If you love the character and style of hardwood floors, why not have them in your kitchen?
In most homes, the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms, where people often gather. That’s why they’re a perfect place to show off gorgeous hardwood floors.
And because hardwood floors are durable and easy to maintain, they’re perfect for the heavy use most kitchens experience.
Why Hardwoods Look Great in Kitchens
A hardwood floor can make a kitchen feel more cozy, comfortable, and inviting. It brings warmth to the room.
Putting hardwood floors in the kitchen can also help pull together your interior design if you have hardwood floors in other parts of your home, creating a seamless appearance. Finished hardwood flooring can draw the kitchen into the “flow” of the rest of the home.
Because of the central role a kitchen has in most homes, hardwood floors can make it a showpiece room that gets plenty of “oohs and aahs.”
Hardwood floors are also easy to keep clean. Spills can easily be wiped up, and the floor is no problem to sweep.
In potentially high-moisture areas of the kitchen, such as around the sink and dishwasher, you might want to use rugs to protect the floor.
And because hardwood floors are so long-lasting, you won’t have to worry about replacing the floor any time soon due to the kitchen’s heavy use.
Once hardwood floors are installed in a kitchen, you’ve just got to enjoy them.
Whether you’re selecting flooring for a new home or planning a kitchen remodel, hardwood floors in a kitchen not only look gorgeous and classy, they perform wonderfully and are easy to care for. Come by our showroom or give us a call to discuss how you can make your kitchen look stunning with hardwood floors.
If you have new finished hardwood flooring in your home—congratulations! It’s impossible to beat the beauty and character of quality hardwood flooring.
Hardwood floors are easy! In fact, if you have hardwood floors, you have probably found them to be the easiest floors you have ever had to clean and maintain.
Here are six useful tips that we’ve picked up in our decades of installing and refurbishing hardwood floors.
1. Realize that rugs, mats, and furniture pads are your friends.
To collect dirt and grime, it’s a good idea to place rugs or mats by entryways—as long as the coverings aren’t backed by rubber or other material that will harm finished hardwood flooring.
Rugs or mats can also be placed where water is likely to be spilled, such as around sinks in kitchens or bathrooms. Throughout the home, rugs can be used to protect flooring in high-traffic areas. Rugs also work beautifully to integrate the hardwood flooring into your overall interior design.
Furniture that is moved on a regular basis should have felt glides on all legs to protect your hardwood floors. You won't have to worry about a fidgety guest scooting around your floor if all of your chairs are equiped with felt glides.
2. Consider leaving shoes at the door.
Shoes are one of the primary causes of wear and tear on finished hardwood flooring. Pebbles and grit can get lodged in the treads and can dent and scratch the floors. Spikey high heels can also dent almost any hardwood floor. Slippers and socks will be much more forgiving, but if you must wear shoes, make a habit of using a rough welcome mat or shoe brush/scraper outside the door before entering. Your hardwood floors are easy to live on, and with just a little precaution, you can have them looking great for years and years.
3. We love our pets, don't bannish them from your home.
It is no secret pet nails scratch or dent hardwood flooring. Dogs love to run and chase, it is all part of what makes us love them! Choosing the right floor is critical. A floor with a little grain or texture in the surface will be much easier to take care of if a dog is part of your family.
If your pet doesn't always make it outside to relieve himself, you may have problems with permanent damage. That being said, simply being mindful of their habits and watching out for accidents before they become a problem is the key. Hardwood floor finishes today are very tough and can hold up to the occasional accident as long as it is cleaned up quickly. When an accident is discovered, clean it up right away.
4. Follow instructions for using cleaning products.
Manufacturers of prefinished hardwood flooring will provide guidance about what cleaners work best with their finish. If your hardwood floors were sanded and finished on site, the provider of your floor can recommend the right cleaner for your new flooring.
5. Clean spills immediately.
Even with modern water-resistant finishes, spills left sitting on a hardwood floor can result in damage. Large spills can soak between planks, warping the wood. Remember to wipe up spills as soon as you find them. If you have a large spill, call your hardwood floor specialist. They can help guide you on how to deal with the spill and hopefully avoid a lot of unnecessary expense.
