Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

What’s the Difference Between Commercial & Residential Wood Flooring?

Commercial and residential floors are all susceptible to the same harshness, but because of the higher traffic in commercial setups, the wood flooring might need more attention than in a home. More people access a commercial building meaning that more pressure is exerted on the floor. Other than this, there is the likelihood of placing or even dropping heavy equipment on the floor and spillage. To ensure the floor remains strong and durable, different measures than those employed in a residential setup are needed.

The Need for a Stronger Floor

A commercial floor should be stronger than a residential one because of the amount of weight it is exposed to every day. Solid wood might be an excellent choice for the home floor but not ideal for commercial floors. A stronger alternative is required. Engineered wood flooring might be a better choice. It is stronger and can handle any amount of pressure even from heavy machinery. The wood is not made from one solid piece but multiple layers of veneers that make it more stable and strong. The wood does not expand quickly and can withstand harsh temperatures and humidity.

Commercial Flooring is Prone to More Moisture

Spillages and functions in the commercial building mean that the floor is prone to more moisture and humidity. Wood does not perform well in humidity or when exposed to too much moisture for a prolonged period. It will swell and start rotting. Floors made from engineered wood tend to withstand moisture and humidity more than solid wood. Its stability means that it expands and contracts less and does not swell.


Because of the higher traffic commercial flooring requires more cleaning than residential. Mud, debris, and spillages are common in a busy commercial set up. For this reason, the floor should be easy to clean. Sweeping and dusting are some the cleaning procedures you can employ. For stains, wipe with a wet clothe. There are detergents specifically made for wood floors you can use to clean occasionally.


Commercial floors require more care and maintenance practices than a residential floor. For this reason, a more stable material should be used. You do not want to change the flooring soon after installing it because it cannot withstand the pressure or it is too costly to maintain. One of the issues to consider is the ability to expand and contract when in different environments. This destroys wood floorings faster than any other cause.

Final Thoughts

There is a need for an engineered wood flooring to curb the effects of changing environmental conditions and moisture. When exposed to moist conditions, choose a surface finishing that is water resistant. You will also find that commercial and residential floors require different finishes. The commercial one can go for an acrylic impregnated finish that hardens floors but is not recommended for residential setups. The finishing is applicable in high-traffic areas. Wax and oil can also be applied to the finished floor in a commercial setup. These are just some of the differences you will encounter in commercial and residential floors.

General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

Best Moisture Barriers for Hardwood Flooring

When you are preparing to lay down your hardwood flooring, you want to ensure that you are getting everything right. Let’s face it; you don’t want to put in all this time and money on your beautiful hardwood floor and then have it messed up in a few months from buckling. Since moisture is the number one enemy of hardwood flooring, you should do all you can to prevent moisture from slipping in unannounced.

By adding a moisture barrier, you can protect your hardwood flooring and protect your investment in that flooring. While many choose to have a professional lay the flooring, some want to do it themselves. For all you DIYers, here is a little more information about the different flooring types and which kind of barriers are suitable for them.

Floating Floor Barriers

Floating floor barriers are just like the name implies. They are barriers that are made to protect floating floor types like laminate or tile. Since there are wooden tiles and laminate flooring nowadays, this is an option for many people. These barriers are typically made from plastic to protect against moisture. The plastic is simply laid before the flooring is placed on top.

If you intend to use wood subflooring, you do not need a floating plastic barrier because the subflooring needs room to breathe. Since your flooring will not be nailed or glued down, your barriers do not have to be thick, either. However, if you have other subflooring like cement, you should use plastic or paper to protect against the moisture that often accumulates in these conditions.

Nailed Floor Barriers

When you are installing nailed flooring, you want a barrier that will protect the subfloor as well as the flooring. By installing plastic sheeting on top of the dirt under the subfloor, you can protect your subflooring from getting too much moisture. Between your subfloor and your new hardwood, you can lay a special felt paper that helps to eliminate moisture from getting to the topmost layer of flooring.

