14 Essential Wood Flooring Care and Cleaning Tips

Wood flooring can add value to your home, not to mention it can be a rich and bright touch to your home d├ęcor. But as lovely as it is, hardwood flooring is susceptible to the elements, and to keep your floor looking lustrous for years to keep, there are some important tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep moisture away

If your flooring has a good coat of finish, then it will be more resistant to water than those with no or little remaining finish; nonetheless, water is the biggest enemy of all natural wood flooring. It can cause warped and cracked boards, and for this reason, one of the best things you can do for your floor is keep moisture away. Do this by quickly cleaning spills with a slightly damp cloth, and by not installing wood floor in a damp place, like the bathroom, to begin with.

2. Sweep regularly

Dirt and grit can build up fast on floors, and these can easily scratch the surface of wood flooring, so try to sweep your wood flooring with a soft-bristled broom once every day or two.

3. Vacuum weekly

For the same reason mentioned above, you should vacuum your floor about once a week. But make sure to use a brush attachment so that a vacuum bar does not dent your flooring.

4. Use only slightly wet mops

Remember hardwood flooring’s number one enemy? That’s right, water, that is why, when mopping, your mop should be just ever so slightly damp.

5. Only manufacturer recommended cleaning products

When using cleaning products specifically for wood flooring, only use the manufacturer recommended products. Wood floors have different finishes, some wax-based, some water-based, and even others. Some cleaning products will react differently with different types of hardwood flooring.

6. Place pads under furniture

Heavy dents can be near impossible to get out with sanding, and the more you sand your floor, the thinner it gets, so it is a good idea to protect your floor by placing pads under all furniture.

7. Don’t drag furniture or heavy objects

When moving heavy objects like furniture across your floor, be sure to lift them rather than dragging them across it, since this can cause dents and scratches.

8. Try to avoid wearing high heels or heavy shoes on wood flooring

These, especially heels, can cause dents and dings in wood flooring.

9. Place rugs or carpet runners in high traffic areas

These will help protect the floor from excessive grit and also from dents and scratches.

10. Place mats in front of entryways

Entryways are heavy-dirt areas; much of what was on the shoes from the outside comes off at the entrance, so protect your wood flooring from dirt and grimes by placing mats in these areas.

11. Vacuum runners, rugs, and mats often

Grit can build up on rugs and carpet and make its way down to your floor eventually, so make sure to vacuum these areas often, and be sure to get underneath too.

12. Use manufacturer recommended floor repairers only

You’ll want to use manufacturer recommended floor repairers to care for scratches and dents. Use these for the same reasons we mentioned for using manufacturer recommended cleaners – all floors are different and they require different products.

13. Use Manufacturer recommended waxing and buffing procedures and products

Same goes for waxes and buffers – find out which ones are right for your specific floor.

14. Protect your floor from the sun

Natural hardwood flooring that sits in direct sun for very long usually gets washed out, so it is a good idea to place rugs over these spots, or to use blinds or sheer drapes.

Keeping your wood floor clean will keep it beautiful and ensure that you have it around for a long time – for you to enjoy for years and years to come.

The Advantages of Choosing Engineered Wood Flooring

Wood flooring has always been a very popular choice for people looking at flooring ideas. Wood flooring bears a formal, beautiful and warm appearance that is an idyllic option for all kinds of interiors. It is a simplistic option for the home and office and it can be maintained very easily. There are a number of advantages to be found when choosing engineered wood flooring specifically. For example it is much more flexible and easier to set up and maintain than many of its counter parts, due to normally being sold in easy-to-fit systems and frequently arriving pre-finished in the pack. It means no further preparation such as buffing or oiling of the wood itself needs to take place. This is a cost-effective alternative to a traditional wood floor, with limited labour costs and installation times kept to a minimum.

Engineered wood floors are comprised from layers of wood that are hard-pressed and bonded together. Each layer is stacked on the other in a cross-grain arrangement and then pressed using heat and force. Three and five-ply are the most common types of wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring offers you the classic sophistication and aesthetically pleasing attributes of solid hardwood combined with heightened permanence. It can be used in places where solid wood cannot be installed, which adds to the flexibility of its nature.

Its dexterity is due to the fact that it is both a natural and a man-made product. A tongue and groove securing system allows for the engineered hardwood flooring to be installed as a floating floor. With this method, you can just click and lock the engineered wood planks together. This means that the engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in your home very rapidly and efficiently. Also, if you are moving homes, you can simply take the hardwood boards apart and take it to your new destination for an easy install.

