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Hardwood care and maintenance

How are polyurethane or other surface finishes maintained?

Surface finishes like polyurethane require only simple care. Just dustmop, sweep, or vacuum regularly. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known. When cleaning no longer restores shine, recoat the floor with a surface finish. The frequency of recoating depends on the amount of traffic. Never wax a surface-finished floor, and never use vinyl or tile floor care products on any wood floor.

How are wax or penetrating-stain finishes maintained?

Dustmop or vacuum regularly, and use a buffer to maintain the shine. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations if known. If buffing no longer restores shine, you may need to rewax. If so, apply a cleaner and liquid wax specifically for wood floors. Apply the wax evenly, allow the floor to dry, and buff to the desired luster. Depending on traffic, a properly maintained wood floor should need waxing once or twice a year. Be careful not to over-wax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other low-traffic areas by applying wax half as often as in higher-traffic areas.

How can I clean a discolored or soiled wax finish?

If the wax finish is discolored or has dirt build-up, use a combination liquid cleaner/wax made specifically for wood flooring. Make sure it is solvent rather than water-based. Spread the liquid cleaner/wax with a cloth or fine steel wool and rub gently to remove grime and old wax. Wipe the floor clean, let it dry for about 20 minutes, and then buff.

Can cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors be used on wood floors as well?

No. Never use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. And never use self-polishing acrylic waxes on wood floors. These waxes cause wood to become slippery and dull. In this case, the floor must be sanded and refinished.

Can a wood floor be damp-mopped?

Never damp mop a waxed floor. When cleaning a surface-finished floor, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. You may generally use a dampened (near dry) mop to maintain a wood floor; however excessive moisture will cause damage. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood, and leave a discoloring residue. If water spills on a wood floor, immediately wipe it up with a clean cloth.

How can I prevent scratches on wood flooring?

Place mats and throw rugs at doorways to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt and sand. Place felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floor regularly.

What does the grade of hardwood mean?

Appearance

Other things can influence how a species looks as well, including grain and cut.

Types of Grades

The appearance of the wood determines its grade. All grades are equally strong and serviceable, but each affords you a different look.

Clear wood is a flooring product with minimal character marks that provides a uniform appearance.

Select wood is a flooring product with natural heartwood/sapwood color variations that also includes knots, streaks, etc.

Common wood (No. 1 and No. 2)has more natural characteristics such as knots and color variations than either clear or select grades, and often is chosen because of these natural features and the character they bring to a room. No. 1 Common has a varied appearance, light and dark colors, knots, streaks and wormholes. No. 2 Common is rustic in appearance and emphasizes all wood characteristics of the species.

First grade wood has a uniform appearance, natural color variations and limited character marks. It is similar to a select grade.

Second grade wood is varied in appearance and features knots and some variation in color. It is similar to a No. 1 Common grade.

Third grade wood is rustic in appearance allowing all wood characteristics of the species. It is similar to a No. 2 Common grade.

Learn more about the appearance of hardwood.

What is the difference between solid and engineered hardwood?

Types of Wood Floors

Advances in wood flooring during the past few years mean that you now can have wood flooring anywhere in your home or business. Where you want to put it, however, will determine the type of wood flooring you can use.

Unfinished and Factory Finished Wood Flooring

All wood flooring requires a finish. This is a protective coat that seals your floor against every day wear.

You can buy unfinished wood flooring, and your installer will sand the wood and apply the finish on the job site. There are several finish options available. Learn more about finish options. If you are looking for a specific color or need to match existing flooring, this option may suit your needs better.

Also available for purchase is factory-finished wood flooring, where the finish was applied at the manufacturer. This type of flooring has become as widely available as unfinished wood flooring. These floors require less time to install because the sanding and finishing process has already happened. The floors are ready to walk on immediately following the installation and have a harder surface.

Talk to your installer or retailer about what options best suit your lifestyle and needs.

Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is exactly what the name implies: a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. The thickness of solid wood flooring can vary, but generally ranges from ¾” to 5/16”. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times. Solid wood flooring can be installed above or on grade.

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.

Learn more about the types of hardwood.

How do I care for my carpet?

Three Steps for Proper Carpet Care

Carpet cleaning is just like exercise! If you get into a routine and keep it up, you will see great results and feel better for it. And understanding the right way to clean carpet will help you save time by doing it correctly the first time with products that do the job right from the start. Not only will Seal of Approval cleaning products help keep your carpet looking great, they can also help meet the warranty requirements of the carpet manufacturer. Below are three simple steps to keeping your carpet clean and looking great:

  1. Vacuum at the right frequency with a CRI-approved vacuum.
  2. Clean spots and spills quickly with products that do not damage the carpet or cause it to resoil quicker.
  3. Professionally deep clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months to remove embedded dirt and grime.

Stop Dirt at the Door

Preventing dirt and grime from getting on the carpet in the first place is a great way to start keeping it clean. The following helpful hints can stop dirt in its tracks.

  • Use mats — Outdoor and indoor mats or runners can reduce the amount of dirt that enters the house.
  • Take off your shoes — You can save wear and tear on carpet by asking everyone  to take off his or her shoes before entering your home.
  • Change your air filters — Change air filters in your heating and air-conditioning systems as recommended by the manufacturer’s directions. The more dust and particles removed by the filter, the less that fall on the carpet.

Basic Rug Care

Rugs deserve the same care as wall-to-wall carpet and, in some cases, require special attention.

  • Washing rugs — If your rug is small and the label says “machine washable,” shake the rug outside first and then put it in the washing machine at the recommended temperature. Use warm water (90 to 105 degrees) and a mild detergent. Tumble your rug dry at the lowest heat setting.
  • Beating larger rugs — If your larger rug is easy to pick up, shake it outside first; then put it over a clothesline and beat it. Next, take the rug inside and vacuum it. If the label says dry clean only, then roll it up and take it to a dry cleaner. Save time and aggravation by calling first to see if the cleaner does rug cleaning — many do not.
  • Vacuuming area rugs — Area rugs with fringe require special technique. Use gentle suction and start from the center of the carpet, vacuuming toward the fringe and being careful not to catch the strands in the beater bar. Lift the carpet edge to vacuum beneath the fringe.
  • Caring for Oriental, Turkish or Persian rugs — Clean imported rugs according to your carpet manufacturer’s specifications or bring in a professional cleaning service. Be gentle with fringe. For heirloom-type rugs, you need professionals.

Add: for further information please refer to the CRI

How do I select the right carpet?

What to Look For

Today’s carpet offers a wide variety of choices in style, fiber composition and color. Gone are the days of having to select only conventional loop pile, a carpet style consisting of yarn in uncut loops. New technology can produce multilevel loop and cut-loop patterns allowing diamond, bow, pin dot or fleur-de-lis designs that “pop out” in sculptured effects.

The texture, colors and pattern of the carpet can complement or contrast with patterns of your furniture and window treatments.  Using a solid color, textured carpet is a great way to provide interest and pizzazz, without going to a multicolor, overall pattern.  Textured styles also fit well with today’s active and casual lifestyles.

To select the best carpet for your home and lifestyle, you should consider:

Follow this link for further information:

http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/selecting-the-right-carpet-or-rug/index.cfm