Don't Ruin Your Floor

It’s time to finish up our spring cleaning and start enjoying the season. Let’s conclude with the living areas and dining room:

Vacuum, dust and wipe down all surfaces. Be sure to vacuum or wash curtains and window treatments.

Dust fans and tall shelves—Use an extendable duster on hidden, hard to reach areas such as ceiling fans, bookshelves, and china cabinets. 

Clean upholstery—Upholstered seating is a haven for dust mites, so it’s critical to give them a deep clean. Call in an expert or buy or rent an upholstery-cleaning machine and allow it to air dry completely.  

Now For Your Hard Surface Floors:
First, check the legs of all furniture to see if the floor protectors need to be replaced and replace them as needed.  

It is now time for a thorough sweeping or vacuuming of your floors. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar or hard head on hardwood floors. The plastic and/or metal parts can scratch the floor. The vacuum head should be brush or felt; a wand attachment is preferable.

Be careful as you move furniture and appliances. Do not drag heavy pieces. You may need to use large pieces of cardboard or something similar to move the heavier items onto to protect the floors underneath. Many people move the refrigerator to clean behind and under it as part of their spring cleaning. Do not merely roll the refrigerator out. The weight of the refrigerator can easily indent the floor. You need to move the refrigerator onto something so you are not rolling it directly on the floor. Use a large piece of cardboard, a thin piece of plywood or a piece of carpet with the fiber side down. Over the years we have seen many hardwood and vinyl floors damaged from moving a refrigerator.

Use good quality doormats at all of your exterior doors and replace them as needed.

Hardwood Floors
Damp mop as needed using a hardwood floor mop and approved hardwood floor cleaner. Do not use oil, wax, or ammonia based cleaners as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These will also affect the ability to recoat your floor.

Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.

TIP: Just because something says it is for hardwood floors does not mean it should be used on the floor. Read the ingredients carefully. We are amazed by what various internet sources state to clean wood floors with. Do NOT use Orange Glo, Goof Off, bubble bath, steam mops, Windex, ammonia, dish soap, Pledge, vinegar, Pine Sol, Mr. Clean, Mop and Glo, Rejuvenate, tea, Simple Green, or similar products. Only use cleaners made by wood floor manufacturers like Armstrong, Mohawk or Bona.

Now is also a good time to look closely at your floors to determine if it is time for another coat of polyurethane. Start with the areas that get the most foot traffic. Are these areas duller than the wood in areas that do not get as much traffic? Do you see light scratches in the finish? If you can see superficial scratches and all the traffic lanes are visible, it is time to recoat your wood floors. Most floors are in need of another coat of polyurethane every five years or so; in some homes, another coat may be needed every 12-18 months. If you wait too long, a screen and a coat will not be effective; the floors will need to be refinished.

There is not much you need to do to a luxury vinyl or laminate floor as part of your spring cleaning. Vacuum thoroughly and clean using the product recommended by the manufacturer of your floor. Then enjoy how easy it is to maintain your LVP or laminate floor!

But Don’t Ruin Your Floors
Steam mops are very popular and “they” say steam mops can be used safely on hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile floors, but did you know there is a great chance you’ll actually damage your floors by using a steam mop?  Many flooring manufacturers even state that the use of a steam mop voids the product warranty.  

Why? you may wonder. One of the major criticisms about steam mops is that they often leave too much water behind. When water gets into a wood floor, it puffs the grain. The steam and/or water will be absorbed into worn areas and can also penetrate a scratch even through the thickest finish. Water will then be absorbed very quickly and cause the wood to warp. 

With luxury vinyl and laminate floors, the edges of the planks are unsealed, and water may eventually penetrate. You may be OK with light and careful use, but be aware that most flooring manufacturers state they have not tested their products with the specific combinations of heat and moisture that these machines produce and cannot recommend or warranty their use. The cleaning pads on some steam mops can also leave scratch marks.  

You may have thought you were safe to use a steam mop on your tile floors. Sorry, but the combination the acid and enzyme cleaners that are typically used will cause the grout to become soft and permanently damaged. Steam can be very dangerous not only to the product but also to the adhesives, grout, and setting materials. 

You may not see any negative impact at all when using a steam mop but that’s because it’s hard to tell with the naked eye that the floor is being damaged. It might be a few years down the road before you notice you’re not seeing that pretty shine you had when the floor was installed. You can’t undo that damage. 

So why do the steam mop manufacturers say they are safe? It’s simple---these companies want to sell their product.  If you are considering using a steam mop, please find and read the mop’s warranty---chances are it only covers defects in the mop itself and includes language that excludes your flooring. When you have a problem, the responsibility will go back on you for not having followed the care instructions from the manufacturer of your flooring. So, unless the steam mop manufacturer guarantees in writing that it won’t harm your surfaces and will replace your floor if it is damaged, you should not use one.

Design Tip
Outdoor curtains are the “it” look for this spring and summer. Most are waterproof, include tiebacks, and utilize grommets for easy installation. Choose from sheer or “blackout” based on the amount or privacy you want. If you have a covered porch, pergola, or a deck with supports to attach a rod to, this is a very inexpensive way to dress up your outdoor space. 

How Much Does It Cost?
Ummmm, more every month. We are on our third wave of 2021 price increases from some of our manufacturers, and it’s only May. Raw materials are in short supply, freight is going up up up, labor costs are rising – it’s a perfect storm of high demand and low supply. If you have not purchased flooring (and most home improvement products) in years, expect sticker shock. Experts don’t expect to see pricing stabilize until the global supply change recovers, probably in 2022.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Not exactly flooring, but close. Here’s a recent review from Cindy in Marietta:
“What a pleasure this company is to deal with!! Great selection and excellent customer service. They installed the countertop and tile backsplash in our kitchen. Debra (Installation Manager) is a gem! Their contractors arrived on time and were very pleasant to deal with. The "Big Box Store" doesn't come close! Go local - you won't be disappointed!!”
Thank you for the kind words, Cindy. Your kitchen looks great. We know you will enjoy it for years to come!

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