When selecting this type of flooring over other options, it is important to bear in mind that engineered wood flooring is suitable for use on top of increasingly common under floor heating systems. Solid wood is not suitable for use with under floor heating as many assortments of wood are considered unstable when subjected to significant temperature changes. If exposed to extreme changes in the weather for instance, natural hardwood flooring can swell and contract so much that it will buckle or warp. Engineered flooring does not adhere to the same structural adaptations as solid wood when it is exposed to extreme temperatures. This means that it is more adaptable in environmental conditions and can be installed in more areas than natural hardwood flooring.

This adds credibility to the notion that engineered wood flooring is a more versatile, flexible product for your room coupled with the fact that it is not as costly as some of its more expensive hardwood alternatives.

Will My New Wood Floor Be Cold & Noisy?

There is a misguided belief that wooden floors are cold and noisy. This idea stems from the fact that original wood floorboards in older badly insulated houses were in fact cold and draughty. However this was in the days of cellars, coal fires, gapping floorboards and solid walls.

These days you will find that wood flooring can be warm, quiet and resilient to walk on. Flooring now comes with tightly fitting tongues and grooves that do not shrink and gap. Engineered and solid wood flooring now comes tongued and grooved on all four sides of the board that make a surface that is impenetrable to draughts In the case of a solid wood floor laid directly onto joists, the 20mm thickness of tightly fitting solid oak will give far more insulation than pine.

The noise generated by the sound of foot traffic over a wood floor is greatly reduced by correct installation methods. Using a sound reducing underlay will also give good benefits and make the floor far easier to live with.

The difference in sound of a wood floor compared to a laminate floor is also a factor in deciding on a quiet floor. Laminate flooring is backed with an HDF (high density fibre board) a very stable but hard material that will exaggerate the taps of steps rather than absorb them. Real wood flooring on the other hand more readily absorbs the tapping of footsteps. The reason being that wood flooring has more natural sound insulation and when installed properly the sound is minimal.

When installing an engineered board the standard installation method is to float the floor by laying it on top of the structural sub-floor. This creates a gap between the two floors so it needs something in between to soak up the noise. This is where the underlay is used. The underlays range from a basic 1.5mm foam which can soak up. Higher up the scale are the high-density sound deadening wood floor underlays which have been proven to give high acoustic properties and Keep the noise down to an acceptable level. These underlays can reduce the sound going through the floor down to 22db, which is extremely good. Generally the price dictates the quality of the underlay and the more expensive, the higher specification.

Remember, the better underlays reduce noise levels the most. However always use an underlay that is specifically made for wood flooring. Carpet underlay for instance will be too springy for wood flooring, making the joints weaken

Wood Floor Underlay Types

Underlay Boards

These are usually about 1.20m x 0.80m and are loose laid over the floor with staggered joints in the opposite direction to the intended direction of the new wood flooring. Try to avoid the fibreboards that are made from recycled cardboard and paper. Although cheap to buy, these tend to be extremely absorbent, so a small amount of moisture will soon cause a big problem. The polystyrene or closed cell polypropylene boards such as Depron or Strata will provide better leveling, thermal and sound reducing properties as well as being waterproof.

Sound Deadening Underlay
These are between 4mm and 6mm thickness in a roll width of about 1.20m, these underlays will be extremely effective at reducing the amount of noise that travels through the floor making them ideally suited if you are installing in an apartment building. Cush-n-Wood made by Ball & Young is a good high specification product that is relatively inexpensive. Also look at Unisound underlay, or Transit Sound underlay manufactured by Unilin who make the Quick-Step ‘Uniclic’ laminate flooring.

Synthetic Foam Underlays

These are relatively cost effective to buy and fast to fit. They provide limited smoothing properties and they are therefore ineffective at reducing noise over an uneven floor. They are usually available in rolls of 15 sq mtrs – 11.5m x 1.2m or 15m x 1m. If used in conjunction with an underlay board, they are effective in reducing sound bouncing up from the floor. Good makes to look for are Barrier Plus, Treadmate, Alevoit.

Adhesive Underlay

These can be effective on a good flat sub-floor although are a little harder to install. They can be simply fitted over the sub-floor without attachment. The wood then adheres to the sticky upper side of the underlay. This can be a good method of installing a solid wood floor in apartment building. This is because no nails are used which can transfer the noise through the sub-floor. The most widely available types of adhesive underlays are Elastion, Envoy, Alustrong.

To summarise, for the best sound deadening underlay for a floating floor, get an underlay that is rated 20db or higher. For the best insulating underlay for a floating floor, try and get a thermal resistance of 0.073m2 K/W, or higher.