Since you need to purchase two different types of protection in this situation, your budget might need to be raised to accommodate the extra expense. You can purchase this felt paper and plastic at most stores that sell flooring, like hardware stores or home improvement stores. Most stores will be able to cut the plastic and felt paper to your required length, making it easier on you. If you are unsure about what is needed for a project, check with a reputable flooring dealer first.

Glued Floor Barriers

Glued flooring is often installed to concrete subfloors. These subfloors typically gather a lot of moisture especially in moisture-rich areas where humidity or heavy rain is common. If you are preparing to glue down your wood flooring to a cement subfloor, you will need a heavy moisture barrier product. These work to protect your subfloor from sweating during humid days or accumulating water from heavy rain or spills.

The most common barriers for glued flooring is epoxy or resin to help seal out the moisture and prevent more from soaking through. You can buy the correct epoxy at home improvement stores or hardware stores. Usually, the epoxy is laid with a trowel, but you can DIY it by using special tools to lay the epoxy. Remember to give it plenty of time to dry completely before laying your flooring.


Some flooring comes with a built-in barrier that is great for different floors, especially floating flooring. You can even purchase barriers that have noise absorption like cork, which might even help to insulate your flooring. Before you purchase flooring or barriers, you should check for built-in barriers and also look at the subflooring to see which would be the better option for your home. If you are unsure take pictures and consult a reputable flooring professional to avoid expensive mistakes and learn more about choosing the best hardwood floors

Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor

The Best (and Worst) Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

What are the best rooms for hardwood? Is there anywhere it shouldn’t be installed? Hardwood flooring is classic, beautiful, and allergy-friendly, but it should not be ubiquitous! As you plan to upgrade your floors, here’s where hardwood flooring belongs, where it should be banned and why each is true. 

The Best Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

You’ll love the rich beauty of wood floors in these rooms, and you can install them without performance worries as long as you take proper care of your floors.

Hardwood in the Living Room? Yes! via @macwoods

Living room: Hardwood communicates the lifestyle homeowners enjoy sharing when hosting gatherings of family and friends. It stands up well to traffic, even if you forego a no-shoes policy when entertaining. The occasional oopsie spill won’t pose a threat when cleaned up promptly. 



Hardwood in the Dining Room? Yes! via @macwoods

Dining room: Whether your dining room is quite formal or has a casual vibe, there’s a hardwood flooring style that will enhance your room’s design maintaining durability over time. Adding soft pads to your chair and table feet reduces noise while protecting the hardwood finish.



Hardwood in the den? Yes! via @macwoods

Den: Hardwood floors accented with a large, comfy rug create a calm and cozy setting for unwinding with a book, casual conversation or a favorite show. It is safe to set your bookshelf on top of hardwood floors, and, as long as you don’t spill your wine on the floor, it will likely remain stain-free. 



Hardwood in your home office? Yes! via @macwoods

Home office: New Worker Magazine recently discussed the “increase in productivity attributed to hardwood floors,” and quoted TV producer Paula Rizzo saying, “Hardwood flooring generates positive emotions that help boost productivity.”  So, you never know! 



Hardwood in the Master Suite? Yes! via @macwoods

Master suite: Resisting the temptation to refer to our comments on the home office, we’ll say the obvious, that hardwood is rich, appealing and romantic. Throw in a toe-snuggling rug, love seat, and Barry White music, and a bodacious boudoir takes shape.



The Worst Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

Because of hardwood’s superior qualities, some have been enticed to install it everywhere… and have sorely regretted their rash choice! That is to say that you can install hardwood flooring in these rooms, but we would never recommend it.

Hardwood in the Bathroom? No! via @macwoods

Bathroom: Water is your floor’s nemesis. The results of letting these two face-off in the same room will not be pretty; neither will the bill to repair or replace. If you throw caution to the wind and choose hardwood for the bathroom, plan to repair and replace your floors often.



