Lane Hardwood Floors

Wood Flooring Repair | Seattle, WA

Lane Hardwood Floors provides unparalleled wood flooring repair and refinishing throughout Seattle, Shoreline, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Edmonds, Redmond and the surrounding areas of Washington. Hardwood products, millwork, and exotic woods can add great value to a home or building, but they also require maintenance and care in order for them to last a lifetime. Our professional team provides expert repair, refinishing, and maintenance to existing floors and millwork. We invite you to read below to learn more about caring for your wood floors. Contact us today if you are in need of professional wood floor repair or refinishing.

What can you buy today that will last a lifetime with minimal care?

We get new cars every six or eight years, and they require plenty of service and repairs along the way; new appliances barely last a dozen years. But solid hardwood flooring, furniture and millwork can last a lifetime in every room of the house. And, solid hardwood products are easy to take care of in any room of the house and require very little care to maintain their good looks and serviceability.

Hardwood Flooring is the Healthy Choice for Any Room

In addition to their distinctive beauty and lasting value, hardwood floors are often recommended by doctors because they trap less animal dander, dust, pollen, mites and mold –all of which can trigger respiratory problems. Natural hardwood floors can make it easier for you to reduce home allergens, while your rooms remain warm and inviting.

Following a few simple rules can keep floors looking great with minimum maintenance:

  • Place floor mats at entrances to trap dirt.
  • Sweep floors weekly with brooms that have fine, exploded ends that trap dust and grit.
  • Vacuum cleaners aren’t just for carpets.
  • Water and liquids can damage the floor’s finish.
  • Go over a hardwood floor weekly with multi-surface vacuums.
  • Wipe up spills, pet accidents, and other mishaps as soon as possible.

Kitchens were once considered out-of-bounds for solid hardwood flooring. Today’s urethane finishes make hardwood floors an attractive choice that is easy to maintain and keep clean. Special finishes even permit hardwood floors and tub surrounds in the bath. They offer water resistance that old-fashioned versions never could..

Hardwood Kitchen and Bath Cabinets Offer Convenience

Cabinets featuring solid hardwood are easy to maintain and keep clean. Today’s finishes allow hardwood doors, drawer fronts and face frames to withstand normal wear and tear and everyday household abuse.

A few simple tips will keep them looking great:

  • Dust cabinet surface panels and drawers regularly with a soft cloth or feather duster.
  • Clean as needed with a mild non-alkaline soap.
  • Wipe away grease, spills or hand prints with a damp sponge or cloth.
  • Always dry cabinets immediately with a soft cloth and buff lightly, following the direction of the grain.

Moldings Make a Difference

Woodwork does for a home what a fine frame does for a painting. Woodwork options include paneling, wainscoting, window casings and sills, doors and door jambs, staircases, fireplace mantels and shelving. Solid hardwood woodwork is preferred for its natural and distinctive look and easiness to repair. It holds nails well, miters easily, and readily accepts stains and protective finishes.

Upkeep is easy, too, with hardwood mouldings and trim:

  • Clean and dust to restore luster to the finish and to protect the wood.
  • Repair scratches by sanding out with a fine grade of paper and restaining with a matching color finish.

Abundant in Nature

Environmentally conscious consumers should know that, according to the US Forest Service, the volume of American hardwoods is 90 percent larger than it was just 50 years ago, and nearly twice as much hardwood grows as is harvested each year.

Reviving the Dull Finish on a Hardwood Floor

You may be able to renew a dull finish without completely refinishing the floor. Still, some hardwood floor manufacturers recommend that only professional refinishers tackle the job.

If you decide to do it yourself, begin by sweeping with a good broom and then vacuuming the surface. Next, use a buffer with an abrasive pad and/or fine-grit sand paper until the finish feels smooth. Another option would be to use a rectangular oscillating sanding machine. Hand-sand any areas that remain rough or irregular. Keep in mind that you want to lightly sand the top coat of the finish, not sand through it. Remove dust by sweeping, vacuuming and wiping the floor with a lint-free towel slightly dampened with water. (Make sure the towel has not been treated with fabric softener or anything else.) Allow the floor to dry completely before applying a single coat of polyurethane finish. Check with the manufacturer of the new finish if you’re not sure it’s compatible with the finish already on the floor.

For a waxed floor, apply a mineral-spirit based renovating product and buff with a No. 1 steel wool pad. Allow the floor to dry completely. Next wax and buff. Keep in mind that these steps will brighten the appearance of the finish, not lighten the wood itself.

