Today, we’re addressing some of common misperceptions about hardwood. If you’re thinking of installing hardwood or making any kind of upgrade, you’ll need the best information possible in order to make informed choices for your home. Here’s some bad info you can cross off your list of considerations:
1. Wood floors should not be used in a kitchen.
Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in the house for hardwood floors. Built to withstand heavy traffic and give long lasting beauty with minimal maintenance, hardwood floors are a perfect choice.
2. Damp mopping is the best way to clean a wood floor.
To the contrary, the best way to clean a floor is with a dry microfiber dust mop. Dust mops are great for everyday cleaning. A damp mop can be used for occasional cleaning, but too much regular use of water can dull a floor finish. When damp mopping water should not drip off the mop head, using too much water hence “wet mopping” can cause damage and discolor wood floors.
3. Hardwood floors should not scratch or dent.
Although Hardwood floors of all species are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily life, top finishes and wood can still scratch or dent given enough applied pressure or resistance. Higher gloss will show more imperfections. Manufactures do not warrant against scratching and denting
4. High heel shoes will not damage a wood floor.
High heels or spiked heels are damaging to hardwood flooring. They strike the floor with more force per inch than an elephant’s foot. High or spiked heels in disrepair are especially harmful, as the heel acts much like a tiny hammer pounding away at the floor with as much force as 10,000 pounds per inch!
5. When wood floors warp or cup, it is because the wood flooring is defective.
Cupping is due to excess moisture or over drying and is considered jobsite related. Improper water maintenance, a plumbing leak, or moisture from the crawl space, basement, concrete slab or high/low-relative humidity can be the reasons.
6. If my wood floor changes colors or fades, it is because the finish or wood is defective.
No. Actually all wood floors can experience color shade change overtime. American cherry and many exotic species like Brazilian Cherry, Tiger wood, are photosensitive and will gain a richer, darker patina. Area rugs and large furniture that cover the floor should be moved periodically to allow exposure to UV light and air on the area. Eventually, the entire floor will reach the same even shading. There are no known values established for this natural condition, therefore, Manufactures do not warrant against these natural characteristics beyond its control.
7. I should be able to use every piece of wood I purchase.
Realistically, wood is a product of nature not perfect. The industry allows a tolerance not to exceed 5% for defective boards, natural or manufacturer related, based on the total purchase. Some 8-10% for the exotics. If board width size seems to vary during installation, place boards of the same width size together in the same row.
8. If I find a defective board after the floor is installed, the manufacturer will replace or repair it.
No. It is the responsibility of the installer/customer to inspect the floor to be installed and be selective in choosing each board in quality, grading, and natural color variation before installing it. Once installed, the floorboards are deemed to be acceptable to both the installer and the end-user. If necessary, individual board replacements can be accomplished.
9. If my wood floor shows gaps between boards in the winter months, it is defective.
Nearly every wood floor endures some separation in between boards. In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some of its moisture and shrinks. When that happens, cracks appear between the boards. In the spring, when the heat is off and the indoor environment regains moisture, most gaps normally close.
Wood boards become dormant with indoor humidity levels of 30-50%and temperatures of 60-80F.
10. Kitchen floor cleaner with vinegar, ammonia, or abrasive cleaners are the best products to use when cleaning my floor.
Never use these kinds of cleaners, as they can dull and damage your hardwood floors and void warranties. Use products safe for urethane finishes.
11. It is best to keep the relative humidity low or dry in my home.
The wood flooring industry recommends that you keep the environment at “normal living conditions”. That is a temperature from 60F to 80F and a relative humidity of 30% to 50% with a continuous flow of air across the floor.