Hardwood flooring can last a lifetime if it is properly maintained. One thing that we tend to forget is that we are talking about wood. Wood will expand and contract with improper moisture control, discolour with the sun’s rays or areas with rugs that are never moved and will definitely scratch if something heavy falls on it, or is dragged across it.
Moisture control is a must! Humidifiers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers are all essential to maintaining proper moisture content in the wood floor. If it is not maintained, flooring will show gaps if it is dry, and will expand if there is too much humidity. You always want to keep a balance of relative humidity in the air.
Wood will change colour with time. There are factors that will speed up aging such as direct sunlight on the floor. The easiest way to prevent this is to shade your windows at the appropriate time of day, reducing the sun’s damaging rays. Covered areas will also speed up aging. This can be rectified by removing area rugs from time to time and leaving the floor exposed. This will allow flooring to breathe and will slow down the aging process.
Always protect hardwood from chair legs, furniture feet and appliances. Felt on chair legs and coasters on appliances are a must in protecting your floors.
Always clean your hardwood with products recommended by the flooring professionals. Most manufacturers will supply a floor cleaner for their product. These will always be our first recommendation. Vacuuming is also a must as this will remove any grit off the floor before the use of cleaning products. You can also damp mop your floors but remember to dry mop afterwards to clean up any excess water.
If you are not sure about a floor cleaning product, always call a professional. This could save you from ruining your floors. If a wrong product is used it could mean the need for total refinishing of your flooring.
The easiest way to determine if refinishing could be done is to answer these questions;
1. Do you see any exposed nail heads between the strips of your hardwood floors? This will be evident if you see shiny steel spots between the strip floor.
2. Are the joints of the hardwood floor cracking or lifting, exposing the tongue and groove?
3. Is the surface of the flooring worn down to the bare wood, but the rest of the floors are in good shape?
If the answer to questions 1 and 2 are yes, then most likely refinishing cannot be done as the hardwood has been sanded as far as it can be.
If the answer to question 3 is yes, then it is very likely that you can refinish your flooring. Worn down areas will sand off and a new finish will restore the life and beauty of the hardwood.
If your choice of hardwood is prefinished, then installing your own floors is possible. Any installation helps with some form of carpentry skills, but if you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, it can be done. If you choose to install unfinished flooring, sanding and finishing should be left to the professionals.
Is the hardwood going to be installed over a wood subfloor or a concrete surface? If it is going over a wood surface, then any nail or glue down type hardwood can be used. If the installation is over a concrete, then any laminate or engineered type flooring can be used.
NO. We must remember that we are talking about wood. Any heavy objects that fall on a hardwood floor or dragged across the floor will dent or scratch the surface. Most prefinished flooring has a very durable surface on them which in most cases will outlast any on-site finished product. But remember, it’s still wood.
Wood is a product of Mother Nature which will expand and contract depending on the relative humidity in the home. Stabilizing relative humidity throughout winter and summer is very important for hardwood flooring. If there is too much humidity the flooring will expand, if there is not enough, the flooring will shrink. Air conditioners, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers are a must for moisture control.
Most flooring manufacturers will carry floor cleaners for their products. These will always be our first recommendation. Vacuum cleaning and dry mopping is also recommended. Damp mopping can be done as long as a dry mop is passed afterwards to dry up any excess water.