6. Routinely sweep or vacuum.
Even if you’re careful about what you track inside, finished hardwood flooring will inevitably collect some dirt and debris. Dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming regularly can help scratching and scuffing. If you choose to vacuum, remember to either use a non-rotating floor attachment or turn off the rotating beater bar on the unit.
Maybe it's because of the emergence of do-it-yourself websites and countless DIY television shows, but more people than ever seem to be thinking about refinishing their hardwood flooring themselves.
But before you make the decision to try it yourself, consider these six reasons why it’s usually better for professionals to do the job.
1. You might be very skilled at home-improvement projects, but that doesn’t mean you’re as skilled at refinishing as someone who’s been doing that specific job for years.
Ask yourself, even if you get the job done, will it look as good as it could? Remember, you might save some money, but if you’re dissatisfied with the results, did you really spend your money wisely? It takes experience to get it just right.
2. You can damage the hardwood flooring.
If you don’t have experience with refinishing, there’s the real possibility that you’ll make mistakes while sanding, staining, or applying the finish—mistakes that harm the flooring and can’t be simply (or inexpensively) undone. Without experience with hardwood floor refinishing, this is easy to do, even if you’re good with DIY jobs.
3. The savings probably aren't as much as you think.
You may save a little in a upfront cost because you're not paying for labor, but when you compare the cost of a professional job to what you'll spend on equipment and materials to do it yourself—and then add in your valuable time—you may very well find that you're not really saving much, if anything at all.
4. You will probably take longer to do the job than a pro.
The length of the job will depend on whether sanding and staining are involved, as well as other factors, but however long it takes an experienced hardwood flooring company to do the job, it will certainly take you longer doing it on your own.
And if your time for the project is interrupted by your normal daily life (work, children, etc.) then you could easily find yourself with a drawn-out project, while the rooms being refinished are unusable and the furniture and other stuff you’ve moved out are taking up space in the rest of your home.
5. If you need to sand, you won’t have access to the same equipment as a hardwood flooring company does.
The sanders you can rent are smaller machines that operate on 110 electricity. The professional machines are heavier and operate on 220 electricity. The smaller, less-efficient rental sanders can get the job done however they are harder to use and and will take much longer to complete the project.
Traditional sanding produces a lot of dust. We are not aware of any rental machines that have satisfactory dust containment. So, if you plan on doing the floor sanding process on your own, you will need to plan a few extra days of cleaning. Professional companies that have dust containment trailers will control about 98% of the dust. A simple household dusting will be all that is needed after a professional sanding job.
Many people fall in love with dark hardwood colors. Rich, dark finished hardwood flooring can:
- Help create a classic, formal look.
- Make a room seem cozier.
- Be used to create a pleasing contrast with lighter colored furnishings, drapery, rugs, etc.
- Be paired with dark furnishings, drapery, rugs, etc. to unify a room.
If you’re considering dark finished hardwood flooring in your home, you can get it in three ways.
1. Natural color
Many woods are naturally dark, so you can simply select a dark-colored species, such as black walnut. A natural dark color is what many people are after when they install exotic wood floors, using woods such as Brazilian teak or Jarrah.
Stain allows you to choose from a wide variety of hardwood floors, and common hardwood choices such as oak flooring usually stains very easily.
There are some limitations based on the type of wood, but generally speaking you can stain floors as dark as you want, all the way up to practically black.
3. Stain accenting natural color
Working with a hardwood flooring specialists, you can enhance the color of natural woods with stain—not significantly altering the color, but adding warmth to its tone. Using stain to emphasize a natural color, many woods can be darkened in a way that brings out their natural beauty.
What About Dust, Dirt, and Scratches?
Dark hardwood flooring has a reputation for showing dust, dirt and scratches, and there’s truth in that perception. Compared to lighter colors, dark hardwood colors do contrast more with light-colored things that end up on the floor, making those things stand out, just as dirt is more obvious on a dark car than a light one.
