Importance of Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Hardwood is increasingly being used in home flooring. Hardwood floors add beauty and elegance to your home. Wood used in the flooring can be of two types – solid wood and engineered wood. Solid wood consists of planks milled from single piece of timber. Solid wood flooring is not a common type of flooring. The planks, single and long pieces of wood, are bound to warp and bend in the course of time. In the case of engineered wood, thin sized planks are sliced from timber. These planks, being thinner in size, cannot be used, as they are. They are strengthened by joining or compressing two or more planks one on top of the other. Engineered wood flooring is the most common type of flooring around the world. They are easy to lay as they come in pre-finished or laminated form.
For generations, homes across the country have been enjoying the beauty, versatility, and longevity of hardwood floors. Unfinished hardwood offers the homeowner, and home builder an endless array of options to customize their hardwood floor to meet their unique style and needs. On the surface, both options radiate the same beautiful appearance. Below the surface is where the differences lie. Let’s take a look at the how they differ:
Seattle Flooring is just that –100% solid hardwood. At ¾” thickness, solid hardwood flooring can be sanded and stained 3-4 times during its lifespan without compromising the integrity of the floor.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Method of cleaning hardwood floors differs according to the type of finish the floors take.
Surface sealed floors
Wood is sealed with a coat of polyurethane. It is an additional layer that protects the wood. Water, moisture and stains are hard to seep through this layer and hence the wood is protected from damage. It is easy to maintain this type of flooring. Keeping the dust away by dusting and sweeping will keep the floor shining for long. Removing the dust using a vacuum cleaner is the best option as vacuum cleaners gather the dust into the attached dust containers. They don’t allow the dust to escape and spread into the environment.
The thin sheet of polyurethane covering the wood can get damaged by walking with pointed footwear or by dropping sharp articles. Small dust particles or stones can cause scratches which will dull the finish. To avoid damage, keep the flooring clean and clear of all dirt and dust.
Mop the floor once or twice a week. Frequency of mopping depends on the traffic that the flooring takes. In high traffic areas like the kitchen and dining room, it may be necessary to mop the flooring more often. Use the cleaning liquid that the floor designer recommends. In case it is not available, water and soap may be used. Mix one spoon of ph-neutral liquid soap in one bucket of water. Dip the mop into the bucket and squeeze it dry. Remember water is the biggest enemy of wood. Use only a damp mop to mop the hardwood flooring. Avoid using ammonia, alkaline products or abrasive cleaners. They will cause scratches on the surface and dull the finish.
Seal and Oil treated floors
Seal and oil are used to treat the wood and they soak into the wood. They harden the wood but do not protect the wood against moisture. This type of finish requires an additional coating of wax. The floor must be dusted daily using either a sweeper or a vacuum cleaner. This type of finish does not prevent water from seeping into the wood. Hence, the flooring can not be mopped using a damp mop. If there is wax build-up in certain spots, the build-up can be removed using a stripper and waxed again.
Once every year, the flooring needs to get a fresh coating of wax. Remove the old wax using a stripper. Use a stripper that the manufacturer recommends or use any mineral spirit that is available with a hardware dealer. Wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth. After the floor is fully dry, apply a thin coat of wax. You can use either liquid wax or paste wax. Use an applicator if you are using liquid wax or a cloth if you are using paste wax. Allow the wax to dry and an additional coating of wax is recommended. An additional layer of wax would provide an added protection for your Seattle Hardwood Flooring. Finally buff the wax coating with a buffing machine or using a cloth. It gives your floor a shiny finish. Always buff in the direction of the wood grains.
Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors
In this type of finish, lacquer, shellac or varnish is used to finish the floor surface. These polishing chemicals are not as good as the other sealants, in protecting the wood from water and moisture. The same cleaning method that is used on seal and oil treated floors is used for cleaning floors with this type of finish as well.
How to distinguish the type of finish
An ordinary person cannot be expected to know what type of finish his flooring has taken. However, it’s easy to identify the same. Rub or run your finger across the floor surface. If your finger leaves a smudge, it would mean your floor has been finished with seal, oil, shellac, varnish or lacquer. If you don’t notice a smudge, it means your floor has undergone a sealed finish.