November 3, 2012 All Flooring Solutions

Importance of Maintenance on Hardwood Floors

All Floors Maintenance
While specific finish types may require different maintenance, some guidelines apply to the care of all wood floors:
• Floor protector pads should be installed on the bottom of all furniture legs before furniture is placed onto the wood floor.
• Place rugs at all entrances. They help trap grit and absorb moisture before either one has a chance to damage the finish. (Check with the finish manufacturer for when these can be placed—usually they should not go down on the floor for at least seven days, and sometimes more than 21 days after the finish is applied.)
• Rugs should be shaken out, cleaned and thoroughly dried when they get wet.
• Take special precautions with non-skid pads that are frequently placed under area rugs. These pads may imprint their pattern onto the finish and/or wood floor. (Natural fibers may not transfer as much as synthetic pads.)
• Be aware that area rugs may cause color differences in the floor due to differences in light exposure.
• Expect that floors will shrink and expand with changes in humidity, sometimes leaving small gaps between boards. To minimize changes, humidity control in the home is recommended.
• Routine basic maintenance includes sweeping, vacuuming and/or dust-mopping to remove dirt and grit. (Use only vacuums that have a hard- surface setting.) The more that dirt and grit are allowed to accumulate, the more they will be tracked over the floor, leaving scratches. Floors should be cleaned immediately before and after a major event.
in good repair—if they lose their protective cap,
they will dent the surface of any floor.
• Pet nails need to be trimmed regularly.
• Be especially attentive to potential spill areas,
such as dishwashers, sinks, icemakers and stovetops. Other potential problem spots include household plants and Christmas tree stands.
Those are some of the basics. For information specific to finish types, read the following sections.
What to use?
It is important to impress upon consumers exactly which directions to follow and which products to use in caring for their wood floors. Although Mr. Smith may use cleaning product X, his floor may have a different finish from Mrs. Brown’s finish next door.
• For factory-finished wood floors, consumers should follow the directions of the flooring manufacturer as to which cleaning products to use. This is extremely important because not following those directions may void the manufacturer’s warranty of the wood floor.
• Consumers with floors that were finished at the job site should follow the maintenance directions of the floor finish manufacturer.
• Using a non-recommended product to clean the floor may ruin the appearance of the finish, and it also may cause problems down the road when it is time for the floor to be recoated.
• If the manufacturer is unknown, the customer should follow the general guidelines detailed on the next page.
surface finishes
Maintenance tips specific to surface-type finishes (water-based urethane, oil-modified polyurethane, conversion varnish, moisture- cured urethane and the finishes on most factory- finished floors) include:
• As with any wood floor, follow a program of sweeping and vacuuming to eliminate as much dirt and grit as possible, and remember that moisture should not come in contact with
the floor. If it does, it should be wiped up
• Always use the manufacturer’s recommended
cleaning products, which won’t leave a contaminating residue on the floor. If the manufacturer is not known, use a generic hardwood floor cleaner available at local retail wood flooring stores.
• Most warranties from finish manufacturers and factory-finished wood flooring manufacturers are voided by the use of oil soap cleaners.
• Wipe up spills immediately with a lightly dampened cloth, then use a recommended cleaning product.
• For stubborn stains, lightly dampen a soft cloth with a recommended cleaning product. Apply directly to the stain and repeat as necessary.
• Never use a wax finish on top of a surface finish.
• Using steam or excessive water may damage a wood floor.
• When the floor loses its luster, there are options to revive the floor. A professional topcoat dressing may revive the floor’s appearance. However, that is not a substitute for a recoat using a chemical or mechanical recoating system.

Specialty finishes
Wax Finishes
Maintenance tips specific to wax-type finishes include:
• As with any wood floor, follow a program of
sweeping and vacuuming.
• Wipe up spills immediately with a dry cloth.
Buffing may be required.
• To remove white spots caused by water spills,
use a fine steel wool, a soft cloth or synthetic pad and a small amount of mineral spirits. Rub gently in a circular motion until the spot is gone. Then rewax the area and rebuff.
• When the floor loses its luster in heavy traffic areas, buff those areas with a polishing brush or pad. If that does not restore luster, rewax only those areas and buff. Note that too much wax causes the floor to scuff easily.
• Eventually the floor will need to be stripped and rewaxed. Even if waxed floors are completely sanded down, they may be very difficult to coat over with a surface finish.
• Use only a professional carnauba-based wax designed for wood floors.
Oil Finishes
Maintenance tips for oil-type finishes include:
• As with any wood floor, follow a program of
sweeping and vacuuming.
• Wipe up spills immediately with a dry cloth.
• The oil will need to be periodically reapplied
by a professional. There are many types of oil finishes (see glossary); follow the directions for that specific product.
Non-Urethane-Coated Acrylic Impregnated Floors
The care of non-urethane-coated acrylic impreg- nated floors differs significantly from most other floor finishes:

National Wood Flooring Assocciation

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