McClurg's Home Remodeling Blog

Facts You Need to Know About Hardwood Flooring Care and Maintenance

Posted by Paul Jones on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

Kitchen Hardwood FlooringWe install hardwood flooring for many customers who remodel their homes. Hardwoods come in a variety of woods, colors, plank sizes and finishes. The flooring can be installed with accents and in patterns to add architectural interest to a room.

If you are considering hardwood flooring for your home, here are a few facts you should know.

Facts About Hardwood Flooring

  • Hardwood floors will expand in summer and contract in winter occasionally creating hairline gaps between planks. These gaps are acceptable up to 1/8-inch. Changes in humidity are significant in Central New York and you will find more movement in wider plank flooring and possibly “cupping” of the boards. One way to reduce the possible movement in wood flooring is to use the smaller width flooring, such as 2¼-inch select red oak, which is very common in our area.

  • Hardwood floors are beneficial to allergy sufferers because wood does not collect dust, animal hair and other allergens in a home.

  • Hardwood floors are eco-friendly because wood is both renewable and recyclable.  

  • Hardwood floors add value to a home. Real estate listings will note hardwood flooring as an asset.

Homeowners often ask us how to care for and maintain their hardwood floors. Dennis Ashcraft, who works with us and has over 30 years experience installing wood flooring, advises the following:

New Floors

  1. To prepare for the installation of a new wood floor remove all furnishings, draperies, paintings, and other items from the room. The wood will need to acclimate, which will vary from two days to two weeks or even longer.

  2. Do not walk on the floor for 8 to 10 hours after the finished is applied.

  3. Walk on the floor with stocking feet only (no bare feet or shoes) for 2 days following the final coat of finish.

  4. No furniture should be placed on the floor until the final coat has dried for 2 days.

  5. Attach felt pads to the bottom of furniture legs to preserve your floor.

  6. Do not place area rugs on the floor for at least 3 weeks after the final coat.

  7. The finish will cure over a 1 to 2 month period. Tiny particles in the finish are not unusual due to the thickness of the final coat and will dissipate in time to appear smooth. Hair, insects and dust unfortunately may adhere to the finish.

  8. Variations in floorboards are normal and your flooring may change color as it ages. Sun exposure can also change the color of hardwood. Minimize direct sun exposure and periodically move furniture and area rugs in the room.

General Maintenance

  1. Never wax or wet mop hardwood floors. Water saturation can cause floors to warp.

  2. Vacuum or use a “Swiffer” duster before mopping the floor to clean off dust and debris.

  3. Spray original Windex or Vinegar Solution Windex on the floor and damp mop. You can make your own cleaning solution by adding a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and lightly damp mop. You can also use Bona, one of the best products we’ve come across, for periodic cleaning and restoring the shine to your hardwood floors.

  4. To preserve your floor in a kitchen, use throw rugs or mats in front of sink and appliance areas.

  5. Maintain fluctuations in home relative humidity to 10% - 20%. In summer use a dehumidifier and in winter use a humidifier if possible.

  6. Never walk on wood floor with high heels, which will cause indentations in the wood. Be careful when moving furniture to prevent dents and scratching.


Hardwood floors should maintain the shine for many years. It is time to refinish the floor with a light sanding, buffing and recoating when you notice a cloudiness in the finish or when high traffic areas become dull and worn.

Do you have hardwood flooring in your home?

How to Plan a Kitchen Remodeling Project Guide

Topics: Flooring

Subscribe to Our Blog

    Free Remodeling Seminar    

Most Popular Posts