What do we do AFTER our hardwood floors are refinished?
We want you to protect your investment, so here are some things you can do to keep your wood floors looking amazing!
If we are just leaving your home today or finishing up your project over the next couple days here are some things you need to know.
First, you can walk on the floor, 3 hours after the final coat of finish is put down (assuming we are using our standard, catalyzed water-based polyurethane). We do recommend clean dry sock or slippers for the first couple days, ideally no shoes or bare feet as the oils from your feet could affect the finish before it cures. You can move your furniture back 24 hours after the final coat goes down, but we STRONGLY recommend not dragging or sliding anything across the floors, please lift and place everything! After 24 hours the floor is 90% cured, after 3 days your wood floors are 100% cured and this is when we recommend replacing any area rugs, if you do it too soon, you may see a slight picture frame affect, as the floors may not be fully cured yet.
Now, let’s control the temperature and humidity of the home. Doing this will help you avoid excess gaps between the floorboards, along with any type of cupping (where the sides of the boards are raised or higher) or crowning (where the center of the board is raised or higher) of your floors Your wood floors are most comfortable with the temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit with the relative humidity between 30-50%. Having some type of humidity control system, like Aprilaire will help immensely. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning it will hold and release moisture, given the opportunity. Controlling the temperature and humidity will help these issue, but they are not necessary. Most older homes we work in do not have any type of humidity control.
Take those shoes off! Any type of debris can be tracked in the home, from the bottom of your shoes, like small pebbles/stones, salt in the wintertime etc, all which will scratch/damage your floors over time. Sweeping the floors often will also keep these contaminants off your wood floors and inhibit scratching.
Vacuum often and use mats in front of all entrances to wipe those shoes of all the dirt, small pebbles and other possible contaminants that could negatively affect your wood floors.
Do not wet mop or use steam mops on your wood floors. Both will introduce and force too much water into your wood floors, which will shorten the life of your wood floors, create a dull looking finish and potentially cause some wood swelling (cupping or crowning) of the wood.
Use felt pads on any furniture that moves. We like the felt pads over the hard plastic as they will scratch your floor less. We also like the felt pad that are hammered into the furniture as opposed to the ones with the adhesives.
Clean up spill immediately! Water and wood don’t mix, the longer the liquid sits on the wood, the more potential damage it can do. Remember, like we said, wood is hygroscopic and will absorb this moisture into the wood, creating further issues.
Put those high heeled shoes away! Each step will almost guarantee a dent in your wood floors, putting 2000lbs/sq inch with each step, even on the hardest woods.
Do not use any cleaners that say “polish”. Most of these contain wax or silicone and will make doing maintenance coats more difficult in the future. Some examples are “Orange Glo” and “Bona Polish”. These “cleaners” can also make the floors sticky over time and will attract dirt and debris that is more difficult to remove in the future.
Is your head spinning?… it’s ok… live your life, all wood floors will scratch and dent, the beauty is they can be maintained either by having us come in every few years and applying an additional coat of finish, also known as a Screen and Re-coat, which will get rid of a lot of surface scratching and even the sheen level out, or if you waited too long, where the finish is compromised and eventually discolors the wood, we can sand and refinish them again and make them look perfect. The beauty of wood floors is that they are renewable and can be sanded and refinished multiple times