How do I maintain my hardwood flooring?

In order to maximize the durability and beauty of your hardwood flooring, we recommend that you purchase our Floor Care and Maintenance Kit, and that you read, understand and follow the instructions.

What can I do to remove scratches in my wood floor?

This really depends on the type of wood floor you have, its surface finish and how deep the scratches are in the top layer. For minor scratches in a urethane finish in most cases we are able to order a touch-up kit for you. Be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended finish products and test first by applying a small amount in an out of the way area. For deep scratches you will probably have to have a professional do a screen and recoat. This is where they use special sanding screens to lightly abrade the floor’s finish to help the new urethane bond better to the existing finish. With some wood floors you may be able to just replace the damaged boards. It is best to leave the screen and recoat, or board replacement to a professional flooring installer, or refinisher.

How do we stop a wood floor from gapping?

Gapping in solid hardwood floors cannot be stopped completely. Wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity. Using a humidifier during the heating months may help reduce the amount of gapping in solid wood floors. Also, some wood species may expand and contract more or less than others. Engineered wood floors are much more dimensionally stable than solid wood floors and will show little or no gaps between planks.

How can I better protect my floor from early finish wear?

It is a good idea to implement a regular cleaning routine, as well as the use of throw rugs and felt floor protectors on bottoms / legs of furniture.

How do I get my hardwood floor to look like it did when it was new?

There are products that can be applied to prefinished urethane floors that will renew the floor back to its original appearance. Use only manufacturer recommended products.

How do I clean my laminate flooring?

There are several simple steps that you can take to keep your laminate flooring clean and to ensure that you get many years of service from it. Simply dust mop or vacuum with a soft brush or wood floor accessory to keep your laminate floor clean from dust, dirt or grit. Then use a cleaning pad and recommended cleaning solution (closely following the manufacturer’s instructions). NEVER use a regular wet mop with soap and water.

How do I care for and maintain my hardwood or laminate floors?

While laminate floors are highly resistant to stains and abrasions, they are not indestructible. In order to maximize the durability and beauty of your laminate flooring, we recommend the following practices as part of your floor’s normal care and maintenance:

  • Place a doormat outside the exterior entrances to collect excess moisture, sand, grit and other potentially damaging substances from being tracked onto your floor.
  • Avoid sharp or pointed objects with concentrated weight such as high heels.
  • Use protective felt pads under furniture legs or wide castors under appliance levellers.
  • Do not slide furniture or appliances across your floor. If using a wheeled dolly to move furniture or appliances, place a clean sheet of smooth plywood or other protective layer over your floor.
  • Rearrange furniture occasionally for increased indentation resistance.
  • Do not treat or seal your laminate floor panels after they are installed.
  • Never sand, varnish, or refinish your laminate flooring surfaces.

My hardwood floor is several years old and it looks dull. What can I do to get the shine back?

There are a number of cleaners on the market, find in supermarkets that say they are for hardwood floors. Your safest approach is to purchase a cleaner created by hardwood flooring manufacturers or floor finish manufacturers. This can be purchased from local hardwood flooring retailers such as us. However, it is very important that you follow the instructions on the container.

Should I use oil based cleaner?

If an oil based cleaner is used on polyurethane finished floors, it leaves an oily residue on the surface which can not only make cleaning the floor more difficult, but after a period of time, when the floor is showing signs of wear and needs to be buffed and recoated, this residue can present adhesion problems. When cleaning any hardwood floor, or solid wood furniture, minimal water should be used. In other words, wipe with a dampened, not wet cloth. Adding a capful of vinegar can help and is suggested by the National Wood Flooring Association. However, floor finish manufacturers dispute this, believing the vinegar is too acidic and can break down the finish eventually. The absolutely simple and safe way to clean any sort of wood that is finished with a urethane is to use polyurethane cleaners, which are manufactured by both hardwood flooring manufacturers and manufacturers of polyurethane.

Dirt and imperfections are showing on my floor. What options do I have?

Shiny and dark is the combination that will reveal every imperfection. Dark shows all dust. Shiny shows all imperfections. Have the floor buffed with a polisher and very fine screen (at least 180 grit) and have satin or semi gloss varnish applied.

