Care and Maintenance Tips

  • Place mats inside and outside of every entrance to minimize the buildup of dirt, grit and sand on the floor.
  • Place mats in front of the kitchen sink and any kitchen work areas to protect the floor from spills, dropped objects or detergent.
  • Avoid mats with heavy rubber backing. They trap moisture and abrasive dirt.
  • Sweep or vacuum regularly so dirt, grit and sand won’t abrade the floor. Dry method cleaning helps to maintain a hardwood floor.
  • Clean the floor with a well rung mop. Do not use a wet mop that will leave excessive moisture behind. Use a floor cleaner recommended by a hardwood floor expert.
  • Be aware of how shoes can damage a hardwood floor. Heels can dent and scratch and dirt, sand and grit can travel to the floor from the soles of shoes.
  • Attach felt pads to the feet of furniture to make it easier to move and to minimize dents and scratches.
  • Protect the floor from moving boxes and from the moving of furniture. Use clean mats or blankets to move boxes and furniture and slide them across the floor.
  • Maintain humidity levels between 40%-50% to protect the floor and furniture by installing a humidifier in the furnace.
  • Use a hygrometer (relative humidity indicator) to monitor the moisture content in the air. Wood is a hygroscopic material; when exposed to air, it will respond to the moisture in the air, by expanding and contracting until it reaches an equilibrium with the temperature and humidity of the air.
  • Keep radiant heating system temperatures even. Do not raise or lower the temperature by more than 2.8 degrees C per day when turning the system off.
  • Avoid intense sunlight exposure to floors. The effect of UV light on wood is a natural process.
  • Move carpets and furniture around occasionally to prevent uneven patches from occurring over time.
  • Wipe away any spills right away and if using a wet cloth, dry the floor with paper towel immediately.

How Moisture Affects Hardwood Flooring

Wood is a natural material. It will respond to variations in humidity by either expanding or contracting. During warm and humid weather, wood will expand. During dry weather, it will contract. While this seasonal movement in a wood floor is normal, it can be reduced by installing humidity controls.

During the winter the air is dry and wood floors contract as they give up some of their moisture. Thin gaps begin to appear between the planks. In the spring when the heat is turned off and humidity levels rise, most of the gaps will close. Home -owners should be aware of these seasonal changes.

Installing a humidifier in the furnace and monitoring the air humidity levels with a humidity meter ( hygrometer) can help prevent the gaps from occurring. Humidity levels should be within a 40%-50% range.

During the summer, humidity levels can rise to 90% and wood floors will expand as they absorb moisture from the air. The exposure to high humidity can cause individual boards in a wood floor to ‘cup’. This means the edges of the boards are higher than the centers.

To avoid cupping, humidity levels within a 40%-50% range should be maintained.

Dehumidifiers, air conditioners and fans can help to maintain optimum humidity levels during humid weather.