Frequently Asked Questions: Care & Maintenance

How are polyurethane or other surface finishes maintained?

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 wax or penetrating-stain finishes maintained?

Dustmop or vacuum regularly, and use a buffer to maintain 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. 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 build-up, 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.

Can cleaning products for vinyl or tile floors be used on wood floors as well?

No. Never use vinyl or tile cleaning 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 can 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 walk off rugs at doorways to help protect wood floors from grit, dirt and debris. Place felt pads under furniture legs and vacuum/dust your wood floor regularly.

Check out the Hardwood Floors Resource Book for all your wood flooring needs.

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