Flooring Advice & Maintenance
Cleaning your wood floor has never been easier, with today’s advances in wood flooring finishes and stains you should enjoy the long lasting beauty of your wood floor for the life of the floor if properly maintained.
Regular maintenance requires little more than simply sweeping with a soft bristle broom and vacuuming with a soft floor attachment if your floor includes a beveled edge that could collect debris. You should also clean your floor periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional or the flooring manufacturer.
It is always recommended that you follow the flooring manufacturers maintenance guide.
To maintain the beauty of your wood floor, there are other preventive maintenance steps you can take and below we have listed the basic recommendations to care for your new floor:-
– Sweep, dust mop or vacuum the floor with the appropriate soft bristle broom, dust mop or vaccuum soft floor attachment regularly to keep it clean and to remove any dust, grit or other abrasive materials from the floor surface. Walking on dusty, dirty or abrasive materials is one of the fastest ways to damage a finish.
– Do not wet-mop a wood floor because standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discolouring residue.
– Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened clean towel and never a wet cloth.
– Always protect your floor from exposure to water, liquids and other moisture forms.
– Avoid walking on the floor with wet feet or wet footwear.
– Place doormats or rugs at entryways to capture harmful dirt and abrasive materials from being tracked onto the the floor surface from the outdoors. Shake out, wash or vacuum mats and rugs frequently. Avoid dense matting materials such as rubber backed as these may trap moisture between the mat and the floor causing damage and instead choose mats that enable airflow and that do not discolour the floor.
– Floor protector pads of soft felt or similar soft materials should be placed on the bottom of all furniture being placed on the wood floor surface. Floor protectors must be kept clean, free of grit and replaced periodically.
– Avoid sharp or pointed objects from coming into contact with the floor. Do not walk on the floor with any type of footwear which may damage the finish or cause indentations to the surface of the floor such as high heeled shoes.
– Kitchen floors experience the most traffic in a home. Place a rug in front of the sink area to prevent premature wear of the floor and remember to shake out or vacuum the rug frequently.
When moving heavy furniture or appliances, do not push, drag or slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the object completely to protect the wood flooring.
– Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
– Never use household or furniture polish, dust remover or any other abrasive cleaners such as scouring pads or steel wool. Only use flooring cleaning products recommended by the flooring manufacturer or a flooring professional.
– Do not over-wax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
– Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to keep wood movement and shrinkage to a minimum.
– Know the type of finish on the wood floor. Follow the proper maintenance procedures for the particular finish and always remember to consult with the installer or manufacturer if you have any doubts regarding the kind of floor finish.
– Sunlight – Direct sunlight can discolour any hardwood floor. Close curtains and blinds or even add sheer drapes to protect it from the suns intense UV rays.
– Even if maintained correctly, most timber floors will experience some degree of wear over a period of years. It is worth considering steps to restore your floor before damage becomes severe. Your suppliers would be able to obtain or recommend you a range of floor sanding, cleaning and lacquering products although we recommend these are used and applied by a professional floor installer.
Types, Styles & Species
Types and Styles
- Wood flooring comes in a wide variety of styles to meet the demands of today’s busy household. The following represent the main types and styles available today – factory finished, unfinished, solid wood (also known as real wood or hardwood), engineered wood, plank, strip, parquet and laminate.
- Wood flooring offers a vast array of colours to complement or enhance any decor. You can achieve unique, individual looks with custom stains and finishes and even when your floor becomes old, you can achieve an entirely new look by applying a new stain or finish on certain types of flooring.
Certain types of flooring such as solid come in varying grades. The appearance of the wood determines its grade.
All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each grade affords you a different look. The following are an example of the different types of grades available:
A Grade / First Grade / Clear Grade:
- This grade of wood has the clearest appearance with minor natural colour variations. The wood is free from defects, though it may have minor imperfections and character marks. This grade of flooring is naturally the most expensive because it is in limited supply from the raw material.
B Grade / Second Grade / Natural Grade:
- This grade is the middle grade and as such offers more character than Clear Grade but less than the Rustic Grade. The wood is almost clear, but contains infrequent natural characteristics such as knots and colour variations.
C Grade / Third Grade / Rustic Grade:
- This grade of wood is rustic in appearance allowing all wood characteristics of the species. The floor can display heavy grain markings, wider colour variations and frequent knots of varying sizes. This flooring offers the best value for money as the majority of the raw material will consist of this type of grade.
Solid Wood flooring can also be purchased in packs containing a mixture of all the above grades for example ABC mix. This provides the perfect solution for anyone unsure which grade to purchase, giving you a mixture of the best and rustic with a price in between.
