Tag: Hardwood Floor Protection

Tackling Simple Wood Floor Problems

Tackling Simple Wood Floor ProblemsThere are lots of suggestions available on the web about what to do with various problems you may have with your hardwood floor. One piece of advice that we always give to readers is that before you try something on a hardwood floor, always experiment first. If you have a left over piece of hardwood floor use this piece to try your solution on first. If you do not have an extra piece of flooring, then select a location that is out of the way and try it on that area first.  This is the best way to avoid making a small mark even worse on your floor and having everyone notice it. This is one of the cardinal rules of looking after any kind of flooring.

Tackling Simple Wood Floor Problems

The following are a few suggestions, that are untried by the writer, however they have been picked up over the years as potential solutions to hardwood floor problems.

When white water spots mar your floor’s finish? Add a small amount of mineral spirits to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rub the area in a circular motion. Keep the area well ventilated as you work. Do not overwork the area or you will remove the finish that is on your hardwood floor. If your steel wool is not fine enough, you could damage your floor and you may see scratches across the wood. Take extra care when performing this activity.

Heel marks that won’t wipe off? Adding a small amount of wax to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rubbing the area in a circular motion will often remove the heel mark. However once again, if you over do it, you can remove the finish and leave a dull area on your hardwood floor.

Food stains leaving a mark on the floor? Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, rub dry and wax. When removing any stain (from wood or carpet), always work from the outside edge in toward the center.

Secrets to Preserving Hardwood Floors: 3 Must-Follow Rules

To extend the life of your hardwood floor regardless of what the finish is, use  these three simple rules:

  • Sweep or vacuum often. Ground-in dirt destroys wood floors. To prevent buildup, clean floors once or twice a day in high-traffic areas, like the kitchen and dining room. In fact avoid placing hardwood flooring in the kitchen. It is a very high traffic area and pron to food spills.
  • No time? Cut down on sweeping time by placing a doormat at each entrance to your home. Take your shoes off and leave them at the doormat. Vacuum this area often. (Some estimates suggest that doormats eliminate 80 percent of the dirt tracked inside!)
  • Wipe up mud and spills immediately. Make sure that you clean all spills, including food that can leave marks. Wood is easily damaged by water.
  • Choose carpeting wisely. While carpets will protect the floor there are a couple of issues. The floor surrounding the throw rug or carpet will bleach over time from the sun.  If you aim to protect your wood floor with a rug, remember that rug dyes have been known to stain floors, and plastic backings may affect the wood finish.  Plastic or rubber backings may stick to the floor and be very difficult to remove without damaging the floor. Ask an expert from the  carpet store to recommend an appropriate  underpad as a safeguard.

Our next post will be about removing dents and marks in your hardwood floors. If you found this post helpful and wish to leave a comment please do so. We also appreciate any suggestions that will also help our readers as well. If you are an expert please feel free to comment.

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Cleaning Hardwood floors

Cleaning Hardwood floorsYou invested thousands into your new hardwood floors and now it is time to clean them. Or perhaps you purchased an older home with existing hardwood floors and you are wondering what is the best way to clean them.  In fact it is very important that you use the right materials on your floors to ensure long life of your floors as well as continuing to make them look great. So before you begin cleaning your floors, stop for a second and look at the wood finish on your floors to assess what kind it is. Depending on the finish you may need to choose a different style of cleaner to clean them. the following are the general types of hardwood floors:

  • Surface-sealed floors
  • Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors
  • Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and
  • Untreated floors

Cleaning Hardwood floors

Surface-sealed floors :

this is the most common type of floor covering for hardwood floors. These floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polycyclic materials and are stain and water damage resistant. They are the easiest to care for since the floor is sealed. All you need to do is sweep the floor to remove all grit and dust etc and then mop the floor. Be careful to avoid leaving excess amounts of water on any floor including this one even though it is water resistant.

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors:

Some floors have a penetrating oil finish to them to bring out the grain in the wood. This penetrating oil really does not provide any protection. All it does is penetrate the wood and enhance the grain of the wood to provide an aesthetically pleasing look to it. Many people will protect this type of floor with liquid or paste wax.

Lacquered, varnished, shellacked  floors:

Varnishes and shellacked finishes are really surface finishes, however they are unable to protect the floor from water and other liquids in the same manner as urethane etc.  As a result they must be treated with care and in the same way you would treat a floor that has been treated with penetrating oil floors.

Untreated floors:

Floors that are still bare wood have no protection in them at all and will absorb water and other liquids very quickly. It is important to avoid spilling any water on these floors let alone cleaning them with soap and water.

Many people find it difficult to tell what kind of floor they have unless they purchased it themselves.  Older homes that people move into may have hardwood floors but unless the original owners are available to tell you what type of floor it is, you will have to discover the type of floor finish yourself. One way to tell what type of hardwood floor you have is to rub your finger across the floor. If no surface smudge appears then it is surface sealed. If there is a smudge, then it has been treated with  an oil finish or shellac type of finish. Of course floors that are just bare wood will also not show a smudge since there is no finish on these floors at all.

