Care & Maintenance of Hardwood Floors
Professional Floors of St. Louis Inc. is pleased to offer the following care and maintenance instructions to help you maximize the years of use and enjoyment your floors will provide you.
After refinishing a hardwood floor and under any normal drying conditions, all furniture can be returned to their designated rooms within 24-36 hours. But remember, when bringing in furniture in, set it down and do not slide it in. 24-36 hours is when 90% of the curing process of newly applied finishes takes place. To actually achieve the final complete cure will be reached three to four weeks. Take in mind, good air circulation can also improve the cure time. Only after the cured has finished, you can place your throw rugs on the floor. If you follow these easy steps, you can minimize any need of repair and refinish tomorrow.
Dirt, grit and sand act like sandpaper to scratch, dent and dull hardwood floors. Place floor mats at entrances to trap dirt. Sweep, vacuum or dust mop at least weekly.
SWEEPING – Brooms with fine, exploded ends trap dust and grit effectively.
VACUUMING – Use a brush attachment. Do not a vacuum with beater bars because this can cause dents in your floors finish. Canister vacuums with special bare floor attachments are the surest way to get rid of all the dirt and dust.
DUST MOPPING – Use a dust mop with a 12-to-18-inch cotton head. Check with the flooring manufacturer if a mop treatment is to be used.
WATER and other standing liquids can damage a floors finish. Standing water can warp a finished floor. Starting at the edge and working toward the center, wipe up spills, pet accidents, and other mishaps when they happen.
FURNITURE should be moved by lifting, not dragging. Felt contacts under furniture legs are a good idea to help prevent scratches in routine use.
SUNLIGHT can cause discoloration over time. Close curtains and blinds or add sheer drapes to protect a hardwood floor from intense rays.
SHOES with exposed nails and heel supports will dent any floor rugs in front of heavy wear areas, such as doors or sinks. Chairs and any other furniture that is moved frequently should have floor pads under the legs to prevent scratching and wear. If area rugs are used, wait until the floor is completely cured and move them occasionally to avoid uneven appearance as your wood floors age (develop “patina”). Use drapes where possible to minimize direct sunlight to the wood floors. Wood can be affected by direct sunlight the same as carpet or fabrics.
One of the best benefits of having wood flooring is the ease of cleaning hardwood floors.
Cleaning hardwood floors entail occasional sweeping with a regular broom to get rid of dust that may have settled on the floor. Be sure however that when cleaning hardwood floors, you use only a soft broom that will not scratch the polyurethane varnish off the floor. You can also even just use a slightly damp mop immediately followed by a dry one to make sure that dust will be thoroughly picked up in cleaning hardwood floors. One thing you cannot do in cleaning hardwood floors is to scrub with a hard brush on the floor surface because doing this will cause marks on the even and shiny finish of your hardwood.
Another thing is that you should not excessively wet the area when cleaning hardwood floors to avoid the water from seeping into the wood and making it swell. Swelling which results from incorrect methods of cleaning hardwood floors will cause the wooden planks to become uneven and in some cases, chip off. To avoid this, take care not to spill or mop up quickly any spills that may occur on your hardwood.
Normal Cleaning and Regular Maintenance
To clean your wood floors, remove all grit by using a dust mop and vacuum on a regular basis. If additional cleaning is required, damp mop your floors as needed with clear water. For occasional, more thorough cleaning, use a cloth dampened (NOT soaked) with a mixture of 3/4 cup white vinegar to one gallon of water.
Hardwood Floors and Pets
You do not have to choose between your beloved pet and your beautiful hardwood floors. A few simple steps will keep Fido and your floors in great shape.
First, consider three coats of an oil-based urethane finish in a satin sheen to provide the best protection. Clip your pets’ nails regularly, and make sure the finish is well-maintained. For more serious damage, the floor can always be recoated. See “Special Tips for Polyurethane-Finished Hardwood Floors”.
Sweep, vacuum or dust mop at least weekly to remove dirt, grit, and fur. Standing water or other liquids can damage floors so wipe up urine or any other spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
Choose water bowls designed to avoid spills. Pet stores sell bowls with stable bases that deter tipping. Some bowls even come in stands. A throw rug could help absorb the stray drop or two, but any mat should be removed immediately if it gets too wet.
Hardwood floors are a healthy choice for homes with pets. Unlike carpeting, wood floors do not harbor animal dander, fleas, ticks, mites or other allergens. Plus, many pets prefer to nap on wood floors, which are natural insulators that keep rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
So breathe easy. Hardwood floors and pets are compatible.
Harsh alkali cleaners may damage the finish and/or the floor, and should not be used. Never use excessive water on wood floors. Even though our products are water-resistant, water can seep into open cracks and expand or contract the wood, causing the finish to break loose, resulting in “white spots”, chipping, peeling, etc. Remember that water is an enemy of wood. Do not use excessive amounts. Also, do not apply chemical cleaners or soap directly to the finish, as it may cause dulling, and, if it seeps into the cracks between the boards, it may create future refinishing problems.
Hardwood Flooring Maintenance
Keeping your hardwood flooring clean and looking good has never been as easy as it is today. With advances being made in hardwood flooring stains and finishes every day, the maintenance necessary to keep your hardwood flooring looking has dropped substantially. Instead of spending hours every year reapplying stains or finishes, not to mention moving furniture and other items around the house to avoid dust or damaging fumes, St. Louis homeowners can easily keep their hardwood flooring properly maintained simply by regularly sweeping and vacuuming and occasionally with a hardwood flooring product. For suggestions on what hardwood flooring cleaning products to use contact Professional Floor of St. Louis today and talk to one of our certified and knowledgeable technicians.
There are a few steps you can take to ensure the maximum life of your hardwood flooring. Follow these steps and you can be sure your hardwood flooring will last as long as possible.
- Throw rugs are your friend – Use as many throw rugs as possible inside and outside of doorways to ensure that dirt and grime and dust and other debris is off your shoes before walking on hardwood flooring. Another place to use area rugs is underneath the sink if you have hardwood flooring in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Take off the heels and cleats – Put it this way, a 125lb woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000lbs per square inch. That number can skyrocket up to 8,000 if there is an exposed heel nail on the shoe and that kind of pressure is almost certainly going to damage any hardwood flooring surface.
- Pick up the furniture instead of sliding it – We know it is easier to slide heavy furniture instead of lifting it, but you are much more likely to damage or scratch hardwood flooring if you simply slide it around as opposed to lifting it. Put the extra effort in, it is worth it.
- Avoid wet-mopping – Water on hardwood flooring can quickly dull the finish and can actually permanently harm wood leaving a discolored residue.
- Wax on, wax off, but only occasionally – Consider buffing hardwood flooring instead of multiple layers of wax. Avoid a build up of wax in low traffic areas, like underneath furniture, by waxing these areas every other time.
- Use the booties – Put booties or some other type of plastic or fabric faced glides underneath the legs of furniture to avoid scuffing, scratching, and other damage.
- It is not the heat, it is the humidity – Use a humidifier in the winter to keep your hardwood flooring from moving and shifting and shrinking.
- Easy on the product – Only use hardwood flooring cleaning products on hardwood flooring. That means no sheet vinyl products and no tile floor care products on the wood. These types of product will cause wood to become slippery and appear dull.