Hardwood in the Laundry Room? No! via @macwoods

Laundry room: If you never throw wet towels on the floor, never hang clothes to dry, never spill liquid detergent or cleaning fluids, can promise your clothes washer will never leak… oh, and the important one: you love to entertain in the laundry room,  go with laminate or tile in this room. Please!



Hardwood in the Foyer? No! via @macwoods

Foyer: “Mom and Dad, I want you to meet Tyler. He’s a cook at Taco Clown.” Hello hugs and goodbye kisses are exchanged here; The foyer or entryway is highly regarded space. But, NOTHING good happens to hardwood here: gritty sand is tracked in, moisture from wet shoes seeps into cracks… 



What About the Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen?

Should You Install Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen? via @macwoods


Kitchen: Homeowners who love hardwood flooring, especially those with open floorplans. Everyone wants to know if hardwood is OK for the kitchen.

We say, “Go for it… with a couple of caveats.”



  • Consider engineered hardwood because its plywood base layers handle moisture better than solid hardwood
  • Clean up spills promptly, like an NFL lineman diving on a fumble
  • Seal your floors with the regularity recommended by the manufacturer or installer
  • Never use a steam mop on hardwood (wherever it is installed)

Final Thoughts

Hardwood has a place in every fine home, but just not everywhere for everyone. Practicing these tips for the right and woring rooms for hardwood flooring should produce a fulfilling long-term relationship with nature’s most beautiful floors. Now, learn how to choose the best hardwood flooring for any home

Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Pets and Hardwood Flooring: Conflict or Coexistence?

Can pets and hardwood floors coexist? Well, both have been mainstays in homes for centuries, and experience has produced a wealth of wisdom about the pets vs hardwood conundrum. These tips for integrating pets and hardwood flooring will keep you happy, your floors looking fantastic and your pooch from sporting that sheepish, “Uh-oh, I’m in the doghouse now” posture.

Choose Hard Hardwood

That sounds like a brief stutter, but we mean exactly that. The hardness of hardwoods varies quite a bit on the Janka Hardness Test that engineers use to measure the force needed to dent wood with a small steel ball. As you see, some jobs are more fun than others.

The Janka rating of each flooring is usually listed in the marketing materials for hardwood sold in stores and online. Here’s a brief sampling of the hardness of available hardwood floors. The higher the Janka rating, the tougher the wood is and the better it will stand up to pet’s nails and potential stains, chair feet and dropped cast iron pans.

Janka Hardness Test for Hardwood Flooring
Original source: What is a Janka Rating and How Important is it?

If your floors are already installed, the softer your wood species is, the more precautions you need to take.

Add a Coat or Two of Finish

Keeping scratches out of the wood is the key to delaying the need for refinishing your floors. Your local flooring specialist will recommend the right coating or tough sealer that won’t change the appearance of the wood.

Now that we’ve prepared the floor for the introduction of a furry friend or two, these methods for how to integrate pets and hardwood flooring will make the mix pleasant.

Keep Pets Off Hardwood Until House Trained – or if Unwell

Until your cat decides the litter box is not beneath its dignity (rabbits will use a box too) and the dog learns to hold it until you open the back door, keep them off the hardwood. Use gates and closed doors for location control. Unpleasant warning: If any of your critters pee, poop or puke on the floor, clean up the mess promptly with a mild detergent solution, rinse with a damp cloth and dry the floor completely to prevent staining and moisture damage.

Trim Sharp Claws

The heavier your pet is, the more important it is to keep their nails trimmed. Squaring off sharp claws is more important than cutting them short, so trim gently. Note that rabbit nails get very sharp quickly, so frequent trimming might be necessary.

Reduce Romping on Hardwood

Hardwood will age fast if you frequently throw a Frisbee for Fido to fetch on it. Discourage kids from frolicking with the pets too. Excited kids and pets running, jumping and skidding around corners on the hardwood are… hard… on… the… wood. Outside is best for this type of play.