Heavily warn floors also have to be given careful consideration. Floor areas in high traffic paths may be warn to the extent that the bare wood is showing through the surface seal. Treat these areas in the same manner as you wood with a bare floor with no finish at all.

Our next post will discuss specifics about how to clean each type of floor mentioned in this post. The title will be “Cleaning Surface Sealed and non Surface Sealed Floors”. If you found this post helpful or would like to contribute a comment, please do so. any comments that are constructive and helpful to our readers will be posted. We will even approve your link if it is a good comment that our readers will find helpful.


5 Steps To Protect Your Hardwood Floors From Disaster

Protect Your Hardwood Floors From DisasterHardwood floors have been the preferred choice for many home owners over the past 50 years and even longer. For a time carpeting and parkay flooring or laminates provided a lot of competition. However hardwood flooring remains the top choice of many home owners. There can be a considerable investment in flooring. Most people will want to protect your hardwood floors so that they remain pristine and last many years. After all you spent thousands of dollars installing hardwood floors in your home, so why not make it last even if it is just for resale value.

Protect Your Hardwood Floors

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your floor and they are all easy common sense things to do. Here they are.

  • Avoid using Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • Use a Dry Swiffer and not a Wet Swiffer
  • Protect your Floor with Area Rugs In High Traffic Areas
  • Use Floor Mats in areas which might get Wet
  • Use Floor Pads to Move Furniture

Bonus

  • Use Felt Pads to Support all Furniture

Avoid using Murphy’s Oil Soap

Murphy’s oil soap is great for furniture , however if you use it on hardwood flooring it will gradually build up a coating or residue on your floors leaving them looking dull and lifeless. Keep your floors looking shiny and new by using a dry swiffer and vacuum often.

Use a Dry Swiffer and not a Wet Swiffer

Wet Swiffers have chemicals in them which interact with the coating on your hardwood floors. Over time the urethane will break down and not only no longer protect your floor, it will look dull and lifeless as well. Using a dry swiffer is far better as well as vacuuming often.  Be careful that your vacuum does not mark your floor also as you drag it across the floor to get at various areas of your home.

Protect your Hardwood Floors with Area Rugs In High Traffic Areas

High traffic areas such as hallways, entrances to rooms and entrances from outdoors to the inside will take their toll on your hardwood floors. You can protect these areas simply by placing area rugs on the floors in these spots. Entrances are particularly bad for hardwood floors. Grit and sometimes water will be tracked in and will quickly damage your floor if not protected by a rug or mat of some kind.

Use Floor Mats in areas which might get Wet

Kitchens and entrance areas are particularly bad for water to get on your floors. You can protect your floor with mats or area rugs. Many people will avoid using hardwood in these areas for that reason alone. But if you do have hardwood in your entrance area for example, you can prolong the life of the floor for many years by protecting it with a mat for people to step on when they come in from outside. Same thing in the kitchen around the sink or the stove. These are typical areas were water and other liquids are spilled. Protect these areas with  small mats that compliment your decor.

Use Floor Pads to Move Furniture

Moving furniture is always tricky. The best plan is to carry it so that it does not touch the floor. If you cannot carry it, use felt pads or a clean rug to slide it along the floor. Make sure your floor is clean and void of all grit or packaging material. Even small pieces of grit or staples from the packaging can dig gouges into the floor leaving unsightly marks.

We added a bonus step to protecting your floor!

Use Felt Pads to Support all Furniture

All furniture supported by some kind of foot, is going to leave a mark over time on your floor. the best way to protect your floor is to place felt pads under the feet of all chairs, couches and tables so that they will not mark your floor. these pads can be purchased in various sizes and some are also adhesive so that they will stick to the bottom of a chair when you move the chair around.

All of these 5 steps including the 6th bonus step are easy to implement and will protect your floors for many years, while maintaining your investment as well as the resale value of your home. They are inexpensive and easy to add. Also the various area rugs you put in place will add to the decor of your home as well!

 

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The Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

There are literally hundreds of vacuums available on the market with claims that they can deal with carpets, hardwood floors, tile and more.  They range in price from $70 to many hundreds of dollars. Many people are wondering what the best vacuum for hardwood floors is and just how to about picking a vacuum especially when you have hardwood floors and are worried about scratching your brand new hardwood floor.

Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

So how do you go about selecting the best vacuum of your home and for your hardwood floors? Like anything else it means establishing a set of criteria and evaluating each one based on those criteria. Even with all of that it is a good idea to also talk to your friends and family to get their input on what works for them, what they like and do not like about their vacuum.

This will help you to form your own opinion on what works for you and what will satisfy you. The vacuum that your friends have may not be the right one for you based on your home and your personal likes and dislikes. So what criteria should you consider ? Here is our list with some thoughts behind each item. Decide for yourself what is important for you.

Criteria for Picking a Vacuum

Price – There are expensive and cheap vacuums. Your budget can only afford so much. It is good idea to establish your limit first and then work with this guideline as you are reviewing various vacuums.

