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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Hardwood Floors

How to Care for Wood Floors
Today's finishes while highly durable are not indestructible.  Preventative care is the key to maintaining a long-lasting, beautiful floor.  It's best to always sweep or vacuum up sand and dirt, and clean up spills as soon as possible.  Vacuum or dry mop regularly, but if heavier cleaning is needed, damp mop using a recommended hardwood floor cleaner.  If one is not available, a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water works well and requires no rinsing.  Do NOT use petroleum-based cleaners or waxes.

Utilize area rugs to help protect high traffic areas, and felt pads and chair protectors under furniture to minimize scratching.

Humidity can reek havoc on wood floors.  Wood naturally expands and contracts depending upon the amount of moisture in the air.  Excessive moisture can cause your floors to cup and buckle; whereas excessive dryness can cause them to shrink.  Dehumidifiers work well for damp basements, and air conditioners and humidifiers for main living levels depending on the season and humidity level.

If you notice your floor beginning to wear, a recoating may be all that's necessary to bring back your floor's finish provided the floor is not worn down to the bare wood.  With the proper care, your wood floors should last a long time.

Water-Base vs. Oil-Base Finish
Traditional oil-base polyurethanes darken to an amber color over time.  They take approximately 12 hours per coat to dry (relative to humidity levels), do not block UV light, and have a strong odor.  They have excellent durability and come in a variety of finishes.

Water-base finishes are clear and because they block UV light, they will not darken over the years.  They dry quickly, usually a couple of hours per coat (again relative to humidity levels), and have little to no odor associated with them.  The commercial finishes are highly durable, and they also come in a variety of finishes.

Water-base vs. oil-base is really a matter of personal preference - the look you are trying to achieve as well as your schedule and timeframe.

Is Wood the Right Flooring Choice for your Kitchen and Bathroom?
Wood is a popular choice for kitchens and is commonly used.  It's easy to clean and looks great.  Small area rugs work wonders to help prevent premature wearing of your floor in front of sinks, stoves or other areas that get a lot of wear.

Wood makes a nice choice for bathroom floors, although it's not as popular a choice as with kitchens.  Again it's easy to clean and care for; however, before choosing wood for your bathroom, there are some things you might want to consider - does your bathroom have an exhaust fan, does your toilet sweat, do you have small children who may splash water all over the floor during bath time?  Since moisture and humidity have a great affect on wood, careful consideration should be given before choosing wood for your bathroom.