Once you have installed your floors, whether solid or engineered, site finished or prefinished you now have to think about which maintenance practices are right for you and which repair procedure to choose when damage occurs.

For many customers, the thought of moving all of the furniture around and relocating for a couple of days for a refinish job is a nightmare – and justified, since refinishing can take several days and be very smelly if you have an oil based finish. Many customers do not seem to know however, that there are a couple of things that you can do to prevent an early refinish job. You can be careful and protect your floors before damage even occurs, and if and when damage appears, you can always choose to tackle them before they become more severe and difficult to repair.

In terms of maintenance… Always make sure to remove dirt and grit off your floors. This means that shoes and all other dirt “vehicles” must go. The tiny little particles of dust and dirt can scratch the floors, so remove shoes when walking on the wooden floors. Another thing to keep in mind is that heels should not be worn on your wood floors. The localized pressure the heel causes on the floors can not only scratch but break the wood boards.

Everyone remembers being yelled at one time or another for pushing chairs on the floor and not lifting them. Not surprisingly, there is a reason why chairs shouldn’t be pushed or rolled around your bare floor: they can scratch and cause severe damage to your finish. Realistically, pushing chairs around is still going to happen; especially when kids, neighbors, and neighbor’s kids are around. But fear not, there is a way! You can purchase and use protective felt pads for furniture feet and or area rugs. These pads will cushion furniture feet and protect your floors and even give your ears a break from the screeching noises.

Carpets and rugs work …. If placed correctly. When placing rugs around the house, remember their purpose: to capture grit, water, dirt and other particles. It is a good idea to have them by entrance doors, by sinks and areas of high traffic like a dining room for example – this will trap the water that spills and the salt and dirt that may come in your shoes.

Your options will vary based on the extent of the damage you have. If your floor has light scratches and is looking a bit washed off, you can do a screen and recoat. If you have deep scratches, discoloration due to sun exposure on stains you will have to re sand and refinish.

Screen and re-coat is not a “light sand.” This is simply scruffing off the top layer of your finish, and applying another fresh layer of finish. You should note that nothing is done to the stain, and much less the wood itself – only the finish. The stain is the portion responsible for the color of your floor (if you used a stain). Therefore buffing your floor won’t allow you to change the stain color. Refinishing requires SANDING your floors which removes the finish and stain, and leaves you wood grain exposed ready to be treated with fresh stain and fresh finish. Make sure to have a professional give you advice on which option is best for your floors.

Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your opinions, comments and questions.

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