Central or Non Central – This also is a major decision point and will take you between two major families of vacuums. They each have their advantages. Central vacuums can be vented outside which is important for anyone with allergies. They have a long hose which is easy to maneuver around furniture and rooms. Non central vacuums or traditional vacuums can be moved around easily in the home, outside and can move with you should you decide to change homes.

Attachments – Assess what attachments are included with the vacuum and make sure that there is a non scratch attachment for hardwood floors.

Wheels – If you select the personal vacuum or shall we say the non central vacuum type, check out the wheels to ensure that they are non scratch so that you will not damage your floors as you move it around the floor.

Hose – central vacuums have a long hose which allows you to reach all of the locations in your home from several plugin hose bibs. You will want to cover your vacuum hose with a cloth covering to avoid damaging furniture and corners of walls as you drag it around the house.

Storage – This can be a big issue for many people with limited storage area in an apartment for example. Stand up vacuums or wand type vacuums are great since they can easily be stored in a closet with other items.

Power Supply – These wand style vacuums also come with battery powered fans, so you do not have to be concerned about plugging in a power chord. They do have a rechargeable battery which does need to be charged and has a limited life span. This can be an issue for many consumers.

Features – there are probably 10 or 20 other features that you may feel that are important to you. These are really personal likes and dislikes that we all have. We suggest that you list and prioritize them based on your own set of priorities. The main one of course is the floor tool for hardwood floors. Make sure that there is no opportunity for your floor to be scratched in any way.

In our next post we are going to review the wand style vacuum which is portrayed above. We feel that it can be a really good vacuum for people living in apartments who need a small vacuum to clean up small messes quickly and easily.


How Do I Protect my Hardwood Floor

How Do I Protect my Hardwood FloorYou have just installed your brand new hardwood floor and it looks beautiful. You painted the walls, the trim and even replaced the window coverings. It is perfect, no scratches or blemishes and there is no fading from the sun or marks from cleaners or imprints from furniture and on. You might be thinking that you should just not use them, keep them pristine. Well they are going to get some marks and scratches, it cannot be helped, but you can limit the damage and get many years to of your floor before re-sanding is required. There are simple things you can do without finding it difficult or cramping your lifestyle and enjoyment of your home. It is relatively easy to do and becomes habit forming which will keep your floors looking great for many years.

How Do I Protect my Hardwood Floor – Tips

First remember that you have invested a lot of money and hardwood floors are a lifetime investment if looked after properly and they add a lot of value to your home as well. Most buyers are now looking for hardwood floor upgrades in their homes when they purchase them. Buyers are just not interested in doing their own upgrades preferring to purchase homes that are already with hardwood flooring that compliments the home. Buyers also want this floor to look pristine, shiny and great looking so that it will complement their furniture.

Hardwood floors are also better for people with allergies. You may need to vacuum more often, but at least the dust is picked up instead of sitting in the carpet to be spread into the air each time you walk across it. If you do have allergies purchase a central vacuum with the exhaust of the vacuum exiting outside into your garage area or outside the home. This will reduce the dust significantly.

If you want to keep your floors looking great for a life time,  then its very important that you keep them clean and scratch free.
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Protecting Your Hardwood Floors

Protecting Your Hardwood FloorsYou have just moved in to a new home with hardwood floors or perhaps just installed a new hardwood floor. You are still recovering from the invoice and paying for this floor that makes you home look great and even increases the value of the home. Now is the time to decide that you are going to protect this investment and make sure that it stays looking great for a long time! All it takes is a few simple steps to maintain your floor, protect your investment and keep your home looking great for many years.

Protecting Your Hardwood Floors

Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Murphy’s oil works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. Your floors should already be sealed and varithaned. Adding Murphy’s oil will not enhance the already great look your floor has. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

Do not use a Wet Swiffer.

A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a traditional tub vacuum cleaner. Central vacuum are better in that you can vacuum with a head that is suitable for hardwood floors. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless. A full sanding and re-coating of your floor will be required to bring back its original luster.

Place area rugs anywhere that are high traffic areas.

Prime high traffic areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. Also hallways, in front of the couch and on the stairs are all high traffic areas. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water spills. A small pool of water can quickly destroy your floor.

Use floor mats at entrance locations.

These are  spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. Add a shoe mat if there is moisture on your shoes as well to collect any water and grit that may be dragged in with your shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching of the hardwood.

Use felt pads when moving furniture.

Always lift the furniture off the ground to move it  instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If the furniture is too heavy and you must use felt pads make sure that they are free of any debris that could scratch the floor. The smallest stones or pieces of grit can scratch and gauge your floor leaving a lasting mark.

If you know of other approaches to protecting your floors please leave us a comment. We assume that everyone removes their shoes before entering their home, however not everyone subscribes to this habit.  Each time you enter your home you track in small particles of grit that will act as sandpaper on your floor each time you walk across it. This will quickly scratch your floors and remove the shine from them. If you insist on wearing your shoes, vacuum often. You should vacuum often to protect your floors especially near entrance areas and high traffic areas. You might even put down area rugs to protect your floors even further.


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