With dust and dirt, there’s little that can be done other than to keep the floors swept or vacuumed regularly. You can minimize the look of scratching by choosing a grainier wood.
If you expect your floors to receive a lot of wear and tear—from children or pets, for example—you should be somewhat wary of dark hardwood colors.
Explore Your Options
If you think dark hardwood colors might be just the right fit for your taste and interior design goals, start investigating your choices by talking with a hardwood floor expert. You’ll learn what will work, how much it will cost, and what alternatives you have.
Point2Homes recently analyzed 300,000 real estate listings from 2012 to find out what words are most often used to describe homes for sale.
Not surprisingly, “beautiful” topped the list, but in the second spot was “hardwood floors.” That’s not surprising either—people love finished hardwood flooring, and it’s a great selling point. The fact that “hardwood floors” ranked second in Point2Homes’ list clearly shows that real estate agents have seen how much value home buyers place on hardwood flooring.
But hardwood floors’ contribution to a home’s value has many variables. Here are four to consider.
1. A lot of the value depends on where you live. For example, in areas where finished hardwood flooring is common, not having it could lower resale value. But in places where hardwood flooring isn’t expected, it might not add much value because home buyers looking in that area won’t (or can’t) pay extra for them.
2. A primary attraction of custom hardwood floors is that you can express your personality and taste. But if you chose an uncommon hardwood floor, you should realize that not all home buyers will share your taste, possibly increasing time on the market as you wait for just the right buyer to come along. On the other hand, a distinct floor can really pay off if you find a buyer who falls in love with that particular look and is willing to pay for it.
3. The value you get from your floors can’t always be quantified in the sales price. In many cases, finished hardwood flooring doesn’t make a home sell for more—but it does make it sell faster, which can have immense value.
4. Make sure you buy quality hardwood floors. Low-quality floors can go downhill to the point that the best option before a sale is complete replacement—and there goes your “investment.”
In some cases, the primary advantage of finished hardwood flooring in terms of home sales may be that you can sell your home faster, which is nothing to scoff at. But, although it’s not a given, you can most likely also offset some of the cost of hardwood floors when you sell your home.
Thank you for your interest. This promotion is now closed.
With our experience—and a state-of-the-art dust containment system—we are able to minimize the disturbance for homeowners when we refinish or install hardwood floors in an existing home. But even with the great care we take, there’s no getting around the fact that installation or refinishing can disrupt the normal routine of people living there.
So why be home at all?
Wouldn’t it be better to pack an overnight bag and kick back worry-free in a hotel while the work is done? Put up the “do not disturb” sign if you want. Sleep in. Lounge in the spa. Leisurely take in the local sites. Get away from the everyday. Then return home to be greeted by your reinvigorated home!
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
Relax While the Work Is Done
Well, that’s what we’re offering at Ralph’s Hardwoods. For eligible hardwood floor refinishings or installations in existing homes, we’ll treat you to a two-night stay at the Appleton Comfort Suites or the Green Bay Comfort Suites.
To be eligible, the project must be a minimum of $2,500.00. It must be scheduled for completion before Feb. 28, 2013, but that gives you plenty of time to get scheduled and enjoy your free stay. (The stay also must be before that date.) All you have to do is fill out this form and we’ll email you a redemption certificate that you can present to your Ralph’s salesperson. We’ll then mail you a gift certificate good at either Comfort Suites location mentioned above.
The Best Part of the Deal Will Be Waiting for You at Home
In the grand scheme of things, a stay in a hotel shouldn’t have any impact on your decision to refinish or install hardwood floors. The decision to invest in hardwood floors should be driven by an appreciation of how much long-term value and beauty hardwood flooring can add to your home.
We have a long history of superior customer service, and a soothing hotel stay while work is being done is simply our way of showing how much we value our customers. We hope you’ll contact us to discuss your hardwood flooring options, so you can experience for yourself the quality or our products, the skill of our work, and our dedication to customer satisfaction.
The hotel stay is the icing on the cake!
