Hardwood Floor Care
Hardwood floors are very durable yet vulnerable in many ways. This care sheet should be used as a guide to help keep your floor looking beautiful for many years. Here are some rules to help you out.
Wood floors will respond noticeably to changes in humidity level in the home, especially in the winter. A humidifier will help but will not completely eliminate this reaction.
New Wood Floors
Wood floors will exhibit the following traits: When new, small splinters of wood will appear; dimples or scratches can be caused by moving furniture, dropping heavy or sharp objects, etc. Some shrinkage or warping can be expected; especially around heat vents or any heat producing appliances. Warping will occur if the floor becomes wet repeatedly or is thoroughly soaked even one time. A dulling of the finish in heavy traffic areas is likely; a white, filmy appearance is caused by moisture (often by wet shoes or boots). In daily care of hardwood floors, preventative maintenance is the primary goal.
Food spills should be cleaned up in a timely manner using a dry cloth. Use vinegar and warm water solution for tough food spills.
It is recommended that you do not wear high heals on your hardwood floors. Heels that have lost their protective cap (thus exposing the fastening nail) can exert over 8,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the floor, That’s high enough to damage hardened concrete; it will mark your wood floor.
Use protective mats at the exterior doors to help prevent sand and grit from getting on the floor. Gritty sand is wood flooring’s worst enemy.
Yellowing and Warping
Be aware that yellowing and warping of the surface can result from rubber backing on area rugs or mats.
Install proper floor protectors used on hardwood floors. Protectors will allow chairs to move easily over without scuffing. Clean the protectors on a regular basis to remove any grit that may accumulate.
Sweep on a daily basis or as needed. Never wet mop a hardwood floor. Excessive water causes wood to expand, possibly damaging the wood. When the floor becomes soiled, damp mop with a mixture of one cup vinegar to one gallon water. When mopping, be sure to remove any excess water from the mop.
Waxing or use of products like Murphy’s Oil Soap is not recommended. Once you wax a polyurethane finish floor, it is very difficult to re-coat the floor, as the new finish will not bond to the wax. Also, once wax is used, then you must maintain the wax and the floor. Preventative cleaning and annual screen should be performed to maintain the desired level of luster.
It is important to remember that re-coating is much cheaper and easier than re-sanding. Re-coating will take out minor surface scratches and dirt that has penetrated into the surface of the finish. If areas are neglected too long and the finish is worn through, then re-sanding is required. Floors should be re-coated every year to ten years depending on wear. A general rule for re-coating is start at 10 years for one person and subtract two years for each additional person or dog living in the house.
Minnesota is a tough state for hardwood floors as the humidity rises so much in the summer and falls so much in the winter. Minor gaps in the hardwood floor will occur in the winter and the floor may swell in the summer. This is normal.
Easy Tile Care
|Type of Tile/Usage||Routine Cleaning||Heavy Duty Cleaning|
|Glazed walls/countertops||Wipe with damp cloth or sponge using all-purpose cleaner. Use window cleaner for glossy
surfaces. Wipe dry with cloth.
|Clean with scouring powder, commercial tile cleaner, or
all-purpose cleaner using non-metallic scouring pad or very fine grade stainless steel pad. Rinse and wipe dry.
