1.Why is the temperature and humidity of a house so important with wood flooring?
Keeping the temperature and humidity at recommended levels is one of the best ways to ensure the health and happiness of your hardwood floor. Wood is a natural material that reacts to changes in its environment, and your hardwood floor will react to changes in your home. So it is important to keep temperature and humidity at recommended levels at all times, even when the home is unoccupied. The recommended levels are temperature at 60 to 80 degrees F (15 to 26 degrees C) and humidity at 30 to 50%.
2.There are gaps between the boards of my floor which weren’t there before – what is causing that?
Typically, ’gapping’ occurs when the humidity in the house falls below the recommended level. The floor boards dry out and shrink slightly, creating gaps between the boards. This often occurs in the winter when the heating system is working, drying out the air. It can usually be cured by increasing the humidity in the home.
3.Do I need to have a humidifier in my home if I have hardwood flooring?
The need for a humidifier depends very much on the climate in which you live and the heating conditions you choose for your home. Humidifiers are seldom necessary in temperate climates, but in cold, dry regions they are very helpful in keeping the humidity levels at a comfortable level. In such cases, the installation of a humidifier has the added benefit of making the home more comfortable for people and pets as well as the hardwood flooring!
4.My floor makes noise when I walk on it – is that normal?
A certain amount of noise is normal in many hardwood floors. Because wood expands and contracts with changes in heat and humidity, the floorboards continually build up small amounts of stress at various places in the joints which are released with small noises, usually when the floor is walked on. That noise – the good ‘crackle’ of a real wood floor – should be random and occasional.
If your floor is making a noise that is regular, constant and always occurs in the same place, you probably have an installation issue. Have your installer examine the problem.
5.My flooring looks lighter in color than the sample I viewed in the store. Is that normal?
Yes, this is normal. Most types of wood change color when they are exposed to daylight, and hardwood flooring is no exception. The change is most obvious on natural colored floors, and some species change color more than others. Usually, the color becomes deeper, richer, and more even. Over time, your newly installed wood flooring will ‘age’ and the color will deepen. You may want to periodically rearrange furniture and area rugs so that the entire floor area gets exposed to light and colors evenly.
6.How do I clean my Kentwood floor?
Kentwood floors are factory finished with an advanced polyurethane finish that is both durable and easy to care for. (NOTE: a few styles of Kentwood products are finished with oil based finishes. These require a different care & maintenance routine.) Basic cleaning involves two simple procedures.
Sweep or vacuum the floor frequently to remove loose dust and grit. This is very important to the long term performance of the floor and its finish. Small particles of loose grit act like sandpaper on the surface, wearing it down over time and dulling the gloss. Regular sweeping or vacuuming will help keep these harmful particles off the floors. (Having mats at entryways is a good way to keep grit off the floor as well.)
Day to day wear will ‘dull’ the floor as dirt and oils get deposited onto the surface. To clean these away, use a cleaning solution specially formulated for prefinished hardwood floors, like Kentwood’s Therapy Spray Cleanser. Follow the product instructions.
7.The finish on my floor is really worn down and dull looking. What can I do to restore it?
If the finish has become dull simply from daily wear, a cleaning with Kentwood Therapy Spray Cleanser should be enough to bring back its luster.
If the dullness is the result of fine, tiny scratches in the finish, then you may want to consider a ‘recoat’. This should be done by a professional hardwood flooring technician. Your dealer can recommend someone for this. For more details, see the ‘REPAIRING AND REFINISHING A HARDWOOD FLOOR’ section.
8.Can I use vinegar and water to clean the floor?
An occasional cleaning with a vinegar and water solution is okay, particularly if there is a greasy residue on the surface of the floor. However, vinegar is an acid and if used over an extended period of time it may alter the gloss level of the floor.
9.What kinds of products should NOT be used on a Kentwood floor.
The following products should not be used on your Kentwood floor:
- detergents, oils, waxes, polishes, bleach, scouring agents
- ‘all in one floor cleaners’
- oil soaps
These products will either damage the finish, or leave residues that will dull the appearance of the floor.
10.Can I use a steam cleaner on the floor?
No! Steam cleaners should never be used on a wood floor. The combination of heat and moisture and pressure could be very damaging to the wood. For similar reasons, never use a wet mop or cloth when cleaning the floor, always use a damp mop or cloth only.
11.Something scratched the surface of the floor and left a white mark. Can it be fixed?
Scratches that show as white lines are usually superficial abrasions into the finish on the floor surface. The best treatment for these is a product called 'Tibet Almond Stick', available from your Kentwood dealer.
Deeper scratches that penetrate the finish and go into the actual surface of the wood itself may need a touch up kit, consisting of a colored marker and spot finisher. Your Kentwood dealer should be able to provide you with this,
12.I dropped a heavy object on the floor and it left a dent in the wood. Can this be fixed?
Unfortunately, there is no real remedy to repair a dent in the wood. The only real solution is to replace the damaged board.
13.Is it possible to replace a damaged section of the floor?
Usually, yes. It depends on the extent and nature of the damage. If the damage is just to one or two boards, they can probably be replaced. This is a job for a professional installers. (It’s also an excellent reason to keep a few spare boards that were left over after the installation.) The new boards will probably be lighter in color than the others but they will ‘age’ to match the rest of the floor in time. Likewise the new boards may appear to have a slightly different gloss level than the surrounding boards. Replacing a whole section of flooring is more difficult as a new order of flooring may not look exactly the same as the previously installed batch. Consult your dealer to see if the product specifications have changed since the original purchase.
14.Can my floor be refinished?
A hardwood floor can usually be refinished in two ways. A buff & recoat is an effective way to refresh a floor on which the finish has become scuffed and scratched over time. It involves a very thorough cleaning followed by a new coat of polyurethane finish. (Sometimes a bonding agent is required to ensure the new coat of finish adheres to the old one.) With a buff & recoat, the floor’s original finish is not compromised in anyway and the finish warranty remains in effect.
If the finish has been completely worn away or otherwise damaged, it may be possible to have the floor refinished. This involves sanding away the entire finish until the hardwood is exposed, then applying several layers of new polyurethane finish to the entire floor. Whether a particular floor can be refinished – and how many times it can be refinished – depends entirely on the specific style of flooring. To find out if your syle of Kentwood floor can be refinished, consult your dealer. Once a floor has been refinished, the original finish warranty is no longer valid. Both of these procedures should only be performed by qualified professional wood flooring refinishers.