There are some uneven spots in my sub-floor. Is there any kind of levelling compound which will not break when nailing the strips?

Depending on how severe the unevenness is in your sub-floor, it is suggested that you install 3/8″ spruce plywood over existing pine sub-floors, screwed to the joists. While this will not totally correct the unevenness problem, it gives you a smooth surface to install the floor over. If the problem is severe enough, then the best thing to do is to remove the sub-floor where needed. Either shim or shave joists as needed and install the sub-floor back in place. It is still a good idea to install new plywood over the existing planking as it gives a better working surface.

One of our large plants dripped onto the oak floor, leaving a water stain. How can I remove this?

The mark will have to be sanded or scraped out if possible, and new finish applied. If the stain won’t come out, you may need to change the affected boards.

Something heavy was dragged across our beautiful oak floor and left a mark. Could you recommend a simple method of fixing this?

It depends on the extent of the damage. If it is a scuff (minor scratch), confined to a couple of boards, you may get lucky and be able to just lightly abrade or sand with a fine abrasive those boards only, and brush a coat of the same finish on if your floor was “site” finished. If it is larger, you may find it just as well to have the entire room buffed and re coated. If there is an actual impression (dent) in the wood, there may be no other solution but to sand the floor to get rid of it. If that is the case, try the lesser extreme first. Buff and re-coat the floor with satin polyurethane, since the low shine will work to hide imperfections. If your floor is of the “pre-finished” variety, you may get the effected boards replaced or you get the entire floor sanded and site finished, which is never as durable as the finish done by a factory.

What are the benefits of hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular types of residential flooring. The following are a few reasons why you should choose a hardwood floor:

  • Solid hardwood offers a variety of grain patterns, natural color variations, and the beauty of a natural material.
  • Hardwood floors are easy to clean.
  • Hardwood floors are ideal for allergy sufferers as they do not promote dust or harbour dust mites.
  • Hardwood flooring is the longest lasting. Although there is a 25-year structural warranty on most hardwood floors, many last for decades longer.
    • An available cleaning solution and flat mop should be used as per the instructions on the cleaning product.
    • Blot up spills or water from wet feet or footwear immediately with a clean, dry cloth, sponge, or paper towel. Do not allow excess liquid to remain on the surface of your laminate floor.
    • Do not use soap-based detergents, abrasive cleaners, or combined “clean and shine” products.
    • Do not use steel wool or other scouring pads that may scratch laminate panels.
    • Do not wax or polish your laminate flooring.
    • Do not steam clean or use chemicals that may damage the laminate flooring surface.
    • For stubborn spots or stains on laminate flooring use acetone (nail polish remover) on stubborn substances such as tar, asphalt, paint, or oil then, wipe clean with a damp cloth.

How does moisture affect my hardwood flooring?

Any significant CHANGE in the moisture content of the hardwood will have adverse effects on your floor. Excessive moisture can lead to numerous changes, such as “cupping”, “buckling” or cracking. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not use water to clean your floors and that you maintain a constant relative humidity level throughout all of the seasons.

Can we install hardwood flooring in the basement?

No. It is highly recommended that you do not install solid hardwood flooring below grade. However, it is possible to install laminate flooring or engineered hardwood floors in these situations.

What are some potential moisture problems I should look out for?

Cupping and crowning are caused when water is trapped between the wood floor and the sub-floor. When this imbalance in moisture occurs, it is essential that the boards dry evenly; if not, cupping or crowning can appear.

Can I install a solid wood floor over a concrete slab?

It is not recommended to install solid wood flooring directly over a concrete slab. Although this is the general rule, there have been successful installations of solid wood flooring installed over dry, concrete slabs by glue down application. If you decide to take the chance, be sure that the manufacturer allows for that specific method of installation to prevent voiding the warranty.
Please consult one of our associates for our recommendations.

Is there a type of wood floor that I can install over a concrete slab?

With the improvements in hardwood floor manufacturing, most engineered and floating hardwood veneer floors can be used over a concrete slab. Engineered planks and strip wood floors can be glued directly to a clean, dry, well-cured concrete slab. Some engineered wood floors can be glued at the tongue and grooves while others are “clicked” together and then allowed to be floated over a special padding that is laid over the concrete slab.
Note: New concrete slabs need to be fully cured for at least 60 days. All wood planks should be acclimated for 24-48 hours prior to installation. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures if you plan on doing the installation yourself.

