Hardwood Floor Maintenance Tips

Hardwood floors will offer that beauty, rustic, and feeling of life in a home. But wood is susceptible to damage from moisture, every day wear and tear, exposure to UV light, and staining from beverages and fluids like coffee, juices, and urine. While you would want to design floors that last and remain in good condition all the times, at times, if you do not protect them, you will have to deal with these problems more often.

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floor cleaning tips

Surface treatment and technical innovation can assist in extending the life of hardwood floors and minimizing the premature damages, however, a little bit of attention and care is needed when using your wood floors.

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Routine maintenance of hardwood floors

When you have installed your wooden floors, you need to do a final cleanup just before you start walking on it and move in your furniture. If you have installed laminate and wood, you need just brush off the dust and dirt and rub the surface using a dry clothe in order to remove the little bits. If the bits remain on floor such as particles of soils, they could start causing scratch marks.

A regular sweeping of floors will ensure that every day dirt as well as stains are removed so that you do not have an ingrained floor.

floor cleaning tips With the regular cleaning, it will keep the floors looking smart and prevent marks from forming. A buffing routine is needed to enhance the glare of the floor. Surface treatment on floor will prevent spots and staining, but you also need to keep the floors clean. Use dry cloth and an appropriate cleaning agent to remove any stains from food, paint, drinks, poop, or pet urine.

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Easy maintenance tips of your hardwood floors

  • Wipe out any liquids that spill on floors quickly before they infiltrate the material and cause unsightly stains
  • Sweep and vacuum the surface regularly to do away with abrasive grit that could scratch the finishes
  • High heels are the worst in damaging floors because they cause scratches especially if the heels are worn out or damaged. They can go creating sunken surfaces on wood or causing strips of marks
  • In surfaces near the kitchen, door entrances, and other high traffic areas, use mats and carpets. You might want to put mats around the floor near kitchen sinks, kitchen workstations, and dishwasher area, in order to protect the wooden floors from spills of water, food, detergents, and dropped utensils that may impact on the surface and create dented surfaces.
  • Avoid using rubber mats or other forms of mats with dense backings, which tend to prevent airflows. The rubber mats can create pockets of moisture, which could damage wood
  • Use felt pads in all furniture feet in order to allow for easy movement of the furniture without causing marks

Wood cracks, scratches, and gaps

Following extended duration of use, the surface of wood will wear and even the toughest of lacquers used on the wood floors will begin showing scratches. With a badly damaged floor, it rips away and erodes the beauty of your floor.

floor cleaning tips

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If you have a badly scratched floor, you can recondition it by lightly sanding and applying a new coat of a sealant material or lacquer. The presence of cracks and gaps should be worked on immediately by filling them with putty or using wax bars for the larger gaps.

Prefinished Verses Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Homeowners are obsessed with uniqueness in their beautiful homes. Many people want to have homes that have something different and not a normal home. Hardwood floors can complement the beauty of a home while also enhancing warmth and minimizing on heating needs. Since the ancient times, people have been inclined to wooden floors over cement and marble flooring. Wooden floor environment enhances the feel of life in a house.

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Wood can increase the level of comfort in a room. Consider that before installing the planks in a floor, they were once living at some point prior to cutting them down. From that notion, the life of the tree is taken to the home in form of a floor, which in turn affects the environment and makes it have a feel of life. Wooden floors can be created either unfinished or prefinished.

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Difference between unfinished and prefinished hardwood floors

hardwood flooringAll hardwood floors require a finish no matter the type of species. A finish on hardwood protects it from damage caused by wear and tear, stains, and moisture. The coats applied on the hardwood serve as protective covers. Besides, the finish serves to highlight the natural beauty and characteristics of the wood.

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In choosing a hardwood floor material, you will have to consider whether to use unfinished or prefinished wood. The prefinished wood flooring materials are coated at the factory environment under controlled conditions to ensure proper curing and drying. With these wood floors, homeowners get the option of selecting planks that have slight beveling or square edges, something that makes the individual boards to be more noticeable.

