A hardwood floor, despite all its qualities, has the inconvenience of reacting to humidity. Hence, in order to allow for expansion when it absorbs humidity, ensure that you leave a space of ½ inch along the perimeter. Note that the narrower the width of the floor strips become, the more stable the hardwood will become.
Wood is a sound choice because it does not trap dust. It is easy to maintain and adds a warm touch to your home. In addition, it is classic and fashionable thus making for an excellent investment. Even with the toughest lifestyle, a hardwood floor will have a 100-year lifespan. With a ¾-inch thickness, it can be sanded and re-varnished 8 times about every 10-to 12 years.
Nowadays, pre-varnished wood strips dominate the market. Manufacturers and suppliers offer wood strips with 10 coats of varnish. One great advantage is that you can circulate freely immediately, even during installation!
The wood species most prized are oak and wild cherry. Others include maple, ash, cherry, beech, and exotic woods. There is also a very hard herb that grows in 5 years, bamboo, which requires little maintenance or sanding.
Marquetry or decorative wood is also very durable, especially if the squares are installed untreated. The latter can be sanded 10 times compared to 3 times for wood purchased pre-varnished.
Tips and advice for the maintenance of your hardwood flooring
Maintaining your hardwood floors is done by passing the vacuum cleaner every week and by replacing the felt protectors on the chair legs and other furniture that touches the flooring when needed. Your shoes act as a paper sander for every step you take. Cleaning the floors regularly and carefully is the best way to preserve them for a long time. Wood fibers, which are very resilient, render hardwood floors extremely durable. However, they also are susceptible to changes due to humidity and drying as well as aging. Even the most resistant finish eventually deteriorates.
They must be constantly watched during both the summer humidity period and the winter dryness season. Use a humidifier in winter to avoid any cracking in the wood. Conversely, use a dehumidifier in summer to avoid wood expansion that could cause swelling or bumps and even fissures or cracks on your flooring if it was installed without sufficient expansion space. We recommend a relative humidity of 45% to 55% for all home interiors.
As time passes, the natural brightness will eventually change the colour of your hardwood floors. It is recommended to move around, from time to time, the furniture and carpets in order to evenly distribute this effect. Check with the supplier or manufacturer if you should clean the flooring with a solvent or wax based agent. Pre-varnished hardwood floors must be cleaned with products on sale at local stores. With regards to small patches of worn out wood found underneath carpets, often it suffices to give a deep clean to restore its original luster. To remove built up wax, you can use a solvent cleaner for hardwood floors or use a warm dishwater detergent mixture containing no sodium tri-phosphates or ammonia. As usual, test in a concealed area.
Begin cleaning with a vacuum to remove dust and sand. With a clean cloth or brush, use rotating movements to ensure proper work, proceed in sections of 3 square feet at a time, and dry immediately after cleaning. Always avoid saturating the flooring with water. Afterwards, use a paste wax (difficult to apply but more durable) or a liquid wax (faster application) to finish the work. You can rent a wood floor polisher if desired. Preferably, clean in the direction of the wood strips if possible.