Hardwood Floor Care – General Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some general do’s and don’ts to help keep your hardwood floor looking like new:

Enemy Number 1: Water

Regardless of its finish your floor will quickly lose its luster if exposed to water. More serious damage is also possible, including warping and other problems.

DO: Wipe up any spills immediately with a soft, dry cloth, starting at the edges of the spill and working your way toward the center.

DO: Check with the manufacturer to find out if your steam cleaner is appropriate for use on your wood floor. Some models are designed for use on hardwood floors. Others are not. Remember that water is wood’s No. 1 enemy. If the finish is worn or scratched, steam could seep into your wood floors, eventually causing damage.

DON’T: Let water stand on your floor, or use wet cloths for clean up.

DON’T: Do not mop sealed-and-waxed floors, not even with a slightly damp mop.

Banish Dirt, Dust and Grit

Dirt, dust and grit can also damage your hardwood floor. Tracking dirt, dust, and grit can dull its finish and cause scratches that can only be repaired by refinishing the floor.

DO: Sweep your floors regularly. Invest in a good broom that features exploded tips to trap dust and dirt, not simply spread it around. Dust mops can also be helpful in keeping dirt, dust, and grit under control.

DO: Vacuum frequently, using a canister vacuum with special hardwood floor attachments.

DON’T: Use an upright vacuum with beater bars. They can cause dents in your floor’s finish.

DON’T: Use any dust treatment unless it is approved by your floor’s manufacturer. The wrong treatment can make your floor dull and cause problems the next time you refinish.

DO: Use doormats at the entrances of your home to help trap dirt and grit. Clean them regularly.

Area Rugs

DO: Use area rugs or small sections of carpet placed inside doorways and in areas like kitchens where spills are likely to occur.

DON’T: Use throw rugs with rubber or vinyl backing without checking to determine if they will affect your floor’s finish. Some materials in the backing can react with certain floor finishes, discoloring or causing the finish to become dull.

DON’T: Let even damp throw or scatter rugs sit on the floor. Check the rugs frequently and make sure damp rugs are removed.

DO: Move your area carpets or throw rugs occasionally to maintain a uniform appearance in the floor’s finish.

Sunlight

The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause discoloration over time.

The ultraviolet rays that can burn and age our skin will affect any organic material, including wood. That’s why the finest art collections are kept in rooms without windows. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will change the color of virtually any wood floor, regardless of the stain or finish. Some woods lighten when exposed to sunlight. Others, like cherry and oak, tend to darken. The newest water-based urethane finishes seem to slow color changes more effectively than oil-based urethane finishes, which tend to turn the brownish-yellow color of amber. Some finishes feature sunscreens to help block the penetration of ultraviolet rays, extending the time it will take the wood to change.

DO: Protect your floors by using sheer drapes, curtains, or blinds to limit sunlight.

Furniture

DO: Place glides made of felt or some other fabric under the legs of furniture to prevent scratches. Clean the glides regularly to ensure that dust and grit do not become imbedded.

DO: Use barrel-type casters instead of ball casters to prevent dents.

DO: Use non-marking rubber casters instead of plastic or metal.

DO: Lift furniture when moving it to avoid scratches in the floor’s surface.

Shoes

DO: Make sure there are no exposed nails or metal heel supports on shoes that could scratch or dent the floor.

DO: Check shoes with soles that have deep treads to ensure that any trapped dirt or gravel won’t scratch or dent the floor.

DO: Be aware that high heels can dent a hardwood floor.

What Finish Is On Your Hardwood Floor?

Sometimes you just have to start at the finish, floor finish, that is. The finish on your hardwood floor will tell you a lot about your floor and how to care for it. Before you make any investment in floor care products or think about refinishing your floor, you must first determine what type of finish it has.

There are two major categories of floor finishes. Surface finishes such as polyurethane form a protective layer over the floor. Penetrating finishes do as their name implies; they are absorbed into the floor and are topped off by a coat of floor wax. So, how can you tell which type you have? Here are some tips:

Surface Finishes

Urethane is one of the most common finishes in use today. An easy way to determine if your floor has a polyurethane finish is to select an inconspicuous area and apply a small amount of paint remover to the floor surface. If the finish bubbles up it is most likely a surface finish. You can also try scraping up a bit of the finish with a sharp blade (also in an area hidden from view). If you are successful in scraping up a clear material, the finish is likely a surface finish.

