WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR HARDWOOD FLOORS
Congratulations on having made hardwood floors part of your decorative environment. They’re a wonderful investment that will last you a lifetime.
Hardwood is a product of nature, available in many species of wood that each offers its own natural characteristics that add to the beauty of the products.
You should expect a hardwood floor to show hairline cracks in & between boards. There might be a slight variation in the height of the boards in relationship to each other, in the color & the grain. These are not considered to be defects.
Some pre-finished wood floors are laminated, meaning they are made up of several layers of hardwood with the top layer being stained & finished.
An intentional space is left between each board for natural expansion & contraction that occurs due to changes in the temperature & moisture content of the wood. Minor splintering & chipping is considered normal.
PREVENTATIVE HARDWOOD MAINTENANCE
The following is a list of tips from the Great Floors team. Before taking any steps to clean or care for your floors, you should always follow your hardwood manufacturer’s recommended procedures when possible.
- Oils from asphalt or roads can get tracked in from outdoors & leave a stain on your hardwood. Use walk-off mats or soft-backed throw rugs to trap dirt & grit before it enters your home.
- Certain chemicals in wood oxidize in strong light, causing it to change color, age, or develop a patina. Use drapes or shades & move area rugs occasionally to avoid uneven weathering.
- Put felt glides on the legs of furniture to allow for movement without scuffing. Clean these glides regularly to remove embedded dirt. Different types of furniture may require different types of casters, but you should generally avoid plastic ones.
- Vacuum regularly using a machine without a beater bar. A brush attachment works well.
- Sweep or use a dust mop daily, but do not use household dust treatments as these can cause your floors to become dull or dangerously slick.
- Wipe up food & other spills immediately with a clean, damp cloth, then dry promptly.
- Avoid walking on hardwood in high heels, as they can cause dents.
CARE OF STANDARD HARDWOOD FLOORS
Your primary goal when it comes to hardwood flooring care is to keep grit off the floor. Dust mop regularly & keep any mats or rugs clean. Wipe up any spills immediately using a soft, dry cloth, or a damp cloth for sticky spills.
Never damp mop a wood floor unless you have a moisture-compatible finish. Even then, use the minimum possible amount of water to avoid deterioration of the wood. You should generally not clean wood floors with water, water-based products, or vinegar on a regular schedule. There are care products specifically formulated for hardwood floors that will not dull your floor’s finish. If you do need to restore a hardwood floor’s luster, you can buff it.
Do not wax your hardwood floors unless you have a compatible finish. A waxed floor can never be re-coated without being completely sanded down to the raw wood surface.
CARE OF TOPICAL STAIN HARDWOOD FLOORS
Topical stain hardwood floors require more attention, as the light color of these floors tends to show the effects of dirt & traffic more than floors with natural or dark-stained finish. Tiny scratches will appear larger – this is normal.
Simply vacuum or sweep often, wipe up spills immediately, & follow the maintenance recommendations from the finish manufacturer.
You’ll probably notice tiny separations between the floor strips during dry seasons or long heating periods. Wood expands or contracts based on the amount of moisture in the air. When humidity levels are low, the flooring will contract & separations will become more noticeable.
Depending on the type of finished used, light-tinted or white floors may experience shading changes over time. The finish will appear to diminish or deteriorate faster than a natural stain, especially if in contact with water.
No sub-floor is perfect level, and dips or ridges will remain even after installation. You may notice hollow sounds where this occurs, but it does not affect the structural integrity of the hardwood or the installation. Hollow sounds are considered normal, not a product or installation defect.