Preventive Maintenance for Wood Floors:
Preventive maintenance is a term more common to industry than to a residential or office floor care, but its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Listed below are some basic rules that apply to all types of finishes.
1. Use dirt-trapping, walk-off mats at all exterior doors to help prevent dirt, grit and sand from getting inside the building. Throw rugs or small sections of carpet just inside the entrances are also helpful. Dirt and grit are any flooring's worst enemy and that includes carpets and vinyls as well as hardwoods. Certain chemicals in wood oxidize in strong light causing the wood to change color ("weather" or "age"), i.e. develop "patina". To avoid uneven appearance, move area rugs occasionally and drape or shade large west-facing windows.
2. Put fabric-faced glides on the legs of your furniture. They allow furniture to be moved easily without scuffing the floor. Clean the glides regularly since grit can become embedded in them. Some furniture may require barrel type roller casters as ball type casters may cause damage. Grey non-marking rubber casters are the best. Avoid any type of plastic caster.
3. Vacuum regularly, as often as you vacuum carpets, a brush attachment works beautifully; sweep or use a dust mop daily or as needed, but do not use a household dust treatment s this may cause your floor to become slick and dull the finish.
4. Never damp mop a wax finished wood floor. There are some finishes that can be damp mopped which will be explained under the Surface Finishes, but in all cases use minimum water because water causes deterioration of the wood itself as well as the finish.
5. Wipe up food and other spills immediately using a dampened-not wet-cloth if necessary. Then wipe the flooring dry with another cloth or paper towel.
6. Waxing is NOT required for some finishes, so be sure to read the portion of this brochure related to the type of finish used on your floors before you apply wax.
7. Keep high heels in good repair. Heels that have worn down or their protective cap, exposing the steel support rod in the heel, will dent any floor surface, even concrete. By observing these simple suggestions, you'll go a long way toward keeping your hardwood floors beautiful and making their care easier.
WHAT TYPE OF FINISH DOES YOUR FLOOR HAVE?
There are many types of finishes used on hardwood floors today and sometimes different finishes are used in different rooms, so the type of care required may vary. It is important for you to know how your floors were finished so you can apply the proper floor care product. Your builder, realtor, or flooring installer/finisher should be able to tell you what type of finish you have. It would also be helpful to know the brand names of the stain and other finishing products; if your floors were prefinished at the flooring manufacturing plant, note the name of the manufacturer. Keep that information in your household data file to help you determine the proper floor care products. What follows now are things you need to know about the various type of floor finishes. Additionally, when you have one room of wood flooring or more, it is a good idea to invest in a residential electric medium weight buffer.
A. WAX FINISH
1. Keep grit off the floor. Dust mop or vacuum regularly. Keep doormats clean.
2. Wipe up spills promptly with a dry cloth or dry paper towel. Use a slightly dampened cloth for sticky spills. Buff with a dry cloth to restore luster.
3. When the floor looks dull, buff first to see if that will restore the luster before re-waxing.
4. When areas of heavy use no longer respond to buffing, wax only those areas, and buff all the floor to an even luster.
5. When the whole floor needs attention, clean and wax with a single product and use this product for step floor also. Purchase a liquid wax and cleaner specifically for wood floors. If your wood is dark stained, select the type that also contains stain. You can be certain if the can says, "Contains Petroleum Distillate" or "Naphtha", that it is specifically for wood floors. Follow the instructions on the label, being certain to apply evenly and wipe up the excess as you go. Let dry. Buff to your desired luster. Depending upon traffic, the floor should only need to be completely rewaxed once or twice a year.
6. When all else fails, or you acquire a disaster floor, you can work with a product type called "renovator", or paint thinner (careful-it is flammable, and fine steel wool. Do not use the steel wool dry-work in a puddle of the cleaner and wipe clean as you go. After the floor is dry, apply past wax-clear, or with dark stain included, either liquid or solid. When using solid paste wax, wrap a "wad" of wax in a cloth and apply a thin even coat. The warmth of your hand and the rubbing friction melts the wax thoroughly. Buff to your luster. Maintain thereafter with instructions 1 - 5.
B. SURFACE FINISH-- This includes polyurethane finishes and Swedish finishes.
1. Keep grit off the floor. Dust mop or vacuum regularly. Keep doormats clean.
2. Wipe up spills promptly with dry cloth or dry paper towel. Use slightly dampened cloth for sticky spills.
3. For general cleaning, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 1 quart of warm water. Dip a clean cloth or sponge mop and wring nearly dry. Clean floor and wipe dry with a towel as you go.