Remember how great your finished wood floors looked when they were new? Take a good look at them now. Do they still look as beautiful? Or have they become dull and scratched?
You may not have even noticed this wear and tear because it happened gradually and you see the floors every day. But people who visit your home will notice. It’s the same phenomenon that occurs when you haven't seen a niece or nephew for some time—people who see them every day may only be vaguely aware of how much they have changed, but to someone who hasn’t seen them in a while, the change is dramatic.
And worn-looking hardwood flooring isn’t just an aesthetic problem—it’s a sign that the finish is wearing off. If the finish gets too thin, water can turn the floor grey, and the wood is highly susceptible to other damage.
So what can you do to restore your finished hardwood flooring to its previous splendor and provide the necessary protection for the wood? Will hardwood floor sanding be necessary?
When Refinishing Is the Answer
There are cases when a worn floor will need to be re-sanded, or even replaced if there’s not a thick enough layer of wood to allow for sanding. But often you can restore the beauty and protection to your floors by simply recoating them, which is of course the less-expensive option.
If you think you can get by with recoating, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the floor have deep scratches, gouges, or areas of water damage in it? If so, hardwood floor sanding is called for. Recoating can’t fix or hide those problems.
- Have you cleaned your floor properly? Finished hardwood flooring should be cleaned with an approved cleaning product specifically designed for finished hardwood floors. If you’ve used oil soaps or furniture polish on your floor, the new finish can wrinkle or separate, so re-coating will not work and re-sanding is necessary.
- Do you want to change the color of your finished hardwood floors? To change the color of the stain, you’ll have to re-sand. That said, you can affect the appearance by recoating only. The finish determines the sheen—gloss, semi-gloss, satin, or matte— and tints in the finish can modify the color.
Of course, there are other considerations in deciding how to reinvigorate your finished hardwood floors. We’ll be glad to schedule an inspection to discuss your situation and determine whether recoating without sanding will do the trick.
Intuitively, it would seem that a 25-year-warranty for prefinished wood flooring means that the manufacturer is VERY confident in the durability of its finish.
But a closer look reveals that what appears to be a manufacturer's trust in its product and a guarantee of your purchase for the warranty period is often heavily weighted in the favor of the manufacturer.
Pay Attention to the Details
There are plenty of quality prefinished hardwood flooring manufacturers, and prefinished wood floors are an excellent choice for many homeowners, so we certainly would not discourage the purchase of them.
But before placing value on a lengthy warranty, carefully read it. You’ll often discover they fall short on coverage, but a wise consumer won't be fooled.
The Finer Details
Most warranties include a “wear through” provision that guarantees the finish won’t wear off more than a certain percentage of the floor. But that percentage is often as much as 10 percent of total square footage—and that’s a lot of messed-up floor to live with until the problem gets so bad that the warranty kicks in!
And finish “wearing through” is not the same as finish becoming dull. Loss of sheen is almost never covered, but what are you going to do? Live with dull floors?
You will want the floors refinished, but this will have to be paid for by you—not the manufacturer. And once the floors are refinished, the warranty is void.
Exclusions Limit Value
Situations that will void a typical prefinished flooring warranty are normal wear and tear your average family will inflict on a floor:
- Improper maintenance-Your teenage daughter cleaned with an unapproved cleaner.
- Improper installation-Installing your own floors or hiring an inexperienced installer can be a costly mistake.
- Fading caused by sunlight-Any hardwood floor will change color in sunlight, this is nearly unavoidable.
- Damage caused by pets-Pet nails will cause surface scratches in the finish and heavier pets can actually dent some hardwood floors.
- Damage caused by rough use-Tonka trucks, dropping soup cans, did we mention pets?
You Might Move
The average length of homeownership is roughly seven years. A warranty is only valuable to you as long as you own the home. Most warranties are not transferrable to new owners, therefore, the warranty adds no value to your home in the long run.
Don’t be misled by long warranties—A company's reputation will say far more about the quality of their floors than an overinflated warranty ever will.
New or refinished hardwood floors aren't difficult to care for. However, they can be damaged with improper cleaning techniques.