On the other hand, unfinished wood planks are picked from the factory in their natural form without any kind of finish. All the finishing work including sanding and staining or sealing is done at site where the boards will be installed. The edge and end treatment are most often limited to square form. While prefinished woods are regarded as more durable, the unfinished wooden floors are considered to be more accurate.

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The importance of having the two forms of wooden flooring

Both the unfinished and prefinished wood floors have their own set of pros and cons. Prefinished hardwoods take less time to install and when the floors arrive in the home, they are already sanded surfaces and finished. There is no curing or drying time that is needed meaning you could be ready to walk on your floor as soon as it is installed.

Besides, these prefinished woods do not produce toxic fumes and strong odors in time of installation. There is no dust from sanding meaning you may not need to relocate the family to allow for finishing. For high traffic areas, the prefinished floors would perform better because they have durable surfaces.

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Unfinished wooden floors are easier to match with the any existing hardwood floors and other home interior elements. You can do custom color staining and they are easier for the installer to carry out customized elements such as inlays. For the perfectionists, the unfinished woods would be regarded as best suited for them because they can work on the floor and turn it the way they desire.

Hardwood Floor Installation Guide

Besides bringing warmth and bucolic beauty in a room, the hardwood floors are useful in increasing the value of a home. In this age of mass production of building and floor varnishing materials, it is important to find the right hardwood material. What may seem like solid hardwood could actually be something else. Before you install anything on your floor, consider the type of wood you are buying.

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Types of hardwood material you will come across

Solid wood implies that each part of flooring structure is designed using a genuine hardwood without any form alternation or engineering. In large surfaces where you have to install solid wood, the strips or planks of wood are bonded together using joinery techniques such as stronger-than-wood glue.

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Hardwood veneer is an altered material designed of thin slices of hardwood-bonded materials forming a composite of plywood or wooden board. Laminate wood floors are designed of foil, paper, plastic or other artificial material printed with wood grain patterns and then bonded to form composite boards or medium density fiberboards.

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Determining the subfloors to install your hardwood floors

Hardwood floors may be installed on different levels of a home. Flexibility in installing hardwood floors is essential in order to conform to the subfloors you have in a building. Installation flexibility and moisture mitigation are critical elements to consider when installing these materials.

Moisture can damage hardwood-flooring material because the increased moisture content causes issues like gapping and warping. To reduce and prevent the effects of moisture, ensure you keep the moisture levels within the recommended amounts by the manufacturer and choose the right installation design. A moisture barrier may be needed to help protect the wood from moisture penetrating from under or over the surface.


Types of subfloors over which to install hardwood floors

Primarily, there are three subfloors on which you can install hardwoods and they include basement and concretes below the ground level, plywood subfloor above or at ground level, and concrete at the ground level.

Hardwood floor construction styles

A ¾-inch solid hardwood material may be installed over a plywood subfloor that is at or above the ground level. Homes with crawlspaces should have moisture barriers to help in controlling the moisture rising from the ground. A 5/16 inch solid hardwood is thinner than the ¾-inch wood and it cannot be installed in basements and on concrete below the ground level. This material is thin enough to be glued down to concretes that are within the ground level.

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It could also be installed over plywood material at or above ground level. In gluing down the 5/16 inch solid woods, urethane adhesives are used alongside moisture barriers. Engineered woods are designed over concrete and they help in mitigating any potential moisture damages. A cross a layer prevents your floors from expanding when there is exposure to moisture.

One good thing with engineered floors is that they can be installed even in basements where there is risk of moisture exposure. Designed of veneer, the engineered floors are environmentally friendly besides being less expensive than the genuine hardwoods.

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Locking hardwood is an engineer floor that has locking tongue as well as groove system. It does not require use of staples, nails, and glue because the planks are locked together. What you need to do is lay down the moisture barrier and then lock the planks together. Areas of a home such as bathrooms should not be installed with hardwood floors because the moisture content can fluctuate greatly.