FAQ -- Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Floor Care - General Do's and Don'ts

Here are some general do's and don'ts to help keep your hardwood floor looking like new:

Enemy Number 1: Water

Regardless of its finish your floor will quickly lose its luster if exposed to water. More serious damage is also possible, including warping and other problems.

DO: Wipe up any spills immediately with a soft, dry cloth, starting at the edges of the spill and working your way toward the center.

DO: Check with the manufacturer to find out if your steam cleaner is appropriate for use on your wood floor. Some models are designed for use on hardwood floors. Others are not. Remember that water is wood’s No. 1 enemy. If the finish is worn or scratched, steam could seep into your wood floors, eventually causing damage.

DON'T: Let water stand on your floor, or use wet cloths for clean up.

DON'T: Do not mop sealed-and-waxed floors, not even with a slightly damp mop.

Banish Dirt, Dust and Grit

Dirt, dust and grit can also damage your hardwood floor. Tracking dirt, dust, and grit can dull its finish and cause scratches that can only be repaired by refinishing the floor.

DO: Sweep your floors regularly. Invest in a good broom that features exploded tips to trap dust and dirt, not simply spread it around. Dust mops can also be helpful in keeping dirt, dust, and grit under control.

DO: Vacuum frequently, using a canister vacuum with special hardwood floor attachments.

DON'T: Use an upright vacuum with beater bars. They can cause dents in your floor's finish.

DON'T: Use any dust treatment unless it is approved by your floor's manufacturer. The wrong treatment can make your floor dull and cause problems the next time you refinish.

DO: Use doormats at the entrances of your home to help trap dirt and grit. Clean them regularly.

Area Rugs

DO: Use area rugs or small sections of carpet placed inside doorways and in areas like kitchens where spills are likely to occur.

DON'T: Use throw rugs with rubber or vinyl backing without checking to determine if they will affect your floor's finish. Some materials in the backing can react with certain floor finishes, discoloring or causing the finish to become dull.

DON'T: Let even damp throw or scatter rugs sit on the floor. Check the rugs frequently and make sure damp rugs are removed.

DO: Move your area carpets or throw rugs occasionally to maintain a uniform appearance in the floor's finish.


The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause discoloration over time.

The ultraviolet rays that can burn and age our skin will affect any organic material, including wood. That’s why the finest art collections are kept in rooms without windows. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will change the color of virtually any wood floor, regardless of the stain or finish. Some woods lighten when exposed to sunlight. Others, like cherry and oak, tend to darken. The newest water-based urethane finishes seem to slow color changes more effectively than oil-based urethane finishes, which tend to turn the brownish-yellow color of amber. Some finishes feature sunscreens to help block the penetration of ultraviolet rays, extending the time it will take the wood to change.

DO: Protect your floors by using sheer drapes, curtains, or blinds to limit sunlight.


DO: Place glides made of felt or some other fabric under the legs of furniture to prevent scratches. Clean the glides regularly to ensure that dust and grit do not become imbedded.

DO: Use barrel-type casters instead of ball casters to prevent dents.

DO: Use non-marking rubber casters instead of plastic or metal. Felt cushions are also a great option.

DO: Lift furniture when moving it to avoid scratches in the floor's surface.


DO: Make sure there are no exposed nails or metal heel supports on shoes that could scratch or dent the floor. A woman that weighs 120 lbs creates 2000 lbs of pressure on a single exposed nail head on the heel of her shoe!

DO: Check shoes with soles that have deep treads to ensure that any trapped dirt or gravel won't scratch or dent the floor.

DO: Be aware that high heels can dent a hardwood floor.

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Things you SHOULD NOT expect from your hardwood floor finish.....

1. A table top finish. Each piece of oak flooring sands differently depending on its grain type (plain or quartered) making it virtually impossible for a completely flat surface.

2. Dust-free finish. Since your floor is being finished in your home it is not possible to achieve a "clean room" environment. Some dust will fall onto the freshly applied top finish.

3. A monochromatic floor. Wood, as a natural product, varies from piece to piece. Remember it is not fabricated -- it is milled from a tree and will have grain and color variations consistent with the grade and species of flooring selected.

4. A floor that will not indent. In spite of the term "hardwood", Oak flooring will indent under high heel traffic (especially heels in disrepair). The finish that is applied will not prevent the dents.

5. A floor without cracks between the boards, or within the parquet pieces. Although your new floor may start tight together, as a natural product it will continue to absorb and release moisture. This natural process will cause the flooring to expand and contract from season to season -- resulting in cracks between some of the pieces in your floor. Some stain colors, such as white, will show this process more than others.

Understand that furniture, cabinetry, doors, etc., are fabricated in a factory under ideal conditions and that they contain 1-10 different pieces of wood. Your floor is fabricated in your own home and is made up of 300 to a thousand individually different pieces. And your floor is never to be duplicated -- a truly custom floor of your own !

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