Caring for Your Floors

After 45 years of working with customers, we have some advice on keeping wood floors healthy and beautiful. Here's our top tips.

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Cleaning

  • Use a general household cleaner like 409, Simple Green or Mr. Clean. Do not use Murphy's Oil Soap, wax, polish, Pine Sol or “Mop & Glow” cleaners. (These leave a dull acrylic buildup and your floors will need sanding again later.) 
     
  • For daily cleaning, use a broom, vacuum with bristle head or cotton dust mop. Please wipe all spills dry immediately.
     
  • For weekly cleaning, use a damp (not wet) mop. Spray lightly with an all-purpose cleaner directly onto the floor. If you dissolve cleanser in a bucket of hot water to mop with, wring it out very well to just slightly damp. 
     
  • If you mop, wrap a dry towel around your mop and run it around the room so water does not sit on the floor after you are done.  An excess of liquid might filter down between the strips and damage the wood.
     
  • Protect your floor from all sources of water. Wood expands when it absorbs water and contracts when drying. Use throw rugs by the front and back doors, fridge and sinks or other places likely to get a little wet.

Stain Removal

  • For hard to remove stains, pour white vinegar directly on the stain, leaving it on for 2 - 3 minutes. Scrub well and wipe clean.
     
  • For chewing gum, candle wax, crayon, etc., use a dissolving agent such as Goo-Gone or De-Solve It, or apply a plastic bag filled with ice cubes to the area until the substance hardens enough to crumble off. Spray some cleanser and wipe clean.
     
  • If you get a light scratch or cigarette burn, brush over it with a thin application of polyurethane or clear wax. If you have a dark stained floor, brown shoe polish or a brown marker followed by wax works well. For deep scratches or burns, heavily damaged boards can be easily replaced.

Humidity and Temperature

  • The relative humidity level in your home should be maintained at 50-60 percent maximum throughout the year. 
     
  • Hardwood is a living substance that reacts to changes of relative humidity. It absorbs or releases humidity according to seasons and as a result, its dimensions change. In summer, when humidity is at its highest, wood expands. This expansion can cause the strips of wood to push against one another and cup if humidity is above the recommended levels. These variations can be minimized with proper ventilation, dehumidifying or heating. 
     
  • In winter when the heating system is on, the relative humidity level in the house is lower and wood contracts or shrinks. Small gaps can appear between the wood strips, but can correct seasonally.
     
  • Direct sunlight can fade the stain color over time or shift natural colors. This phenomenon with wood surfaces is normal and natural.

Protection and Long-Term Care

  • Your hardwood floor should be recoated when the finish shows signs of real wear, such as dullness in traffic areas.
     
  • If the finish wears through to the bare wood, it will be stained by dirt and moisture, and will need to be re-sanded.
     
  • In most cases, you shouldn't notice real wear for 5 years, or longer in seldom-used rooms. Call us for a recoat when you do. A recoat is a one-day procedure, and your floors will look brand new.
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