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Categories Hardwood

How to Prevent Moisture Damage When Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor

A hardwood floor is fairly easy to maintain; generally, you just need to sweep it from time to time. If you allow dust and dirt to accumulate, it can begin to scratch the surface of the wood. From time to time, you’ll need to also mop the floor or clean it with a mild detergent. You’ll need to clean up different types of spills or pet urine occasionally as well. There is a danger to mopping the floor, though. The biggest threat to your floor is going to be moisture; if moisture seeps into the pores of the wood, it can cause the wood to swell, warp, or grow mildew. To prevent that, you need to be careful.

Check the Finish

The first thing you should do is sweep the floor. While you are sweeping the floor, you should look for thin spots in your floor’s finish. The floor is likely finished with polyurethane, but it could also be oil or wax finished. You need to make sure that the protective layer is thick throughout the entire floor. Typically, you can do this by running a hand over the floor to feel the polyurethane coating or simply look at the floor under the light. Even a satin or matte finish will reflect light more than bare wood.

Wring the Mop Well

If you decide to mop the floor, you want to reduce the amount of standing water as much as possible. You can do this by wringing the mop very well before you apply it to the floor. Soak the mop in the bucket, wring it until the mop head is just damp, and then mop up the floor. Also, make sure that you are not using a very acidic cleaner. Make sure it is a mild cleaner designed for hardwood flooring. That will protect the coating on the floor.

Check For Cracks

You need to also check for anywhere that moisture can get under the hardwood planks. The planks, if they are solid planks, are set into a subfloor. That subfloor can trap moisture, leading to floor damage. The most common places for cracks are between different planks or where the plank meets the wall. Make sure that they have not warped or changed to the point that they no longer fit.

Use a Cleaner

If you want to reduce the amount of water on your floor as much as possible, you can use a cleaner instead of mopping. That will keep the amount of water to an absolute minimum.

The post How to Prevent Moisture Damage When Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor appeared first on hardwood marketing.

Categories Hardwood

How to Repair Pet Scratches on Hardwood

It might not seem like it, but your pet’s claws might actually be harder than your wood flooring. That means that long pet claws can scratch your hardwood floor. If you have a large dog, she could actually create large gouges in the wood floor. There are certain ways to prevent that from happening. The simplest way to prevent that from happening is by choosing a very hard wood for your flooring. An exotic wood high on the janka hardness scale likely won’t scratch or dent when your pet walks on it. However, if you don’t have that option, you’ll need to keep your polyurethane finish in good shape to protect your floor. Finally, if the floor is scratched anyway, you still have options.

Sand and Refinish

If you want to actually repair the scratches, you’ll likely need to sand and refinish the floor in spots. Sand away the polyurethane and then sand down to the wood. Use a medium grit sandpaper to get through the polyurethane. Use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth out the wood. Clean up the sawdust with a damp cloth. Allow it to dry. Then, you’ll be able to apply polyurethane to fix the part you sanded.

If your flooring is stained, you’ll need to stain the sanded portion to match the other parts. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to match the color of the rest of the floor.

Wood Putty

In some cases, you might be able to use wood putty to repair the scratches. If the gouges are very deep, you’ll need to sand away teh polyurethane and then apply a wood filler. Sand it again. Then you can stain and refinish hardwood floors.

Categories Hardwood, Hardwood Refinshes

Do You Want Water-Based or Oil-Based Polyurethane For Your Hardwood Floors?

There are three typical types of hardwood flooring finish. There is shellac, polyurethane, and varnish. Shellac has fallen out of favor in many circles. There is a lively debate about polyurethane and varnish; however, the concern of this article is polyurethane. Polyurethane is the most common type of finish. It is essentially a liquid plastic that is either wholly synthetic or in a mixture with resin. It’s applied in a couple of coats and allowed to dry. Once it dries, it essentially creates a clear plastic cover over your floors. It is scratch-resistant, waterproof, and easy to clean. However, you still have another choice to make after you choose polyurethane. Do you want water-based or oil-based?

How Many Coats?

If you are having a professional touch up a small part of your hardwood flooring or you’re refinishing a room that is not often used, the number of coats isn’t as important. However, if you’re having the floors refinished in a busy part of the house, the number of coats is important. A water-based polyurethane goes on clear and dries enough to be coated again in about two hours. However, it requires several coats.

An oil-based polyurethane goes on with a slight amber tinge. It takes about six hours or more before another coat can be applied. However, far fewer coats are needed. Strictly based on the number of coats and the speed with which they can be applied, water-based polyurethane is the easier solution.

Which Looks Better?

As stated earlier, water-based polyurethane goes on clear, and oil-based polyurethane goes on with a slight amber tint. If you want to preserve your flooring exactly as it appears, then water-based is the best option. It goes on clear but will provide a little bit of depth to the color by reflecting the light.

On the other hand, certain types of wood benefit greatly from the slight amber hue of an oil-based polyurethane. The amber complements the natural tones of wood very well. Based on appearance, oil-based polyurethane is probably the winner.

What About Costs?

Water-based polyurethane generally costs about twice as much as oil-based. Considering that you’ll need to apply at least four coats of water-based poly compared to about two for oil-based, that means that it could actually cost more than double to use water-based.


In conclusion, water-based polyurethane goes on crystal clear, has low odor, and dries very quickly. Oil-based polyurethane gives a warm glow to wood, takes longer to dry, and has a strong odor. Water-based finishes also cost more. You should ask a professional and request samples of the two finishes applied to hardwood flooring.

Categories Hardwood

Should I Repair or Replace my Water Damaged Floor?

Water and hardwood flooring are not a good match. Mopping up water quickly usually helps but sometimes there are plumbing emergencies that must be dealt with. Hardwood flooring can be repaired when damaged by water but sometimes the damaged flooring will need to be replaced. Severe water damage can rarely be salvaged without expert help.

Wood is an organic material and can only resist water for a small period of time. Removing the source of water quickly is important to prevent damage. If a pipe breaks or leaks your floor may be adversely affected and damaged.

  • Signs your floor is water damaged-
  • Staining or discoloring
  • Cupping and buckling
  • Floorboards are lifting especially at the ends
  • Mold
  • Popping nails

Hardwood flooring typically has a moisture level of between 6 and 12 percent but when it is damaged it can raise to as high as 40 percent. The amount of time water is on the floor will affect how much is is damaged. The floor can then be dried to help reduce the moisture. A hardwood flooring installer should be consulted about this.

Determining if you need to replace or repair the floor depends on a few factors. The amount of time the floor was exposed to water is one of the big factors. Also the type of flooring is a factor, engineered and solid hardwood can withstand a different level of moisture. The severity of the water damage is a big factor, if the subfloor has been penetrated you will likely need to replace the floor.

Minor damage can often be repaired and a few boards replaced but in severe cases the whole floor will need to be replaced. Call a hardwood flooring expert in your area if you have any questions. They’ll be happy to help you repair or replace the affected areas.

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