Here are some useful information:
Hardwood Floor Care
- Don't Damp Mop - Water and hardwood floors don't mix! Use only the manufacturer's recommended cleaning products on your hardwood floor.
- Vacuum Regularly - Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can scratch the finish of your wood floor's finish. To help combat this use long bristle welcome mats placed at all outside entrances for people to wipe their feet on before entering onto the floors. Also, vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment.
- Use the Proper Chair Glides - Narrow wheels, sharp wooden legs or metal furniture legs can scratch and dent hardwood floors. Any furniture that rests directly on top of a hardwood floor should have felt protectors, or furniture coasters under all it's feet. For extremely heavy objects such as a piano, use wide, non-staining rubber cups. Purchasing floor protectors is cheap insurance for protecting your hardwood floor investment.
- Don't Use Oil Soaps - There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor. The best suggestion is to only use the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood flooring.
- Never Wax a Urethane Floor - If your hardwood floor has a polyurethane finish never use a paste wax on the floor's surface. A paste wax may form a sticky film on your floor and allow tracked in dirt to stick to your wood finish. Polyurethane finishes will not adhere to any wax and adding a fresh coat of polyurethane to your floor will be very difficult.
- Wipe Spills Immediately - when accidents happen and some liquid gets spilled on your hardwood floor, you should use a slightly damp white cloth, or paper towel to immediately clean up and dry the effected area. For more difficult spots, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning procedures.
Solid hardwood floors have been used for centuries and never seem to loose their charm and warmth. We generally think of solid hardwood floors as a 3/4" thick plank that is in narrow 2 1/4" strips. This is the classic strip wood floor.
Solid wood floors can also be manufacturered in a variety of widths and thicknesses. The strips or planks are generally in random lengths from 12" – 84". The most common North American hardwood species used for solid wood floors are red oak, white oak, ash and maple.
Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides and come in either prefinished or unfinished styles. Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and it is not recommended to install these floors below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab. These floors are for nail-down installations only. You can refinish, or recoat solid wood floors several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life. There are solid wood floors that are several centuries old and are still in good condition today.
All solid wood floors will react to the presence of moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract which leaves unsightly gaps between each plank. In the summer months when the humidity is higher the wood will expand and the gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle. This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimate the wood prior to installation.
When we talk about unfinished wood we generally think of solid wood floors. Although there are many prefinished 3/4" solid wood floors too. Unfinished solid oak floors come in several different qualities. These qualities are clear, select and better, #1 common, and #2 common. The clear has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive. The select and better quality has some small knots and very little dark graining, while the #1 common and #2 common have more knots and more dark graining. When buying an unfinished solid oak floor make sure you know which quality you are buying.