Improve Their Comfort Too

Perhaps you’ve placed a throw rug where you stand on your hardwood for long periods during duty kitchen duty or food preparation. To encourage your pets to be your kitchen companions, be sure to place a rug nearby for them. Just a little bonus tip to help your pets feel at home on hardwood without causing troubles for you.

For more tips on protecting your space while making your pets feel at home, check out this puppy-proofing guide from Apartminty.

Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

How to Maximize Longevity for Your Hardwood Floors

New flooring is a significant financial investment, so getting the greatest longevity from your existing floors is important, whether they’re new or have a few years of wear on them. The subject of this guide is how to make your floors last longer.

How to Get Maximum Wear from Your Flooring

Let’s look at today’s most common flooring types with “do’s and don’ts” for keeping them in good condition for many years to come.

  1. TLC for Carpeting

The key to long-lasting carpet is to keep it clean and go as easy as possible on it. Here’s how:

Carpet Care Do’s:

  • Vacuum the carpet at least weekly and as needed with a unit equipped with a powerful motor and rotating brush to remove deep-down dirt.
  • Shampoo the entire carpet once or twice per year, and treat spot stains as needed.
  • Place pads on furniture feet to prevent deep impressions in the carpet – especially on metal feet because they will rust and stain the carpet.
  • When spills occur, first, learn the proper techniques for cleaning them up; Secondly, clean them up immediately, right now, pronto and post haste.

Carpet Care Don’ts:

Don’t let pets within 15 feet of the carpet until they are house trained; The same goes for toddlers – in fact, it’s not a bad idea to keep adolescents and teens off the carpet too.

Don’t overdo the steam cleaning because some carpeting shrinks, and the seams pull apart

  1. Vital Vinyl Floor Care

Whether you have inexpensive sheet vinyl flooring or upscale luxury vinyl tile (LVT), these tips will keep it looking better longer:

Vinyl Care Do’s:

  • Sweep or vacuum and damp mop vinyl for general cleaning.
  • Use warm water to loosen stuck-on stains.
  • Remove excess water from LVT to keep it from seeping into seams.

Vinyl Care Don’ts:

  • If you vacuum the vinyl, turn off the rotating brush, aka beater bar, because it will mar the surface.
  • Don’t use harsh chemical cleaners on vinyl unless you’re tired of it and want to ruin it as an excuse to replace it with some gorgeous natural hardwood flooring.
  1. Lessons for Laminate Flooring

Treat laminate flooring like vinyl flooring, and definitely don’t use a steam cleaner on it. The harsh chemical cleaner trick isn’t as effective, but dropping lit cigars on laminate and removing minor stains with a belt sander will surely do the job.

  1. Hardwood How-to’s and How-not-to’s

Solid and engineered hardwood are gorgeous, elegant and luxurious, which is to say “we like them very much.” Take care of hardwood, and it will go 20+ years before needing to be refinished. Refinish it, and hardwood will look like new at a fraction of the cost! These hardwood floor care tips will help you keep the wow-factor on your hardwood floors.

Hardwood Care Do’s:

  • Sweep at least weekly and use a damp cloth on dirt spots as needed.
  • Turn the rotating brush off if you use a vacuum to sweep.
  • Keep wet, dirty shoes off the hardwood.
  • Switch to slippers or socks indoors.
  • Add protective pads to the feet of all furniture placed on hardwood flooring.
  • Pick up furniture when moving it rather than sliding it over the flooring.
  • Use a humidifier when running a forced-air furnace to maintain adequate moisture content in the wood and keep it from shrinking and causing gaps.

Hardwood Care Don’ts:

  • Don’t use mats with rubber backing because they will trap moisture against the wood.
  • Don’t use wax on wood unless you want a dull, grungy finish that collects dirt and debris.
  • Don’t use a steam mop because the hardwood will absorb the excess moisture, swell, split, buckle or exhibit other nasty reactions.

