Like any floor covering, wood floors will show signs of wear over time, however a regular cleaning routine and maintenance program can significantly prolong the life of your floor.
- Sweep or vacuum regularly since built-up grit can damage the surface of the wood. Use a brush or felt type vacuum head. Be certain the wheels of the vacuum are clean so they do not damage the floor’s finish. DO NOT USE A VACUUM CLEANER WITH A BEATER BAR HEAD.
- Remove spills promptly with a soft cloth. NEVER wet-mop, damp-mop, or flood your floor with water or other products. This can severely damage the flooring.
- Use cleaners designed specifically for polyurethane finishes. DO NOT use oil soaps, liquid, or paste wax products or other household cleaners that contain lemon oil, tung oil, silicone, or ammonia because they may harm the finish of your floor.
- Keep pets’ nails trimmed and free of dirt, gravel, grease, or oil.
- Place protective pads beneath furniture legs and feet to reduce scratches and dents.
- Remove shoes with spikes or damaged heels before walking on the floor.
- Use area rugs in heavy traffic areas and pivot points (e.g., stair landings, room entries, etc.).
- Use a dolly and sheets of protective plywood when moving heavy furniture or appliances.
Information About Moisture and Humidity
How Moisture Affects A Home
Wood has the natural ability to absorb water much like a sponge. Excessive moisture and drying in wood floors can cause cracks, splits, and buckles.
After the energy crisis of the 1970s, many builders and homeowners insulated their homes so well that they now have very little air infiltration from the outside. With today’s nearly air-tight homes, central heating systems tend to dry out the interior air and the home’s contents as well. These conditions actually can cause structural damage to the house. All wood fibers at a very low moisture content will experience fractures. Lumber will crack and split.
Industry experts believe wood flooring must be manufactured at between 6% and 8% wood moisture content to be successfully employed in North American homes and businesses. Experts have also established 35% relative humidity as what they regard as a healthy level for a home’s interior. But relative humidity in many homes falls as low as 13% during winter months. That’s even drier than Death Valley.
Solution: Make an investment in a whole-house humidifier. Consult an expert in heating and air conditioning to make your home comfortable.
The “Vacation Home” Effect
A “Vacation Home Effect” usually occurs when an owner leaves home and turns off the air-conditioning system. With little or no ventilation, these homes become hot and humid causing wood flooring to expand. When the wood expands, the planks compress against each other causing the planks to “cup” or “crown”. When the air conditioning is turned back on and the humidity levels drop, the planks contract and can leave gaps between the planks. During the summer, set your thermostat no higher than 80°F, even when leaving for extended periods.