WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM SOLID WOOD FLOORING AT COSTEN FLOORS?
- Expert installation and finishing.
- A product milled within the specifications and standards generally accepted by the industry as to:
- Moisture Content
- A product that will give you a lifetime of beauty and function if maintained properly with regard to the type of top finish applied.
- Color and pattern capability limited only by your imagination and budget.
WHAT SHOULDN’T I EXPECT FROM SOLID WOOD FLOORING?
A table top finish.
- Each piece of wood flooring sands differently depending on its grain type (plain or quartered), making it virtually impossible to achieve a completely flat surface.
A dust free finish.
- Since your floor is being finished in your home, it isn’t practical to achieve a “clean room” Some dust will fall onto the freshly applied top finish. It will wear off as you use the floor.
A monotone floor.
- Wood varies from piece to piece. It is milled from a tree and will have grain and color variances consistent with the grade and species of flooring selected.
A floor that won’t indent.
- In spite of the term “hardwood”, wood flooring will indent under high heel traffic (especially heels in disrepair).
A floor without cracks between the boards.
- Although the boards in your new floor start tight together, they will naturally absorb and expel moisture over time. This process will cause the flooring to expand and contract from season to season—resulting in cracks between some of the boards. Some stain colors, such as white, will show this process more than others. Your flooring contractor can minimize this movement by adhering to the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA) installation guidelines. Additional information about these NOFMA guidelines, as well as recommended maintenance procedures, can be obtained from your Costen Floors consultant.
WHAT TYPES OF SURFACE FINISHES ARE AVAILABLE FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS?
- Wood floor finishes are usually urethanes and remain on the surface of the wood and form a protective coating. They are durable, water-resistant and require minimal maintenance. Various gloss levels are available.
- Oil-modified urethane is easy to apply. It is a solvent-based polyurethane that dries in about eight hours. This type of finish ambers.
- Conversion varnish dries clear to slight amber and is durable. These finishes have an extremely strong odor and should be applied by the highly skilled flooring professional.
- Water-based urethane finishes are clear and non-yellowing. They have a milder odor and dry in about two to three hours.
- Penetrating stain and wax soaks into the pores of the wood and hardens to form a protective penetrating seal. The wax gives a low-gloss satin sheen. It is generally maintained with solvent-based (never water-based) waxes, buffing pastes or cleaning liquids (specifically made for wax-finished wood floors and an additional thin application of wax as needed.
HOW CAN I BEST MAINTAIN MY WOOD FLOOR?
- Keep grit off the floor. Use dirt-trapping, walk-off mats at all exterior doors to help prevent dirt, grit and sand from getting inside and on your floors. Throw-rugs or small sections of carpet just inside the entrances are also recommended.
- Use area rugs at high spill locations in the kitchen, including the stove, sink, and refrigerator. Cotton is generally the best fabric since it is easily washed. Mats with a smooth backing, i.e. rubber or vinyl, may trap water beneath them.
- Finishes and certain chemicals in wood oxidize and are affected by ultra violet light sources. This may cause the wood and finish to change color and develop a patina or aged appearance. To avoid uneven appearance, move area rugs occasionally and drape or shade large windows.
- Put floor protector pads on the legs of your furniture; they allow furniture to be moved easily without scuffing the floor. Clean the glides regularly as grit can become embedded in glides and cause scratching. Some furniture may require barrel type roller casters as the ball type casters may cause damage. Grey, non-marking rubber casters are the best. Avoid casters made of hard materials like metals or hard plastics. If your furniture doesn’t have the right type of caster, we recommend changing them.
- Vacuum regularly (as often as you vacuum carpets). A brush attachment works beautifully. Sweep or use a dust mop daily or as needed, but do not use a household dust treatment as this may cause your floor to become slick, dull the finish, or interfere with re-coating.
- Wipe up food and other spills promptly with a dry cloth or paper towel. Use a slightly moistened cloth for sticky spills if necessary. Then, wipe the floor dry with another cloth or paper towel.
