Floorcare & Maintenance
Keep your hardwood floors in top condition with these tips.
 
What To Expect
What to expect before, during & after your hardwood installation.
 
Important Considerations
Steps to take in preparing for your hardwood refinishing.
 
How Hard is Hardwood?
See how your hardwood choice measures up on the Janka scale.
 
The History of Hardwoods
An explanation of hardwood use throughout history.
 
Hardwood Species
Images of popular hardwood floor species.
 
The Character of Wood
Some defining characteristics that set hardwood apart.
 
Grades of Hardwood
A different grade for any floor application: home or business.
 
Why Use Hardwoods?
Click on the link for some very convincing reasons why.
 
Conservation Information
Information on preserving our hardwoods for the future.
 
 
Shopping for a hardwood floor? Be sure to ask yourself these questions as you consider all your options. Below is a priority checklist for family-friendly hardwood floors.
Are kids and pets a factor?
With today’s tough polyurethane finishes, hardwood floors stand up to the wear and tear of active households – even in the kitchen. Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and keep clean: simply wipe up any spills; sweep and vacuum regularly.
 
Will your hardwood floor take more abuse than a professional basketball court?
A customer once asked me if an oak or maple floor would be hard enough to handle all the activity in her busy home. Let’s put it into perspective: pro basketball is played on maple floors. Freight trains run on oak rail ties. Does your floor have to stand up to more abuse than that? Oak, maple and many other American hardwood floors are more than hard enough for even the most chaotic households.
 

Is sustainability a priority?

It’s a simple thing: hardwood introduces a definite stature and an undeniable charm to any room and becomes more valuable as time goes by.
 
Do you want a signature look, a floor like no other?
The U.S. has the most diverse temperate hardwood forests in the world, with more variety in hardwood species. Oak, ash, alder, maple, cherry, hickory and poplar are just a few of the hardwoods found in American forests, and some of them grow nowhere else but here.
 
Each American hardwood has distinctive characteristics making each hardwood floor a one-of-a-kind. To further personalize your hardwood floor, consider inlays, or staining, dying, painting or stenciling to create any effect you choose.
 
Does it matter that something isn’t what it claims to be?
Beware. Some imported tropical hardwoods are masquerading as traditional homegrown favorites like oak, cherry or maple. For example, so-called “Tasmanian oak” is not oak at all: it’s eucalyptus from Down Under. What’s sold as “Brazilian cherry” isn’t cherry – like all U.S. hardwoods, cherry grows in temperate climates, not in tropical rain forests. So-called “Malaysian oak” actually is rubberwood from tropical plantations and it doesn’t even look like oak. Ask lots of questions and make sure you get what you want. When in doubt about the true identity of any wood, check the species’ botanical name.
 
Have Allergies?
Doctors often recommend hardwood floors over other floor coverings because they trap less animal dander, dust, pollen, mites and mold – all of which can trigger allergic symptoms and respiratory problems.
 
If you are an allergy sufferer or know someone who is, then you are familiar with the itchy eyes, runny nose, eczema, and rashes caused by allergies. An estimated 60 million Americans suffer from allergies, and a recent report prepared by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies concluded that exposure to certain allergy-causing substances, or allergens, can also lead to asthma in children. While researchers believe that certain individuals have an inherited tendency toward allergies and asthma, studies also show that specific steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate allergens.
 
The droppings of dust mites – those microscopic monsters that colonize bedding, curtains and carpets, are significant allergens that have been linked to rapidly rising rates of allergies and asthma. Every home has dust mites and even frequent vacuuming won't eliminate them, or their droppings, altogether.
 
The good news is that there is something you can do to help prevent, or reduce allergies, asthma and their symptoms. Some researchers believe that eliminating the sources of allergens when children are young may help reduce the likelihood that they will develop allergies. Studies have shown that, even if someone in your home already has allergies, they may experience improvement after allergens have been reduced or eliminated.
 
1.) Remove carpeting from the bedrooms of allergy sufferers. In fact, natural hardwood floors throughout your home make it easier for you to reduce allergens by eliminating a haven for dust mites, all the while keeping your home warm and inviting. Make sure that any throw rugs used in your home are washed weekly in hot water.
2.) Select furnishings that make limited use of upholstery. Real hardwood furnishings are attractive and comfortable, and are not welcoming to dust mites.
3.) Enclose mattresses and pillows in zippered dust-proof vinyl coverings. These help to keep the dust mites and their droppings away from those with allergies.
4.) Keep humidity levels in your home between 45 and 55 percent or lower. Dust mites can't survive when the humidity level is this low. 45 to 50 percent is perfect for hardwood.
 
Air Quality Fact Sheet on Carpet: Considerations for hardwood over carpeting