Monthly Archives: March 2017

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Though hardwood flooring has been around for quite some time, there is still some confusion about the best way to maintain it. One of the biggest problems that people come across when it’s time to clean it is that there are so many different types of hardwood available, and some finishes require different care than others. Hardwood cleaning is far from rocket science, however, and with the right materials, tools, and guidelines, anyone can see great results.

To Best Clean Hardwood, Get Professional Advice

First off, when you get a new hardwood floor installed, it is a good idea to ask the folks doing the job about what should and shouldn’t be used to on your floor. In most cases, they will be able to give you a good idea of what to purchase and the techniques they would use as professionals to clean your particular type of flooring.

Unfortunately, most people who are looking for advice on hardwood floor cleaning are simply not around for the installation of their floor (and many times, the floor was installed a generation or two too early for the installers to be asked questions about its care today). You may want to talk to a professional who specializes in restoration about hardwood cleaning, especially if your floor was installed many years ago.

Engineered and Laminate Hardwood Floor Cleaning

Probably the easiest type of cleaning is not really hardwood cleaning, at all. Engineered lumber and laminate flooring were created to have the appearance of wood (and in the case of engineered products, a surface of genuine wood) without all of natural hardwood’s complications. Both products require a quick sweep, vacuum, or dust mop a few times a week, and each can be damp mopped so long as a minimal amount of water is used. Neither product should be wet mopped, waxed, or sanded. Make sure to clean up spills ASAP, and avoid soap based detergents and “mop and shine” type products, as they can leave a film on the surface of these floors.

Classic Hardwood Cleaning

Though new hardwood floors are generally sealed with urethane, you can still easily find classic wax sealed hardwood flooring in older houses. In these situations, hardwood cleaning can be a bit of a chore. Once again, clean up spills immediately to prevent stains. These floors are particularly vulnerable to liquid, so it’s never a good idea to use a wet or even a damp mop to clean them. Vacuum, sweep, or dust mop often to prevent scratches caused by tracked in dirt, and periodically buff the floor to make it shine. These floors sometimes need to be partially sanded and re-waxed to remove individual stains. Once wax builds up thick enough and floors loose their luster, the wax must be stripped and a new layer of wax should be applied.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors Sealed with Urethane

Modern, urethane sealed hardwood floor cleaning is a lot like cleaning engineered or laminate floors. These, however, are more susceptible to moisture damage, and shouldn’t be mopped. Never wax a urethane sealed floor, as it can severely damage the finish, or even void your warranty. Urethane finishes are more durable than wax finishes, but can still be scratched. It is a good idea to vacuum, sweep or dry mop frequently to prevent damage.

Find the Perfect Flooring

Finding the perfect flooring can be downright daunting. Not only are there hundreds of options to choose from, but there are also a number of important factors to consider with regard to each — practicality, durability and cost to name a few. Don’t let the decision-making get you down. We’ve compiled a handy summary of the most popular flooring materials — as well as a snapshot of the pros, the cons and the costs of each — to help you choose the best flooring material for your home.

Hardwood

You can’t beat the beauty, durability and versatility of hardwood flooring and its engineered counterparts. Not only is hardwood flooring easy to maintain and restore, but it can also be styled and stained to complement every taste. The downside to solid hardwood is that it’s highly susceptible to water damage. Also, softer varieties may scratch easily, making them less practical for households with dogs and kids.

Perhaps the greatest downside to hardwood flooring is its cost. According to our True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $2,619 and $6,446 to install hardwood flooring. The cost of your hardwood installation project will depend largely on the type of wood you choose and the square footage of your flooring area. The good news is that, in most cases, hardwood flooring will also increase the resale value of your home.

Carpet

Carpet is comfortable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for bedrooms and living areas. One benefit of carpet is that there are many styles, colors and textures to choose from. Another is that it provides increased insulation and helps to minimize sound. Disadvantages of carpet include its vulnerability to stains and water damage (it’s best not to install carpet in bathrooms), as well as its tendency to collect particles known to aggravate allergies and respiratory conditions.

According to our True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $752 and $2,304 to install carpeting. The cost of your carpeting project will depend on the quality of the carpet you choose and the square footage of the area to be carpeted. Another (often overlooked) cost consideration is carpet padding. While installing new padding will add to the overall cost of your project, it will also add to the comfort and longevity of your floor.

Ceramic And Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile are well suited for any space. In fact, with the introduction ofwood plank tile (tile that resembles hardwood), they’ve become increasingly popular for use in main living areas. The upside to ceramic and porcelain is that there are many attractive options that require little to zero maintenance (apart from regular mopping and occasional repair). The downside is that they can be cold on bare feet. Fortunately, the installation of radiant heat below ceramic and porcelain tiles can make them a warmer and more comfortable flooring option.

Not all tiling projects are created equal. The cost of your project will depend on the tile you choose and the square footage of the flooring area. Additional factors, such as sub-flooring and the inclusion of intricate patterns or designs, may also affect your project’s cost. According to our True Cost Guide, most homeowners report spending between $925 and $2,363 to install ceramic or porcelain tile flooring.