|Glazed tile floors||Vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Damp mop using solution of water and “soapless” detergent.||Use a commercial tile cleaner or a strong solution of water and “soapless” detergent. If stained, use scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, brush and scrub. Rinse and dry. For large areas and for areas that are difficult to clean, a power scrubber is recommended.|
|Glazed Tile Showers||Use all-purpose or bathroom cleaner. Allow to stand for five minutes rinse and dry. May also use a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar or a commercial tile cleaner.||Use chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide1. For stubborn stains, use scouring powder containing a bleaching agent.Let stand four to six minutes, then scrub and rinse thoroughly. To remove mildew, use a commercial tile cleaner, chlorine bleach or ammonia(1). DO NOT MIX.|
|Unglazed tile walls||Sponge with a diluted solution of water and “soapless” detergent.||Use scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush. Rinse and wipe dry.|
|Unglazed tile floors||Vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Damp mop or sponge with water and/or a diluted solution of water and “soapless”detergent.||Use scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush. Rinse and wipe dry. A small brush is suitable for small floors; consider a scrubbing machine for larger areas.|
|Natural Porcelain/Semi-Polished Porcelain*||Vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Damp mop using a solution of water and “soapless detergent”, rinse and then wipe dry.||Use scouring powder paste. Let stand for five minutes, then scour with brush. Rinse and wipe dry. A small brush is suitable for small floors; consider a scrubbing machine for larger areas.|
|Commercial Applications||For smaller commercial areas, vacuum regularly to remove gritty particles. Using a “soapless detergent”, scrub with an inexpensive nylon brush (such as a “Doodle Bug”). Follow by using a dry/wet vac to remove water and soap residue. Note: After initial cleaning, replace nylon brush.Replace thereafter as it becomes worn. A clean scrubber makes for a clean floor. For large commercial settings, consider the use of a commercial floor scrubbing machine.|
* With colored grout, test a small inconspicuous area first or follow grout manufacturer’s instructions.
* A note on Semi-Polished Porcelain: Porcelain tile is virtually impervious to stains and wear. However, the polishing process opens microscopic pores in the surface of the tile. Therefore, it is recommended that a penetrating sealer (such as Aqua Mix “Penetrating Sealer”, “Sealer’s Choice” etc.) be used 2 hours prior to grouting. Penetrating Sealers need only be applied once, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remember, prompt clean-up of spills and regular cleaning will keep your ceramic tile surfaces looking their best.
DO’s and DON’Ts of Ceramic Tile Care
Do not combine ammonia and household bleaches.
Do not use harsh cleaning agents (such as steel wool pads) which can scratch or damage the surface of your tile.
Do test scouring pads in a small area first.
Do use a silicone sealer on grout joints if continuous staining is a problem.
Do read and follow label directions for all cleaners.
Care and maintenance of Tile Grout
Grout may present a special cleaning problem because it is susceptible to many staining agents. Apply a silicone sealer to grout joints several times a year for maximum protection.
In addition to keeping the grout clean, be sure to keep grout joints in good repair. Scrape out loose, cracked or powdery joints and refill with a good grout.
One common grouting trouble spot is the joint between the tub and and the wall in your bathroom. As the house or tub settles, the grout may crack and crumble. It’s relatively simple to remedy. Remove the old grout with a sharp pointed tool, watching out that you don’t scratch tile or tub. Then dry the joint thoroughly and fill with a flexible caulking compound, such as silicone rubber caulking.
A Word about Cleaners There are many excellent household cleaners on the market today. They should all do a good job for you, so use your favorite. Remember, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended usage. They will perform as promised, if you use them as directed.
Information about the cleaners
All-purpose cleaners included such products as Soft Scrub, Scrub Free, Mr. Clean, Top Job, Fantastik, Ajax Liquid, Liquid Comet and Dow Bathroom Cleaner. You can find them at your supermarket.
“Soapless detergents” are also commonly found on supermarket shelves. They include such cleaners as Spic & Span and 409.
Scouring powders which are readily available include Comet, Bon Ami, and Ajax. Nylon scouring pads may also be used (such as Scotch Brite), but steel wool pads are not recommended.
Commercial cleaners such as Aqua Mix or Hilliard’s “Assurance”, are suitable for heavy duty cleaning in commercial applications.
Stain Removal Guide
|Grease and fats||Soda and water or commercial spot lifter|
|Inks and colored dyes||Household bleach|
|Blood||Hydrogen Peroxide or household bleach|
|Coffee, tea, food, fruit, lipstick,
|Neutral cleaner in hot water followed by hydrogen peroxide or household bleach|
|*Caution: Vinegar may damage some tile glazes. Be sure to test this solution first in a small area to see if it etches the tile or erodes the grout.|
B&R Hardwood and Tile is not responsible for any damage due to misuse or by not following the customer care instructions above.
We hope that you enjoy your wood floor and refer our name, B&R Hardwood and Tile, to anyone interested in having a hardwood floor installed or for refinishing his or her existing hardwood floor.