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Installing Wood Floors With An Eye Toward Maintainability

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Whether you're having wood flooring put in by professionals or planning to perform the job yourself, you'll likely want to know that the new surface will provide years of service. It's important to understand how to take care of your wood floors, and the best way to accomplish that is to think about maintainability from the start.

Know the Types of Finishes

Every wood finish has its own quirks, and it's a good idea to pick one that matches your willingness to engage in maintenance. Factory-finished products, for example, often have highly specific chemicals in them, and you should pay strict attention to the recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Likewise, a waxed floor should never be cleaned using a water-based cleaner, and it can often just be buffed to restore its shine. If you're having floors put in by contractors, ask them to fully explain the cleaning routine in detail.

A surface-sealed floor is likely to be a different beast altogether. These are sealed using products like polyurethane, acrylics, or urethane. Owners are welcome to wash them using warm water and soap. If you're afraid you might not be the most active maintainer, you should discuss surface sealing before anything is installed.

Controlling Dirt

Any type of dirt or sand is going to function as an abrasive when it comes into contact with wood flooring. If you don't want to spend tons of time having surfaces refinished, you should think about how far dirt and sand can be tracked into your place. Even small grains can quickly strip a finish. Plan accordingly, and try to not place wood floors close to doorways and patios where particles may accumulate or be tracked into your house.


Folks who live in areas with high humidity levels should consider only installing wood floors in rooms that are reasonably climate-controlled. Expansion and contraction can leave gaps in floors, and they can even encourage warping.

Foot Traffic

Wood takes a beating when subjected to foot traffic, and you should be careful about using wood flooring in high-traffic zones of a home or a commercial building. If you're committed to using wood in a high-traffic area, talk with your installers about your needs. Try to make a reasonable guess about how many people will pass through in any given hour. If possible, see that the floor will be sealed with a product that'll hold up to the traffic.