Hardwood Floors


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   Amazon Wood Floors
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   Euro White Oak Wide Plank
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   LM Wood Flooring
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   FLOOR FINISHES



Q:  HOW DO I CLEAN MY WOOD FLOORS?

A: If the finish manufacturer is known, follow the manufacturers recommended cleaning procedures. However, if the manufacturer is not known…

For surface finishes, including urethanes:

  • Keep grit off the floor, dust mop or vacuum regularly and keep doormats clean. Wipe up spills promptly with a dry cloth. Use a slightly dampened cloth for sticky spills.
  • Do NOT wax a urethane finished floor. Waxing a urethane finished floor will cause the wood floor to be slippery, requiring continuous waxing as your maintenance, and any re-surfacing will require a full sanding process.
  • For general cleaning, use a generic hardwood floor cleaner.  If the luster does not return to traffic areas, the floor may require recoating.
  • Acrylic impregnated floors require a spray and buff system as recommended by the manufacturer.

For waxed floors:

  • Keep grit off the floor, dust mop or vacuum regularly and keep doormats clean. Wipe up spills promptly with a dry cloth or dry paper towel, use a slightly dampened cloth for sticky spills and buff with a dry cloth to restore luster. When the floor looks dull, buff first to see if luster can be restored before waxing. When areas of heavy use no longer respond to buffing, wax only those areas and buff the entire floor to an even luster.
  • When the whole floor needs attention, clean the floor with a solvent based wood floor cleaner and then wax. Your floor should only need to be completely rewaxed once or twice a year depending on traffic.
  • Cleaning a waxed floor with water will leave white water marks.

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Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAMINATE FLOORING AND WOOD FLOORING?

A: Laminate flooring consists of synthetic backing with a high-pressure laminate surface. Laminate is not renewable and therefore has a short usable life span.  However, some manufacturers offers wear, fade and stain warranties between 5-25 years.

Wood flooring consists of wood backing with wood wear surface or solid wood. Wood flooring with proper care will last generations. Wood floors can be refinished, re-sanded, and re-coated to look like new again.

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Q: MY FLOOR HAS CRACKS IN IT. IS THIS NORMAL?

A: Because wood is a natural product it will react to changes in its environment. The most common causes of separations are Mother Nature and dryness. The loss of moisture results in    the most frequent reason for shrinkage of individual pieces and cracks. Most cracks are seasonal – they appear in dry months, or the cold season when heating is required, and close during humid periods. This type of separation and close is considered normal. In solid 2 " wide strip oak floors, "dry time" cracks may be the width of a dime’s thickness (1/32nd"). Wider boards will have wider cracks and the reverse is true.

The cure is to minimize humidity changes by adding moisture to the air space during dry periods. A constant Relative Humidity (RH) of 50% with a temperature of 65-75 degrees (Fahrenheit) provide stability to the floor.

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Q: WHY IS MY WOOD FLOOR CUPPING?

A: Cupping, or "washboard". Across the width of one piece of the flooring material, the edges are high, the center is lower. Generally develops gradually.

CAUSE:

Moisture imbalance through the thickness is the only cause. The material was manufactured flat and was flat when installed. Job site or occupant provided moisture is greater on the bottom of the piece than on the top. Find the source of moisture and eliminate it. Common moisture sources and their corrections are:

  • Airborne Relative Humidity– dehumidify air space or– humidify air space during the heating season
  • Wet basement – ventilate, dehumidify
  • Crawlspace – total groundcover with black plastic 6 mil; vents; add exhaust fan on timer
  • Rain handling provisions – correct to drain away from house
  • Reduce excessive lawn & garden moisture, waterproof foundation
  • Repair leaks, i.e. plumbing, roof, doors
  • Don’t hose patio
  • In kitchen, the dishwasher and icemaker are notorious leakers

Expansion is also the result of site moisture and may have moved the floor tight to vertical surfaces. If so, remove flooring along the wall, or saw cut, to relieve pressure.