- Laminate flooring comes with its own grade rating system. The AC rating system details the suitability of the flooring for residential or commercial use, which rooms best suited and how much traffic the floor is suitable to receive. For example an AC 2 rating is Residential, General Traffic, Suitable for living rooms or dining rooms. (Full details of each floors AC rating is provided by every manufacturer).
Styles of Wood Flooring:
This style of flooring is linear flooring that is usually 1 1/2, 2 1/4 or 3 1/4 inch wide, depending on the type. It creates a linear effect in a room often promoting the illusion of a larger space. There are different types of strip flooring available and the following are examples:
- This board contains 3 individual strips of flooring on the width of each individual board giving a random appearance. Engineered 3 strip flooring often offers a cheaper alternative to single strip flooring without compromising on the wear and stability of the floor as it is easier for the manufacturers to source the smaller strips of material from the raw material.
- This board contains 2 individual strips of flooring on the width of each individual board creating a more luxurious look than the 3 strip board. Once again, this style of flooring is often cheaper than single strip flooring without compromising on quality as it is easier for the manufacturers to source the smaller strips of material from the raw material.
- Single strip have one complete piece of wood on the surface, giving the floor a stunning appearance as the full beauty of the wood is on show. The strips come in varying sizes and the greater the width, the greater the cost.
- Plank flooring is also linear, however it usually comes in greater widths than that of strip flooring. Common widths for plank flooring are 3,4,5 & 6 inch.
- Parquet flooring is a series of wood flooring pieces that create a geometric design.
- Choosing the style that is best for you is an important decision and will be based on a variety of issues including your lifestyle, your decor and the area in which you live. For further assistance/help with choosing the right floor for you, check out our Flooring Types Explained section.
Factory Finished Flooring:
- The main two types of factory finished hardwood flooring are Oiled or Lacquered. Oiled Flooring – this is when the surface of the floor is finished off with usually 4-5 layers of special oil or wax which provides added protection to the floor whilst conserving the natural beauty of the floor. Lacquered Flooring – this is when the surface of the flooring is finished off with usually 4-5 layers of UV lacquer providing an even greater added protection to the floor, showcasing the natural beauty of the floor in a brighter look than that of an oiled or waxed floor.
- This is when the flooring comes in its natural wood with no finish. This type of flooring is naturally cheaper to purchase than factory finished flooring, however to preserve the floor to enjoy for years to come it is recommended that you apply one of the above finishes and this can be done after installation.
- There are today more than 50 species of wood floors, both domestic and exotic, with a vast range of colours and prices enabling you to achieve the perfect look for your home. Here are just a few of the different types of species available – White Oak, Red Oak, Maple, Birch, Walnut, Ash, Pine,Cherry, Merbau, Wenge, Iroko, bamboo and mahogany.
Benefits of Wood Floors
Character and Value:
– No other flooring offers the warmth, beauty and value of wood.
– Wood flooring provides timeless beauty which will increase in value throughout the years, enhancing the character of any room.
– According to National survey, homes with wood flooring sell faster and for higher prices than houses without wood flooring.
Ease of Maintenance:
– New technology in finishes and stains call for simply regular sweeping with a soft bristle brush or vacuuming with a soft attachment, with occasional use of a professional wood floor cleaning product.
– Using the correct cleaner for your type of flooring and finish is vitally important and therefore you should use a cleaning product recommended by your flooring manufacturer, installer or other wood flooring professional.
– Wood flooring today is more affordable than ever before.
– Wood floors maintain their value over time.
– When other flooring types such as carpet are looking tired and worn out, wood floors still look beautiful and full of timeless character.
– Certain types of wood floors can be sanded again and again to create a new look by applying a new stain or simply restoring the original finish.
– Wood is both renewable and recyclable.
– Wood floors are ecologically friendly since it is made from a natural resource.
– Some of the wood used in wood flooring is recycled from old barns, warehouses and other structures.
– There are more types and styles of wood flooring than ever before to fit your decor, whether your looking for traditional oak, exotic wenge, trendy bamboo or classic walnut.
– There are many different species, textures and finishes offering individual characteristics to enhance the decor of any room, whether your looking for brushed & oiled, UV lacquered or something more exotic like a hand scraped finish.
– Today there is a wide variety of colours available.
Hygienic and Healthy:
– Wood does not collect as much dust and other allergens compared with that of other types of flooring.
– Many leading health associations as a direct result of the above agree that wood floors are the perfect choice for a healthier home.