- Keep heels on shoes in good repair, especially high heels. Heels that have their protective caps missing or worn away (exposing the steel support rod) will dent any floor surface—even concrete.
- Never clean or wet mop your hardwood floor with water. Water can dull the finish, and permanently damage the floor. Use a hardwood floor cleaning product made for urethane finish hardwood floors, such as the Woodwise product line. Most problems can be prevented or minimized by wiping up and spills immediately.
WHAT IS “CUPPING”—AND HOW IS IT CAUSED?
- Cupping is a distortion across the face of the wood in which the edges appear higher than the center. The face becomes concave because the wood has absorbed moisture from the back faster than it can be dissipated from the face.
- The curvature created is because the back has become slightly larger than the face, which causes the “washboard” It is ALWAYS caused by moisture and is solely related to environmental conditions.
- The source of the moisture can be from mopping the floor with water, overflows of appliances, flooding, ground water, heavy rains, high humidity and excessive moisture entering the wood from below
- If cupping occurs—and all other sources have been eliminated—your crawl space or basement is the most likely source of excessive moisture. Many of the moisture sources listed here are beyond the control of the manufacturer, builder and flooring contractor.
- Once the source of moisture is eliminated, cupping usually dissipates. It may take a full season for this to occur. If the cupping does not recede, the floor can be sanded and refinished to a flat surface.
WHY DOES MY WOOD FLOOR HAVE CRACKS OR GAPS?
- Natural wood flooring must acclimate to its environment. Usually in a new home or new wood installation you will find that during the first full year of seasons the wood will expand and contract while it is acclimating to the conditions in your home.
- In the winter or colder months your wood will dry out from the warm dry air—causing cracks and gaps. During the summer or hotter months the wood will pick up moisture from the humidity in the air and will expand—closing those cracks and gaps. This process usually takes a full cycle of seasons. Any remaining cracks or gaps that persist during the summer months following the year of acclimation will be addressed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
CAN MY WOOD FLOOR BE REFINISHED IN THE FUTURE
- Your hardwood can be sanded and refinished to look virtually new and provide decades of beauty and use.
- Costen Floors offers expert refinishing services and can quote you the price for one room up to a whole house or business location.
- We use belt sanders for the main areas and use smaller hand sanders and scrapers for the edges and hard to reach areas, and use a variety of high-performance stains and finishes.
- We also offer cleaning kits that can help you keep your hardwood floor looking new for longer periods of time.
- Hardwood refinishing creates a fair amount of dust and smell (due to the polyurethane finish)—so many of our customers time their refinishing project with a vacation so that we can perform the service and have your home ready when you return from your holiday!
- Ask your Costen Floors consultant for more information about our refinishing services.
Vacuum or sweep your floor regularly with a soft-bristled attachment or broom, especially in high-traffic areas. This prevents gritty dirt and particle buildup that can scratch the wood’s surface. Don’t use vacuums with a beater bar or power rotary brush head.
Use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight. Most wood types will gradually age when not covered, so it’s a good idea to rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help it age evenly.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE
- Keep pets’ nails trimmed and their paws clean. Pets can track in substances that cause scratching and stains.
- Use a humidifier during heating seasons to help reduce wood shrinkage and humidity between 35% and 55%.
- Wipe up spills and spots immediately.
- Use ice to harden tough substances like wax or chewing gum, and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper or a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the surface and wipe the area clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth.
Invest in high quality floor mats and protective pads on heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection on your hardwood floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce wear.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Avoid walking on your hardwood floors with spiked or damage-heeled shoes.
- Resist wet-mop, damp-mop, or cleaning your hardwood with water or other liquids.
- Don’t use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax, or other household products containing lemon, citrus, or tung oil, or silicon to clean floors.
- Stay away from harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal, or scouring powders.
- Don’t use 2-in-1 cleaners that contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.