Can we install a hardwood floor over an existing vinyl floor?

Yes. If the vinyl floor is thin and well secured to the sub-floor you may be able to float a wood floor over it. In some situations you may be able to nail/staple a wood floor over it also. If the wood sub-floor is the correct type and adequate thickness, you may be able to nail a solid wood floor over the top. Be sure to get the manufacturer’s installation procedures for going over an existing vinyl floor and be sure to check if this type of installation is warranted by the manufacturer.

Can I install a hardwood floor if I have pets?

Although many homeowners have pets, hardwood flooring is not designed for the abuse a dog or cat can cause on a floor. Urine may permanently discolour the finish of the wood floor and large dogs’ claws will probably leave scratches in the finish. The type of wood floor you buy, the color and the finish will also be factors in how much punishment the floor’s finish can withstand before showing scratches and excessive wear. You may want to consider a higher quality laminate floor. They are very good imitations of real hardwood, but they have a more durable surface, able to withstand a lot more punishment than solid or engineered hardwood floors.

What is the best way to clean my floors?

The best way to maintain your floor is to sweep, dust mop and/or vacuum the floors regularly. You may use our cleaning kit from time to time to remove more stubborn stains. Always read and follow the instructions on the label of the cleaning solution.

How do I handle stubborn stains?

For stubborn stains, apply our cleaner available in a kit or just the cleaning solution alone and lightly scrub the desired area. Repeat if necessary. Do not use wax based cleaners.

Can I apply a wax finish to my prefinished floors?

No. You should never apply wax finish to a prefinished floor.

Can I use throw rugs on my hardwood floor?

Before using any throw rugs on your wood floor you should know the type of finish you have on the floor. All rugs should be non-staining, meaning the coloured dyes will not bleed. Generally in the presence of moisture, some dyes used in rugs may bleed through onto your floor and discolour the wood floors surface. Also, be sure the rug does not have a rough backing material that may scratch the surface of the floor. We strongly recommend that in ALL cases you purchase an underlay for your rug. This will also prevent it from sliding. Clean dirt and debris from under the rug regularly. The shading of both stained and naturally finished hardwood will change over time because of exposure to ultra-violet light. To prevent possible shading of the wood underneath the rug, if possible, move it occasionally.

What should I use under furniture legs?

Most flooring stores carry the recommended felt pads for using under chair legs and other furniture. The felt pads come in various sizes. Some pads just stick on the bottom of the legs and others need to be nailed on. Never hit the pads directly with a hammer. Follow the directions provided with the pads. Check and clean the pads often to prevent debris, dirt and small particles from being trapped in the pad, which may cause scratches in the wood floor’s finish.

Can solid wood floors be glued down?

Solid wood flooring can expand and contract more than engineered boards; however, with the advent of some new types of adhesives, some manufacturers now allow their solid hardwood flooring products to be glued down.

Can I have engineered boards fitted over other floor coverings such as floor tiles or vinyl?

Yes, so long as the floor is above grade, well secured, flat, hard surface and is free from dampness and/or moisture. We do not recommend that you have any wood flooring installed over carpet.

Will the colour of the floor change over time?

Most floors will change in colour over a period of time, but to what extent depends largely on the species of wood and where it is situated. Some woods lighten slightly when exposed to light and others darken. If your floor is in a room where there is a lot of sunlight i.e. a solarium, then the colour change may be more noticeable.

Can old hardwood floors be repaired?

It is possible depending on the extent of the damage and other factors.

My floor has a crack in it – is that normal?

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 is 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.

Are hardwood or laminate floors suitable in kitchens and bathrooms?

Most engineered wood species and all laminate floors are suitable to be put in areas that may be subject to excess moisture, but it is not recommended to use solid wood flooring in areas where there is high humidity or excessive moisture. It is not advisable to leave wet bath mats and towels on the floor, and spillages should be mopped up immediately. We advise against putting Beech in these areas as this species of wood is very sensitive to moisture.

How do I acclimate my hardwood floor?