CURE:

Allow time. Time for the corrections to take effect – to permit the floor to improve on its own. It may become acceptable.  After stabilized, sand flat and finish.

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Q: HOW SHOULD I HANDLE AND STORE MY WOOD FLOOR PRIOR TO INSTALLATION?

A: UNLOAD IN DRY WEATHER - If possible, unload flooring in good weather -- never unload in the rain.

DELIVERY - If the atmosphere is damp, cover each truckload of flooring with a tarpaulin until it can be unloaded. Never deliver or store unprotected flooring in rain, sleet, or snow.

REGULARLY CHECK STORAGE AREA - Be sure there are no roof leaks, wall leaks, or condensation problems. Cracks in concrete block walls can permit rain or melting snow to leak on flooring.

If the building is heated, temperature should not exceed 72 degrees and controlled humidity should be provided. The use of continual dry heat may dry flooring below it’s manufactured moisture content, which may later result in buckled floors, if the flooring is delivered to the job and installed immediately, without acclimation.  Delivery to the job 3-4 days prior to installation permits acclimation and helps prevent problems later.  Flooring should not be delivered to a job until the building has been closed in, with outside windows and doors in place, and until cement work, plastering, and other materials are thoroughly dry.  In winter construction, the building should be heated prior to delivery of the flooring with heat maintained until the floor is installed and finished. Temperature not to exceed 72 degrees.

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Q: CAN YOU LAY WOOD FLOORING OVER RADIANT HEAT FLOORS?

A: The most important factor in a successful wood flooring installation over radiant heat is a dry slab  and dry subfloor.  Turn on the radiant heating system before installing the wood flooring to dry the area. If this isn't done, moisture left in the slab will enter the wood flooring as soon as the heat is turned on. The result is floors that will expand, contract, shrink, crack, cup and bow excessively. If the heat can't be turned on, then everyone involved-down to the homeowner-should understand and accept the compromises that will appear down the road.

Not all species of wood are good candidates for an installation over radiant heating. It's best to follow the manufacturer's recommendation for a species' suitability over radiant heat. When possible, choose a species that is known for its stability.  Laminate flooring is a very good choice due to its dimensional stability.  Strip flooring is a better choice than plank flooring, because narrow boards expand and contract less than wide boards do. Using narrow boards also means there are more seams in a floor to take up movement.

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Q: WHY IS MY WOOD FLOOR LOOSE AND SQUEAKY?

A: Some causes are inadequate nailing, flexing weak subfloor system or nailed over particle board type subfloor. Check sub floor thickness and joint direction. Other possibilities are insufficient or incorrect adhesive, which subjects the floor to excess moisture or excessive drying.

CURE:

Add face nails, counter-sink & putty. Strengthen subfloor from below. Inject adhesive or pull-add-relay. Lubricate squeaks with graphite, wax, baby powder. Wedge sub floor up from joints.

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Q: CAN I INSTALL A HARDWOOD FLOOR IN ANY ROOM?

A: Yes, any room except a full bath. With the variety of products available and a choice of installation options, hardwood flooring can now be installed in any room of the home. The only consideration is whether the floor will be installed on-, above- or below-grade. For example, because of potential moisture problems, solid hardwood is not recommended for installations below grade, such as in a basement. Engineered products, which are inherently dimensionally stable, are better choices for this area. All types of hardwood can be installed on- or above-grade.

Q: WILL MY FLOOR AGE OR CHANGE IN COLOR?

A: Yes. You can expect to see shade differences in your floor over time. The cause is usually from exposure to the ultra-violet rays of the sun, whether direct or indirect. This color change will be more noticeable in lighter colors, which will darken over time. In addition, certain species like Brazilian cherry, will naturally darken over the years. These changes are due to the natural characteristics of wood and are not covered by most manufacturers’ warranties.

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