Does Your Hardwood Floor Look Old?
The hardwood floors in your business or home may have been installed just a few years ago, but may look old. If you haven't taken care of them or they have been damaged, you need to know what can you do?
First, before you do anything, check the condition of the finish and the wood to see whether they need special cleaning or more involved repair. Proper evaluation of the type of floor you have and what that condition is will be the first thing to see. If you are not sure, please call us.
What condition is your hardwood floor in?
Here are the steps to evaluate the condition of your hardwood floor and its finish properly.
Finish Condition: Is the finish worn off or is it just dirty? Is the finish dull, chipped, scraped or gouged? To test if the finish has worn off, go to a high-traffic area and pour one to two tablespoons of water onto the floor. If the water soaks in immediately and leaves a darkened spot, then the finish is really worn and water can damage the wood. If the water soaks in after a few minutes and darkens the wood only slightly, the finish is considered partially worn. If the water beads on top, the surface is still properly sealed. Next, you need to repeat this test in low- and medium-traffic areas. Now you can call us and a clearer picture of what needs to be done to refinish the floor can be evaluated. Discussion of the options and costs will be the next step in the process.
Wood Condition: If the finish is worn, then the wood may have been damaged. You need to see if there are there stains, burns, cuts, gouges, holes, cracks or warped boards? If the wood is damaged, repair or replacement may be required before you deep clean your floor or apply a maintenance coat. Our staff can help with this assessment and discuss the options and costs available to you.
What type of finish does your hardwood floor have?
Really the same care and maintenance techniques are used for all finishes considered to be in good condition, but when it comes to removing stains or restoring the finish, that is where the methods may differ. If you don't know what kind of finish your hardwood floor has, our staff can help you make that determination.If you are purchasing a home or building, you may want to ask the contractor or Realtor, or try these simple tests:
Surface Finishes: (What are they? Pre-finished floors, polyurethane, water-based urethane and catalyzed)
Most hardwood floors installed today have surface finishes, and normally are polyurethane. They are often glossy and may look like a layer of clear plastic on top of the wood. A small amount of paint remover in an inconspicuous area of the floor will cause the surface finish to bubble, the exception is (unless it is a water-based urethane, in which case there will be no reaction). Surface finishes are what shield floors from harm by forming a protective layer on top of the wood.
Penetrating Seals: (These would be acrylics, oils and waxes)
Oils and waxes almost always have a satin or matte finish by site. If you can feel the wood grain when you run your hand across the surface, it's probably a penetrating seal. A drop of paint remover will have no effect on a penetrating seal, but a wax stripper or ammonia will soften and whiten the surface. Oils and waxes penetrate the surface of the floor. That is how they protect the wood from within.
What Determines Maintenance?
- Hardwood Floors are a lifetime investment, and decisions concerning them should not be taken lightly.
- Routine maintenance of Hardwood Floors should include protecting the surface finish from moisture and heavy wear which creates scratches.
- This maintenance requires more than sweeping and vacuuming.
- Always clean your hardwood floors periodically with a professional hardwood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional and/or the manufacturer of your particular hardwood floor product. Not doing so may void any warranty or guarantee on the product.
- Hardwood floors are NOT impervious to the day to day grit, food, spills, and water and are part of daily activities.
- Preventive maintenance like area rugs, floor protectors (on ALL furniture on your hardwood floors), and routine maintenance with proper hardwood floor cleaner should always be exercised (improper products can contribute to additional wear, may VOID your warranty, and cause failure when re-coating.
Care for ALL Hardwood Floors
- Place Protective pads under ALL furniture legs touching the wood floor.
- Place walk off mats and area rugs in high traffic areas, and see that they stay dry and are cleaned underneath often.
- If you can perform routine maintenance recommended by manufacturer, usually this will include sweeping, vacuuming and/or dust mopping to remove dirt and grit. Keep this as a regularly scheduled event, and stick to it.
- Always perform this process before and after a major event that involves a high volume of traffic on the floor.
- Keep high heel shoes in good repairs , as well as keeping your pets nails trimmed on a regular basis.
What Products Do We NOT Use?
- WET mops
- Use ammonia
- Some dust cleaners (read the labels)
- Track dirt, clean immediately
- Floor cleaning products
- Wax a urethane finish - NEVER!