Natural Stone

Natural stone flooring — including granite, marble, travertine and limestone — is as classic and stunning as it comes. Unfortunately, it’s also as high-maintenance as it comes. While extremely durable, natural stone is also both soft and porous, making it susceptible to scratching and staining. For this reason, all natural stone must be kept free of dirt and spills, and it must also be periodically resealed to maintain its condition. Well-maintained, natural stone materials will preserve beautifully for decades.

The cost of your natural stone installation will depend on the square footage of your flooring area, as well as the material you choose. (Some natural stone is exceptionally expensive compared to other varieties.) Like ceramic tile projects, natural stone projects may require additional sub-flooring, as well as time and consideration to extras such as intricate patterns or designs. It’s also a good idea to consider the cost of ongoing upkeep when considering natural stone. Most homeowners report spending between $922 and $2,735 to install natural stone flooring, according to our True Cost Guide.

Vinyl And Linoleum

Vinyl and linoleum have come a long way in the last 20 years. They’re still the most affordable flooring materials, but they no longer look the part. One upside to vinyl and linoleum is that they wear well and are resistant to water and stains. Another is that there are a variety of modern and stylish options to choose from — many of which are easy to install and repair DIY. The downside to vinyl and linoleum is that they are susceptible to peeling and tearing. Also, while highly practical, the materials will do nothing to increase the resale value of your home.

According to our True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $712 and $1,632 to have a professional install vinyl and linoleum flooring. The cost of your installation will depend on the material you choose, the condition of any existing subflooring and the square footage of your project area.

Not Sure Which Flooring to Choose?

Ultimately, the best flooring for your project will depend on your budget and lifestyle. Give careful consideration to how you’ll use the room in which you’re installing flooring, as well as to how much effort you’re willing to put into ongoing maintenance. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the perfect flooring for your project.

EASY FLOOR CARE TIPS

It’s always exciting to shop for – and buy – a new floor. But to keep it looking like new, you’ll want to make sure you take care of it.

For the best results, always clean your floors regularly with the proper products. Armstrong floor care products are ideal for regular and heavy-duty cleaning for all types of floors. Now, you may be wondering why you should buy Armstrong floor care products. The simple answer is – they work.

In addition:

  • They’ve been tested and proven in the lab and on thousands of residential floors.
  • They’re specially formulated to work on Armstrong floors and other floors.
  • They’re engineered to be environmentally friendly, so you get a great-looking floor without dumping harsh chemicals down your drain.
  • By using the proper cleaning products, you will help protect your flooring investment for years to come.

Let’s get started! Armed with your mop, bucket and cleaning products, follow these tips to keep your floor looking great for years.

Hardwood & Laminate Floors
First, dry mop or vacuum your hardwood or laminate floor, then clean your wood floor with Armstrong Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner in the spray bottle. It comes in a ready-to-use, no-rinse formula, and it’s suitable for all gloss level finishes.

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #1: Dry mopping is the best way to clean hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. Any type of liquid cleaner could damage the floor.

Truth: Dry mopping is fine for a quick dusting, but if all you do is dry mop, you will eventually grind the dirt into the surface of the floor. Use only cleaning products specifically designed for hardwood or laminate to remove soil.

Wood Floor Cleaning Myth #2: Concentrated cleaning products are fine for hardwood floors. Just add water and go.

Truth: Never use any cleaner that requires you to introduce water to hardwood floors – even sealed floors. Water will seep into and around the planks and cause serious damage to your floor.

Using these helpful tips, you’ll have a bright, sparkling floor in no time!

TIPS TO INSTALL HARDWOOD FLOORING

If you’ve installed any type of floor before or have average DIY skills, you can install a hardwood floor successfully. All you need is the right floor system, preparation, tools, and installation instructions.

From leveling the subfloor to installing trims and moldings, there’s a lot to know when it comes to how to install hardwood floors. Fortunately, a hardwood installation project can be broken down into three manageable steps: preparation, installation, and finishing.

Hardwood Floor Installation Overview

Preparation – Before you begin, carefully read the detailed installation instructionson how to install hardwood floors included with your product.

  • Gather together the recommended tools and materials.
  • Be sure the subfloor is dry, clean, and flat.
  • Gently remove wall base, millwork, or trim you’ll re-use.
  • Properly acclimate the hardwood according to the instructions.

Installation – Have all your materials and tools easily accessible.

  • Roll out the underlayment recommended for your hardwood floor.
  • Lay floor pieces parallel with the longest wall in the room.
  • Begin on the left side and work right, with the small tongue side facing the wall.
  • Use spacers between boards and walls to allow for expansion.

Finishing – The finishing details can make or break the success of a professional-looking job, so don’t cut corners here.

  • For the last row, you may have to cut boards lengthwise.
  • Trace for contours to be cut and fitted according to installation guide.
  • After installing the last row, remove spacers.
  • Attach trim and moldings.

For more detailed instructions, download the flooring installation guide for your product.