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Common myths about Hardwood floors

July 7, 2014

Our Andersens team get so many questions about Hardwood floors – how to care for them, where best they are used, what timbers are more durable, dealing with damages and so on. We thought it time to put some of the Hardwood floor myths to rest and hopefully provide you with some great tips along the way.

Myth 1 – Wood floors should not be used in a kitchen.
Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in the house for hardwood floors. Built to withstand heavy traffic and give long lasting beauty with minimal maintenance, hardwood floors are a perfect choice.

Myth 2 – Damp mopping is the best way to clean a wood floor.
To the contrary, water and wood do not mix. Throw away that bucket and mop! Water causes deterioration of the wood itself as well as the finish. Speak to one of our Andersens consultants today about the correct procedures and maintenance products that will not harm your urethane finish but if buying general market products please ensure compatibility with urethane finishes.

Myth 3 – Hardwood floors should not scratch or dent.
Although Hardwood floors of all species are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life, top finishes and wood can still scratch or dent given enough applied pressure or resistance. Higher gloss will show more imperfections. Manufactures do not warrant against scratching and denting so be sure to think about the amount of traffic and activity in the room this flooring will be used.

Myth 4 – High heel shoes will not damage a wood floor.
High heels or spiked heels are damaging to hardwood flooring. They strike the floor with more force per inch than an elephant’s foot. High or spiked heels in disrepair are especially harmful, as the heel acts much like a tiny hammer pounding away at the floor with as much force as 10,000 pounds per inch! Perhaps introduce a no shoe in the house rule or simply no high heels please…

Myth 5 – When wood floors warp or cup, it is because the wood flooring is defective.
Cupping is due to excess moisture or over drying and is considered job site related. Improper water maintenance, a plumbing leak, or moisture from the crawl space, basement, concrete slab or high/low-relative humidity can be the reasons.

Myth 6 – If my wood floor changes colours or fades, it is because the finish or wood is defective.
No. Actually all wood floors can experience colour shade change overtime. American cherry and many exotic species like Brazilian Cherry, Tiger wood, are photosensitive and will gain a richer, darker patina. Area rugs and large furniture that cover the floor should be moved periodically to allow exposure to UV light and air on the area. Eventually, the entire floor will reach the same even shading. There are no known values established for this natural condition, therefore, Manufactures do not warrant against these natural characteristics beyond its control.

Myth 7 – I should be able to use every piece of wood I purchase.
Realistically, wood is a product of nature and not perfect. The industry allows a tolerance not to exceed 5% for defective boards, natural or manufacturer related, based on the total purchase and some 8-10% for the exotics. If board width size seems to vary during installation, place boards of the same width size together in the same row.

Myth 8 – If I find a defective board after the floor is installed, the manufacturer will replace or repair it.
No. It is the responsibility of the installer/customer to inspect the floor to be installed and be selective in choosing each board in quality, grading, and natural colour variation before installing it. Once installed, the floorboards are deemed to be acceptable to both the installer and the end-user. If necessary, individual board replacements can be accomplished.

Myth 9 – If my wood floor shows gaps between boards in the winter months, it is defective.
Nearly every wood floor endures some separation in between boards. In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some of its moisture and shrinks. When that happens, cracks appear between the boards. In the spring, when the heat is off and the indoor environment regains moisture, most gaps normally close.
Wood boards become dormant with indoor humidity levels of 30-50% and extremely hot temperatures.

Myth 10 – Kitchen floor cleaner with vinegar, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners are the best products to use when cleaning my floor.                                                                     Never use these kinds of cleaners, as they can dull and damage your hardwood floors and void warranties. Use products safe for urethane finishes.

Myth 11 – All hardwood species and wood floors have the same hardness factor.
Not true. All hardwood floors can dent, mark and scratch under various conditions. The wood industries have developed a hardness rating scale that represents the resistance of wood to denting, marring, and wear. The higher the number, the harder the species, and the more resistant it is. Red Oak is 1290, Brazilian Cherry is 2890, and Brazilian Walnut is 3680. Bamboo is a grass product its hardness can be compared to that of Maple or Hard Pine, though not held to the same standards.

Myth 12 – It is always best to use my vacuum with a rotating brush to remove grit and debris from my wood floor.
While weekly vacuuming is important for removing dirt and grit, a hard bristle brush beater bar can scratch and damage your hardwood. Make sure you have a hardwood floor attachment to use.

Myth 13 – My roller chairs should not damage my wood flooring.
Roller chair wheels can damage a wood floor if equipped with hard plastic or metal rollers. The wood industry recommends barrel-type rollers made of non-marring rubber.

Myth 14 – Tables, chairs, and furniture should not scratch or dent my wood floor.
Wood is a natural material and can dent or scratch. Place adhesive felt furniture pads on the legs of chairs and all furniture to prevent damage to the floor’s surface.

Myth 15 – Wood floors require a lot of time and effort to maintain them.
Unlike other types of floor coverings, hardwood floors can be kept looking like new with a minimum amount of effort. Never damp mop your floor. Use only products designed for wood floors. Just spray and dry mop the floor.

Myth 16 – Will Wood floors increase the value of my home?
A quality hardwood floor will offer a lifetime of beauty and service and is an investment that will add considerable value to your home whether for your own enjoyment or for resale value.

Myth 17 – Wormholes, mineral streaks, and knots are defects in wood.
Because wood is a product of nature, most character marks such as pinholes, mineral streaks, and knots are allowed in most grades. If a board is undesirable to you, tell your installer not to install it or cut it out. All wood manufacturers state that the responsibility for final inspection and approval is that of the installer and consumer. Once the board has been installed, it is deemed to have been accepted by the installer and homeowner. No claim for an installed board that is visibly defective will be honoured.

For more information on how to care for your hardwood floors contact Andersens or view more hardwood flooring tips via our website.

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