All wood flooring expands in the humid summer weather and shrinks in the winter under dry conditions. A humidity level between 40-50% is recommended.
More than 50% is too humid: in damp conditions proper humidity levels can be maintained with an air conditioner or dehumidifier or by periodically turning on your heating system during summer months. Excessive humidity in the summer months can cause the boards to swell and consequently warp.
Less than 40% is too dry: in dry conditions proper humidity levels can be maintained with a humidifier. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions. Excessive dryness can cause wood floors to shrink and as a result creating gaps between the floor boards. Maintaining proper humidity levels in your home will help to extend the life of your hardwood floors ensuring a continual enjoyment of your investment for years to come.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all abrasive substances (sand, silvers of glass, crystal, cuttings, etc.) that could scratch the finish. Frequent vacuuming is recommended to eliminate abrasive dust accumulating on the surface and between the boards. Use a hardwood floor friendly attachment to your vacuum cleaner.
- To clean floors, use a ‘prefinished hardwood flooring maintenance kit’. Spray a small quantity of cleaner on a clean terry cloth and wipe the surface. Note that only small amounts of liquid are required. Wash the mop cover or cloth as required. Cleaning the surface once a month is a minimal maintenance condition.
- Use high quality mats at doorways to prevent snow, water and dirt from being tracked onto the floor.
- Glue felt pads to the legs of furniture and chairs to avoid scratching the floor when objects are moved. Periodically examine the pads for wear and replace when needed. Avoid rolling chairs with casters on the finished surface as they may scratch the finish. Roll them on carpets or chair mats only. Never slide or roll heavy furniture across your hardwood floor – always lift any furniture to be moved.
- Protect wood surfaces from sunlight or any source of bright artificial light. Prolonged or repeated exposure to bright light will change the color of wood, even if surfaces are coated with one of the most non-yellowing finishes on the market. Such color changes are a natural phenomenon. Moreover, changes in color to light wood are even more apparent than changes to dark wood.
- Small scratches are easy to cover with the touch-up kit, which may be purchased from the dealer. First clean the damaged area. Then rub the surface with some wood filler or a wood marker corresponding to the color of the wood.
- Never use wax, household detergents or any oil-based soap on the floor. These products may damage the finish and leave a greasy film, making the floor slippery and difficult to maintain afterwards. Mixtures of water and vinegar are not recommended for cleaning hardwood flooring, since vinegar has an oxidizing effect on urethane over a long period of time. Never clean your floor directly with water.
- Water is one of the worst enemies of wood. Wipe up spilled water, liquids or detergents before they are absorbed by the wood fibers. The combined effect of water and sand is devastating to flooring. This is why it is important to place floor mats at each doorway and in high traffic areas in the kitchen and in front of the sink, dishwasher and work areas.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes on hardwood floors as they can mar the surface. High-heeled surfaces are so small that the pressure exerted can easily reach 3,500 pounds per square inch. Damaged heels can mar flooring even more. Avoid walking on flooring in footwear with spiked heels or metal-tipped soles.