Child’s toys, pet nails, furniture legs, dirt brought in on shoes, high heels—these and many other things can scratch and dent floors. The finish on high traffic areas can wear relatively quickly and area rugs can prolong the life of finish. Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause finished wood floors to fade.
And all too often, well-meaning homeowners—in an attempt to maintain the beauty and sheen of their finished wood floors—do far more harm than good.
An Ounce of Prevention
Checking children's toys for sharp edges is a great way to protect your child and your floors. Keeping pet nails trimmed and ground smooth is the key to living with pets on a hardwood floor. Applying high quality felt floor protectors to the bottom of furniture legs helps reduce wear around tables and other areas where furniture slides on the floor. Strategic placement of area rugs in high traffic areas will help prolong finish life, and areas exposed to extreme sunlight should have rugs moved frequently to reduce uneven fading.
The Proper Way to Maintain Finished Wood Floors
To keep potentially damaging dirt and grit off you hardwood floors, you can sweep, dry mop (with a soft microfiber mop) or vacuum. Soft-bristled brushes are fine on vacuums as long as they aren’t rotating brushes meant for use on carpet.
For cleaning up spilled food and drinks, you can use paper towel or a soft cloth, being careful that it is only damp and not saturated with water. Or better yet, you can use a mop specially designed for use on hardwood floors, such as those manufactured by Glitsa. Whichever safe method you use, be sure to clean all spills immediately.
To keep your wood floors clean, use a product such as Glitsa Clean, which is designed for use on hardwood floors and won't cause damage. Never use waxes or oil-based cleaners, which can damage your floors to the point that they need resanding. And wait two to three weeks after a floor has been finished to use any cleaning products at all.
Follow Directions and Clean Often
The important thing to remember is that the wrong cleaning products and methods can ruin a floor’s finish. Know what type of finish you have and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, as well as the instructions for any products you use.
Dry mop, sweep, or vacuum to keep grit off the floor.
Wipe up spills as quickly as possible.
When necessary, use Glitsa Clean to keep your floors clean and beautiful.
...this will prolong the time before a new finish will need to be applied.
Treatments for maintaining your wood hardwood floors vary in cost, time, and effort, but one of the most common treatments is recoating. Less expensive than refinishing, recoating provides excellent protection for your floor and brings out hardwood's natural beauty.
Before you embark on recoating your wood floor, check out these 5 things you should know.
1. You don't need to recoat every year.
Time and wear are the enemies of your floor's finish and as you use your floor, surface scratches will appear and the finish will begin to dull. That being said, you don't need to re-coat the floor until finish shows real signs of wear (but don't wait until bare wood is showing!). This will happen somewhere between two to ten years depending on the amount of traffic and care your floor gets.
2. Recoating will not help every floor.
If you have been using cleaning products like oil soaps, waxes, or furniture polishes, there is a good chance a recoat will not work. Those cleaning products leave a residue and can cause the new coats of finish to wrinkle or separate. To avoid this we recommend you clean your floor with vinegar and water or with our cleaning solutions.
3. Recoating doesn't require sanding.
Recoating your wood floors doesn't mean we need to sand. A light screening is all that is needed prior to applying finish.
4. Recoating previously carpeted wood floors usually doesn't work.
Many mid-century homes were built with hardwood floors, but many of those floors were subsequently covered up with wall-to-wall carpeting. We do not recommend recoating in this situation. Many of these floors were covered because finishes were not what they are today and thus were a lot harder to maintain. Although today's finishes are incredible, most will not bond to the wax buildup usually present on previously covered floors. In this case we recommend a complete sanding to bring the floors back to their former glory.
5. Recoating can make your floors look new again.
In many cases recoating your floor will bring back it's orginal beauty. Our experienced sales team can look at your floor and determine if a recoating process will give you the result you are looking for.
If you have further questions about recoating wood floors, give us a call. We can take a quick assessment of your floor and determine what is necessary to restore it to its highest quality.
Photo by Nicolas Vigier. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.