Why Use Hardwoods?
Click on the link for some very convincing reasons why.
Hardwood Species
Images of popular hardwood floor species.
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.
Just The Facts
Helpful tips and facts to educate you about hardwood flooring.
The Character of Wood
Some defining characteristics that set hardwood apart.
Grades of Hardwood
A different grade for any floor application: home or business.
Making The Decision
Key factors to account for in your decision to have a wood floor.
Conservation Information
Information on preserving our hardwoods for the future.
When Century Floors installs hardwood in your home we will give you a complete list of maintenance and care products to use to maintain the quality of your original hardwood finish. Solid hardwood will repay a little care with a lifetime of value. When you first glimpse your solid hardwood, you sense richness, warmth and natural beauty. Gradually, you get to know its distinct personality - visual harmonies, the traces of history in the forest and in your home.
Too many times consumers are led to believe oil soap and wet swiffers can be used on hardwood. Having seen the effects both can have on site finished hardwood we recommend you stay away completely from oil soap. Unfortunately wet swiffers can cause damage to hardwood as we’ve learned through the many inspectors we know. Oil soap on the other hand, will leave a residue build up and dull any hardwood’s surface appearance, and over years of use will give your floors a green tone. Use of any oil cleaners will force you to sand instead of screen and coat, because a new coat of finish will peel off an oil-soaked surface.
Hardwood care and maintenance is just as important as making that decision to invest in one. Over the years Century Floors has seen some that were maintained beautifully and it shows. On the other hand, we have also seen those that were abused and no attention to preservation was considered. Not only does cleaning play an important role to the longevity of your investment, but attention to damage prevention as well. Here are several items to be considered that some people may overlook.
  • Never wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
  • Place bristle type mats at all exterior door entries. These will collect larger pieces of grit or small stones.
  • Never use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly. The only remedy in this situation is to sand and refinish the floor.
  • Place area rugs at all entry points inside the home.
  • Felt pads are a great idea for placing under furniture legs, but keeping them free of grit is just as important. Each time the floor is swept or cleaned, check for any grit that may collect under a chair or furniture leg.
  • Place area rugs at all water areas. Kitchens are most important in this case. One may not be enough and I would suggest others in front of the refrigerator/ice maker, dishwasher, and kitchen sink area.
  • Remember that cleats, sports shoes and high heels can dent any floor surface. When a 125 pound woman takes a step in high heels she exerts 2,000 psi (pounds per square inch). An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 psi. And don’t forget about animals with long nails!
  • Any time furniture or appliances are moved please use some kind of protection to prevent scratches and gouges. Appliance delivery guys are notorious for not taking the necessary precautions. Our suggestion is to us 1/8” masonite board making sure the surface and the floor is very clean when any appliances are moved. One small piece of grit will make any efforts worthless.
  • Use a humidifier in the home throughout the winter months to keep all wood movement and shrinkage to a minimum.
Humidity Control
Wood flooring is a natural product that responds to humidity variation by expanding and contracting. These changes may be noticeable. During warm and humid summer months, wood expands. During dry weather, wood contracts. This seasonal movement is a normal characteristic of wood flooring. The best way to reduce this movement and even make it invisible is to install humidity controls and make sure they function before the flooring is installed.
In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some moisture and therefore shrinks. When it happens thin gaps can appear between planks. This is normal, and a homeowner should be prepared for this. Once indoor heat goes off in the spring and indoor environment regains moisture, most of these gaps will close up.
To avoid these separations try to add moisture to the air during the dry period. The best way is to install a humidifier in the furnace or moveable humidifier in the room with good air circulation. If humidity does not go lower than 45%, no separations will appear at all. To keep permanent control over humidity in the house, install a simple humidity meter, so you can constantly monitor the humidity level in your house.
In warm and humid summer months when indoor humidity can rise up to 90% the opposite occurs. Wood absorbs moisture from the air and therefore expands. If wood flooring is exposed to extensive humidity even for a couple of days it can cup. Cupping means that the edges of a board are higher than its center. It can also occur after water is spilled onto the floor and it is absorbed by the wood. It takes a while for humidity to return back to normal. It is very important to be certain before installation that the humidity level on the job site is within the allowed range of 45-55%.
In extreme cases, if wood expands significantly, boards get under enormous pressure from adjoining boards. As outcome boards can lose structural integrity and crack. To prevent cupping do not allow humidity to rise over 60-65%. Keep an air conditioner or dehumidifier running during humid summer months.
If you see cupping in your flooring, first identify and eliminate the moisture source. It can be a plumbing leak in the basement, the terrain of the lot with rain and runoff not moving away from the house or indoor humidity may need to be controlled.
After the source of moisture is controlled cupping can usually be cured. If cupping is moderate, the floor may improve on its own as it dries out over time. If cupping is excessive, the floor may need to be sanded and refinished. Be certain that the floor has thoroughly dried before sanding.
If sanded at the wrong time, before moisture content returns to normal and boards have flattened, crowning may occur. Crowning means that the center of the boards will appear higher than the edges.
General Wood Floor Care Tips
  • Don’t Damp Mop - Water and hardwood floors don’t mix! Use only the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning products on your hardwood floor.
  • Vacuum Regularly - Small stones, mud and gritty dirt tracked in from outside can scratch the finish of your wood floor’s finish. To help combat this use long bristle welcome mats placed at all outside entrances for people to wipe their feet on before entering onto the floors. Also, vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment.
  • Use the Proper Chair Glides - Narrow wheels, sharp wooden legs or metal furniture legs can scratch and dent hardwood floors. Any furniture that rests directly on top of a hardwood floor should have felt protectors, or furniture coasters under all its feet. For extremely heavy objects such as a piano, use wide, non-staining rubber caps. Purchasing floor protectors is cheap insurance for protecting your hardwood floor investment.
  • Don’t Use Oil Soaps - There are many over the counter oil-based soaps and wax based cleaning products that may damage or dull the finish of your wood floor. The best suggestion is to only use the manufacturers recommended cleaning products on your hardwood flooring.
  • Never Wax a Urethane Floor - If your hardwood floor has a polyurethane finish, never use a paste wax on the floor’s surface. A paste wax may form a sticky film on your floor and allow tracked in dirt to stick to your wood finish. Polyurethane finishes will not adhere to any wax and adding a fresh coat of polyurethane to your floor will be very difficult.
  • Wipe Spills Immediately - When accidents happen and some liquid gets spilled on your hardwood floor, you should use a slightly damp white cloth, or paper towel to immediately clean up and dry the effected area. For more difficult spots, follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures and recommendations.