FAQs

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 buildup, 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.
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 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.
Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?
It is actually personal preference. They both have advantages. For example, if you want to match the existing woodwork, you may wish to go with unfinished so it can be stained to blend woodwork. However, prefinished is already finished with some great benefits: longer finish warranties, uniform stain application, and a cleaner environment.
Should I use unfinished or prefinished hardwood?
It is actually personal preference. They both have advantages. For example, if you want to match the existing woodwork, you may wish to go with unfinished so it can be stained to blend woodwork. However, prefinished is already finished with some great benefits: longer finish warranties, uniform stain application, and a cleaner environment.
I've always used wood flooring in low-traffic areas like formal living rooms or conference rooms. Is it durable enough for a kitchen, bathroom, or work space?
I've always used wood flooring in low-traffic areas like formal living rooms or conference rooms. Is it durable enough for a kitchen, bathroom, or work space?
Why do most gymnasiums use wood flooring?
For the same reason many homes and businesses do: durability and comfort. Indeed, wood flooring commands more than 70 percent of the highly demanding sports floor market. Wood floors are softer and more supple than other surfaces. Wood flooring provides greater resilience, improved shock absorption, and increased energy return, all of which help to reduce injury and body fatigue for athletes.
There are so many species of wood. How should a specifier select one?
Choosing a species of wood involves more than selecting a color to match décor. Both decorators and installers should be aware of the basic facts about wood species. Other appearance-related attributes are important for designers too, such as texture, grain, and color. Installers will want to consider mechanical properties like dimensional stability, machinability, and ease in finishing. And any specifier will need to consider availability and cost. NWFA's wood experts offer detailed information about the properties of many wood species.
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 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.
Is it cost-effective for home builders and renovators to select wood flooring over less costly materials?
Yes! Residential real estate agents say homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster, and fetch higher prices, according to a recent nationwide survey commissioned by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). By a three-to-one margin, real estate agents said that a house with wood floors would sell faster than a carpeted house. Some 58 percent said a house with wood floors would bring a higher price. "There is a perception today that they don't build homes like they used to," according to one Pennsylvania agent. "So when people see hardwood floors instead of carpet-covered plywood, they feel the entire house was built with superior building materials."
My clients have diverse tastes in interior design. Does wood flooring go well with most design styles?
Yes. In a recent survey commissioned by the NWFA, more than three-quarters of interior designers find that wood flooring works well with many decorating styles. "It's the most versatile floor covering there is," says one designer. "Wood goes with contemporary and traditional and everything in between." Designers rated natural materials as superior to man-made materials in beauty, prestige, style, maintenance, and durability. A variety of woods and finishes are available to complement the decor and style of any room. Oak and maple are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and Purpleheart.
Does wood flooring promote a healthy indoor environment?
Yes! Bacteria, dust and dirt do not embed themselves in wood flooring, as they do in other flooring options. Simple regular maintenance—such as dustmopping, sweeping, or vacuuming—keeps wood floors sanitary.
I suffer from allergies. Is wood flooring hypoallergenic?
Millions of people suffer from sensitivity to chemicals and toxins. Tests by leading allergists have proven that wood flooring provides a healthier environment for these allergy sufferers. Wood doesn't harbor irritating dust and microorganisms.
Is the natural environment protected during the harvesting and manufacturing of wood flooring?
Yes. Far from a depleting resource, hardwood is sustainable and commercially more available now than ever before. On the 486 million acres of forestland in the United States classified as commercial, substantially more wood is added in new growth each year than is harvested. For hardwood species, 86 percent more wood is added annually in net growth than is removed through harvest. Manufacturers of glue-down wood flooring meet Clean Air Act standards for construction adhesives. A national environmental standard for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is anticipated in the next few years, but manufacturers are already offering VOC-compliant wood flooring products.
Once installed, how often must wood flooring be replaced?
Every hundred years or so. In fact, the heart pine floors in historic Bacon's Castle in Virginia are more than three centuries old and counting. Simple care and maintenance keeps wood floors looking beautiful for a lifetime. Instead of laying an entirely new floor when the original is worn, wood floors can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing. When done by a wood flooring professional, wood floors need only to be refinished every 10 - 15 years or 10 - 12 times during a floor's life. When a wood floor's useful life is over, it's completely biodegradable.
Is recycled wood flooring available?
Yes. Wood salvaged from a variety of sources, including old barns and factories, is a popular high-end design trend. Wood recovered from riverbeds is another growing segment of the wood flooring industry. Logs that sank during logging operations years ago are being recovered by a number of companies and used to create truly unique flooring. Today's only significant source for heartwood from long-leaf pine is through reclaimed timbers from warehouses and factories constructed during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Chestnut, hemlock, poplar, walnut, and cypress are other options.

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