4. Buff to restore luster.
5. When luster does not return in traffic areas such as doorways, kitchen sink areas, it may require recoating. Consult your wood contractor, or you may attempt to extend the life of your finish in worn areas with an application of compatible aerosol finish.
6. NEVER WAX a surface finish. Wax will, in most cases, be slippery and once waxed, the floor will not be able to be merely recoated to rejuvenate it, but will have to be completely sanded down to raw wood to restore the floor.
C. WHITE AND BLEACHED FLOORS-- Because of their light color, these floors, like white carpet or vinyl, are more susceptible to showing the effects of dirt and traffic than those with natural or dark stained finishes. Therefore they need-and deserve-more attention than others. Vacuum or sweep often. Wipe off liquid spills immediately. Follow the maintenance procedures recommended for the type of finish used.
Something else you'll probably notice with such finishes are tiny separations between the flooring strips during dry seasons or long heating periods. The amount of moisture in the air causes wood to expand or contract. When humidity levels are low, the flooring will contract and the separations become more prominent than at other times. The contrast of a white floor surface causes even tiny separations to appear larger. However, this is a natural characteristic of wood and will occur each heating season.
Depending on the type of finish used (factory or on-the-job), the light-tinted or "white" floors may have some shading changes over time.
D. ACRYLIC IMPREGNATED-- This finish has been combined with wood throughout the entire thickness of the wear layer. A spray and buff system requiring commercial buffers is recommended for commercial application.
Care of residential installations, where commercial buffers are not available, can be done with the manufacturer's recommended products.
E. VARNISH, SHELLAC AND LACQUER FINISHES-- These are all surface finishes that are rarely used today and do not have the moisture-resistant characteristics of Surface Finishes, so you should never damp mop Varnish, Shellac or Lacquer Finishes. All should be cleaned and waxed periodically.
FIRST AID FOR YOUR FLOORS
For surface finishes most stains can be prevented by simply wiping up the spilled liquid immediately.
For waxed finished floors, follow the procedures for cleaning and waxing describe above underSection A. WAX FINISH, thus maintaining a protective wax coating, and blot up any spilled liquid immediately.
Here are some "first aid" suggestions for common accidents when the floor has beenWAXED (THESE PROCEDURES SHOULD NEVER BE USED ON SURFACE FINISHES). When removing a stain, always begin at the outer edge and work toward the middle to prevent it from spreading.
1. Dried milk or food stains: gently rub spot with damp cloth. Rub dry and re-wax.
2. Stain caused by standing water: rub spot with #000 steel wood and re-wax.
3. Dark spots: (a) clean spot and surrounding area with #000 (or, if necessary, the coarser #00) steel wool and a wood floor cleaner or ordorless mineral spirits; (b) thoroughly wash spotted area with household vinegar and allow it to remain for three to four minutes; (c) if spot remains, sand with fine sandpaper, feathering out 3 to 4 inches into surrounding area. Stain, rewax, and polish. (Deep black stains may go through the board. In such cases the affected board is best replaced by a flooring professional.)
4. Heel marks, caster marks, etc.: rub with fine steel wool dampened with the wax you normally use, then buff to shine.
5. Ink stains: follow the same procedure as for other dark spots.
6. Animal and diaper stains: spots that are not too old may sometimes be removed in the same manner as other dark spots. If spots resist cleaning efforts, the affected flooring can be refinished. (See No. 3).
7. Mold: can usually be removed with a good cleaning fluid.
8. Chewing gum, crayon, candle wax: apply ice until the deposit is brittle enough to crumble off. Use solvent-based wax to increase effectiveness.
9. Cigarette burns: if not too deep, steel wool will often remove them. Moisten steel wool with solvent-based wax to increase effectiveness.
10. Alcohol spot: rub with solvent-based or paste wax, silver polish, boiled linseed oil, or cloth slightly dampened in ammonia. Re-wax affected area.
11. Oil and grease stains: rub on a kitchen soap having a high lye content, or saturate cotton with hydorgen peroxide and place over stain; then saturate a second layer of cotton with ammonia and place over the first. Repeat until the stain is removed.
12. Wax build-up: strip all the old wax away with odorless mineral spirits or one of the available commercial products formulated to strip old wax from hardwood. Use cloths and fine steel wool to remove all the residue before applying new wax.
CAUTION: Some of the products mentioned here a combustible and should only be used in well-ventilated areas away from heat, sparks, and open flame. Always read and follow lable instructions.
FINAL NOTE:If in doubt concerning the care of your wood floor, contact
3D Floors. We will be happy to tell you how best to proceed.