oil soaps.
They can build up and create problems when its time to
put a maintenance coat on the floor. Instead, neutral pH cleaners
made specifically for wood floors are recommended.
FURNITURE : Lift the furniture
to move it --- avoid dragging. Felt contacts under the legs will
help prevent scratches.
DENTS : Vacuum with a brush
attachment -- dont use vacuums with beater bars.
SUN : Direct sun can discolor
your hardwood floor. Close curtains and blinds or add sheer drapes
to protect from the suns intense UV rays.
SWEEP : Brooms with fine, exploded
ends trap dust and grit effectively.
VACUUM : Canister vacuums with special bare floor attachments
are the surest way to get rid of all the dirt and dust.
DUST MOP : Use a good dust mop --- one with a 12- to 18- inch
cotton head ---- and a special dust mop treatment. Spray the
treatment onto the mop head 12 to 24 hours before dust mopping.
Oak and maple are the most popular hardwoods used in flooring.
Ash, beech,birch, cherry, hickory and walnut are other favorites
for floors and decorative accents.
Does Your New Hardwood Floor Look Old?
Perhaps your hardwood floors
were installed just a few years ago, but you haven't taken care
of them and now they look old. What can you do? Before you do
anything, check the condition of the finish and the wood to see
whether they need special cleaning or more involved repair.
What condition is your floor
Follow these steps to evaluate
the condition of your hardwood floor and its finish.
Finish Condition: Has the finish
been worn off or is it just dirty? See if the finish is dull,
chipped, scraped or gouged. To test if the finish has worn off,
begin in a high-traffic area and pour one to two tablespoons
of water onto the floor. If the water soaks in immediately and
leaves a darkened spot, the finish is worn and water can damage
the wood. If the water soaks in after a few minutes and darkens
the wood only slightly, the finish is partially worn. If the
water beads on top, the surface is properly sealed. Repeat this
test in low- and medium-traffic areas.
Wood Condition: It the finish
is worn, the wood may have been damaged. Are there stains, burns,
cuts, gouges, holes, cracks or warped boards? If the wood is
damaged, repair or replacement may be required before you deep
clean your floor or apply a maintenance coat.
What type of finish does
your floor have?
The same care and maintenance
techniques are used for all finishes in good condition, but when
it comes to removing stains or restoring the finish, methods
differ. If you don't know what kind of finish your floor has,
ask your contractor or Realtor, or try these simple tests:
Surface Finishes: (pre-finished
floors, polyurethane, water-based urethane and catalyzed)
Nearly all floors installed today have surface finishes, mostly
polyurethane. They are often glossy and may look like a layer
of clear plastic on top of the wood. A small amount of paint
remover in an inconspicuous area of the floor will cause the
surface finish to bubble (unless it is a water-based urethane,
in which case there will be no reaction). Surface finishes shield
floors from harm by forming a protective layer on top of the
Penetrating Seals: (acrylics,
oils and waxes)
Oils and waxes usually have a satin or matte finish. If you can
feel the wood grain when you run your hand across the surface,
it's most likely a penetrating seal. Paint remover will have
no effect on a penetrating seal, but wax stripper or ammonia
will soften and whiten the surface. Oils and waxes penetrate
the surface of the floor protecting the wood from within.