Common Sense Floor Care

They say that common sense is quite uncommon these days, but we don’t buy that, and we doubt you do either. That makes it easy for us to recommend common-sense floor care that begins with carefully following the floor maintenance tips provided by the manufacturer for your flooring. These floor care how-to instructions can be found online if you don’t have them. Beyond those guidelines, if your flooring…

  • Isn’t visibly dirty or dull
  • Doesn’t darken white socks or bare feet
  • Doesn’t smell bad
  • Isn’t coming apart at the seams

…then you’re probably taking good care of it. Don’t overdo it, keep the motto “as needed” in mind, and you’ll do a great job getting maximum longevity from your flooring.


Hardwood Flooring

Facts versus Myths — The Truth About Hardwood Floors

Wood floors have been used for their beauty since 1683 at Versailles. In the years since several myths about hardwood floors have become popular, but they’re mistaken. These myths have cost a lot of people a pretty penny, so let’s take a look at some of them and learn the facts about hardwood floors.

You Should Wax Your Hardwood Floors Regularly

Yes, this was once true, but it changed a long, long time ago. Floor finishes have evolved since then, making wax unnecessary. This was true in the early 20th century when floor finishes were often tung oil, which wasn’t very durable.

In the 1920s, alkyd resin was used to make varnishes more durable, and in the 1930s, polyurethane finishes were introduced to create the first no-wax floors. The finishes used on hardwood floors now are even more durable.

The fact is that unless the hardwood floor hasn’t been refinished since 1930, the floor shouldn’t be waxed. Waxing the floor makes it impossible to apply a fresh coat of finish when it’s needed, so the floor will need to be sanded down when the current finish is due for maintenance.

Besides, a waxed floor can be really slippery under stocking feet. It’s pointless to risk a fall in order to protect a finish that doesn’t need to be protected.

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor is a Good DIY Project

It has been done, of course. But the people who have done it have gotten results that are mixed, at best.

Tool rental shops usually have floor sanders for rent, but the equipment offered is not always the best, professional-grade tools. People who refinish floors for a living use the best tools that they can get, not rental equipment that has likely been abused

Hardwood flooring has a ‘wear layer’ that can be sanded away over the life of the floor to be refinished. An amateur is likely to take more wood off than is necessary, robbing themselves of years of the life of their floor. They also have a fair chance of damaging the floor, operating equipment that they’re not familiar with.

People with a home wood shop for a hobby can become remarkably skilled, with enough practice. But they don’t start out as experts, and they make plenty of mistakes while they’re learning. If they take on a new tool, without any experience or skill at maintaining flooring, they’re back to being a newbie again, with predictable results.

Even if someone does an amazing job of sanding the floor down and preparing it for a fresh finish, they won’t be able to get the best finishes. Those are not normally sold in the DIY market, they are usually sold to professionals. Finishes that are commonly available to DIYers won’t usually last as long as the finishes available to the pros.

Hardwood Floors are a Poor Choice For Kitchens

I may never understand why this myth got started, or why anyone would believe it. Hardwood floors are wonderful in kitchens. They’re warm, elegant, and certainly durable enough for the most-used room in everyone’s house. With the right choice of wood and finish, a hardwood floor is a fine choice for a kitchen.

A High-Quality Finish Will Prevent Scratching and Denting

Yes, some manufacturers of pre-finished flooring like to give that impression, but it’s simply not true. Some types of wood are more resistant to denting than others, but no wood is dent-proof.

Finishes are often excellent at resisting wear, but they don’t resist impact very well. In fact, you want a finish that will dent with the wood, to maintain the seal that the finish provides.

Scratch-proof flooring has not yet been invented. Drag something that’s hard and sharp across any type of flooring, even ceramic tile, and you’re going to see some damage done. No finish in the world will prevent that.

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