If at all possible, let the flooring acclimate for 5 to7 days, with boxes opened and laid flat in the room where the flooring is to be installed. Obviously, you try to maintain the same constant relative humidity level before and during the installation as that which you are likely to have after the installation. If you are in an area with either high or inadequate humidity levels, you need to install some humidity controls like a humidifier or dehumidifier.

Can I expect my floor to have colour variations?

Yes, very much so. The particular species you choose will have a lot to do with the extent of the variation. Hardwood flooring is a natural product. Therefore, you should expect there to be natural color variations in the wood. Although lower grades of flooring will have a larger number of character blemishes, you can expect color variations in all grades.

Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?

Both choices have their advantages. If you are trying to match to an existing hardwood floor or furniture, you may want to go with an unfinished floor so it can be stained to match (be aware, an exact match cannot be guaranteed). However, this will mean finishing will be done onsite, resulting in more noise, dust and delays in using the room. Prefinished floors, on the other hand, are already finished with 7 or more coats of finish. This means you will get the convenience of not having to shut down the room for any more than a day.

What are laminate floors and how are they made?

Laminate flooring is versatile, durable, attractive flooring with the appearance of a hardwood floor. Nowadays, they are available in other looks such as ceramic and vinyl. Although laminate flooring may look like wood flooring, there is actually no solid wood used in its construction. Laminate floors are made up of several materials bonded together under high pressure. Most laminate flooring consists of a moisture resistant layer under a layer of HDF (high density fiberboard). This is topped with a high resolution, photographic image of natural wood flooring. It is then finished with an extremely hard, clear coating made from special resin-coated cellulose to protect it. Laminate flooring is perfect for anyone wanting a durable floor for a fraction of the price and installation time of a hardwood floor, but with the attractiveness of real hardwood. This construction also makes laminate flooring more environment-friendly as it uses less wood in its construction and makes more efficient use of the wood fibre that is used.

How do laminate flooring panels lock together?

There are many types of edge joining systems used to connect laminate flooring panels together. Some laminate flooring connections snap together by hand while others require a light tap with a mallet and a tapping block. Still others use a combination of a “snap” click edge and a “bang” or “tap” click at the end of the panels. While most of the various systems work well to secure your laminate floor, it is important to read your laminate flooring installation instructions carefully. Familiarize yourself with how your flooring locks together before starting your installation. Some proven and popular laminate floor joining systems are: Uniclic, Clic2Clic, and BerryLOC

Where can I install laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is an extremely versatile flooring product. It can be installed in virtually any room of your home, above or below ground, over wood or concrete. Though it can be done, there are several locations that are not recommended for laminate flooring. Because laminate flooring is a wood flooring product it is not recommended that laminates be installed in wet locations such as bathrooms, washrooms, laundry rooms, mud rooms, saunas, enclosed porches or verandas, or anywhere that may require wet-mopping. Extended exposure to moisture of this type may cause the core of your laminate flooring to warp or swell. In some instances, with special installation procedures, it is possible to install laminate floors in bathrooms where water will not stand on the floor for any length of time. For bathroom installations, it is recommended you apply a light bead of glue to the tongue on the planks to be used in the areas subject to spills. Also, ensure that all spills are mopped up and dried promptly.

What are the advantages of laminate flooring over those of solid hardwood flooring?

One obvious advantage is that of price; laminate flooring is typically half (or less than half) the cost of traditional hardwood flooring. Additionally, laminate flooring is designed to be easy to install and is generally a good choice for most do-it-yourselfers, where solid hardwood requires a specific level of expertise. Installing laminate doesn’t involve nails. Laminate flooring can therefore be installed fairly quickly and inexpensively. Laminate flooring is designed to be scratch-resistant and fade resistant, two areas where solid hardwood flooring is known to be more vulnerable.

How do I care for my laminate flooring? I am in a condo and want to put in an engineered hardwood floor. There is some concern about noise sound insulation. What is the best product to use?

Fortunately, hardwood manufacturers have kept pace with demand to provide appropriate products for installation in condominiums, with their concrete “sub floors”. There are a number of products to choose from that can be used in harmony with your chosen engineered flooring. Please ask any one of our associates for recommendations.