Penetrating Finishes

Run your hand over the floor surface. Can you feel the wood grain? If so, the finish is probably a penetrating finish. Another test is to select an inconspicuous area and attempt to smudge the floor surface with a finger tip, or scrape the surface with a fingernail or sharp instrument. If the floor smudges but no clear material is scraped up, then the finish is likely a penetrating finish.

Sealed and Waxed Hardwood Floors – Care and First Aid

You will find that, with regular vacuuming and occasional buffing and waxing, your floor will look as good as the day it was installed. Over time you may find that the shine cannot be restored in areas with heavy foot traffic; if so, re-waxing may be necessary.

Perhaps you have recently moved into a home with waxed floors that have been overlooked in recent years, or you simply have a few trouble spots that need help. The following tips should help you rejuvenate your floors, and treat other common problems that may arise.

Do not mop sealed-and-waxed floors, not even with a slightly damp mop.

Scratches

Most surface scratches should be easily repaired by applying a new coat of wax to the affected area, and then buffing to a shine. For deep scratches that can’t be concealed with the method above, try rubbing the scratch with a piece of oily nutmeat, like Brazil nut, walnut, or pecan. A good quality commercial scratch remover or stick wax that matches the surrounding wood can also be used. Apply a new coat of wax and buff to a shine.

Dried Milk and Food Stains

Always work from the outer edge toward the center of the stain. If the material has dried it may be removed with a sharpened blade. Take care not to scratch the surface. Rub the spot with a slightly dampened cloth, then immediately go over the spot with a soft dry cloth. Re-wax this portion of the floor and buff to restore the original shine.

Stains and Spots

Begin with the least aggressive treatment: Rub the spot with No. 1 steel wool and re-coat with wax. Buff to bring back the shine. If this doesn’t work, try sanding lightly with a very fine sandpaper (90 to 120 grit). Clean the spot and the surrounding area with No. 1 or 0 steel wool and a small amount of mineral spirits or a good wood floor cleaner. Let the floor dry thoroughly. Apply a matching finish, “feathering” it into the surrounding area. After the finish is dry, re-coat the floor with wax and buff.

Dark Spots (Ink, Pet Stains, Diaper Stains)

Follow these steps:

  • Remove the floor finish and clean the spot and surrounding area with No. 2 steel wool and a wood cleaner or mineral spirits.
  • Wash area with household vinegar and permit it to stand for 3 or 4 minutes.

If these steps don’t succeed, sand the darkened area in the direction of the wood grain with fine sand paper, “feathering” out 3 or 4 inches into the surrounding area. Remove all dust and grit with a vacuum or tack cloth. Wax and re-polish.

For more stubborn stains, apply a solution of oxalic acid and water directly on the spot (one ounce of oxalic acid to one quart of water). Let stand one hour. Wipe the area using a dampened sponge. Repeat the treatment if necessary. (Oxalic acid is toxic so follow the directions carefully.)

If the second application of oxalic acid fails to remove the stain, lightly sand the affected area with No. 80 to 120 grit sandpaper. Remove all grit and dust with a vacuum or tack cloth. Once the finish is dry, buff lightly with steel No. O steel wool. Apply a second coat of finish, let dry, and wax. If the stain is still present, consider removing and replacing that section of the floor.

Heel Marks

Heel marks, caster marks, and similar scuffs can usually be removed by rubbing with fine steel wool and wood floor cleaner. Wipe dry and follow with polish.

Mold or Mildew

Using No. 1 steel wool and a good wood floor cleaner usually removes mold or mildew.

Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax

Try scraping the residue off with a sharpened blade, taking care not to scratch the surface. Another option is to apply ice until the substance becomes brittle enough to break off. If you use ice, make sure you remove any spots of water immediately. A third option is to apply cleaning fluid on the surface of the floor surrounding the spot. It will seep under the substance and loosen it.

Cigarette Burns

Steel wool will often remove superficial cigarette burns. A small amount of water and soap along with the steel wool will often help. Be sure to wipe the area dry with a clean, dry cloth and re-wax. If this method doesn’t work, try scraping the area carefully with a sharpened blade. Sand lightly and apply matching stain, if necessary. Once the stain is dry, re-wax and buff to a shine.

Alcohol

Rub the affected area with liquid or paste wax, silver polish, boiled linseed oil, or a cloth barely dampened with ammonia. Re-wax.

Oil and Grease

Try applying soap that has a high lye content, or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). As a last resort place a soft cotton cloth saturated with hydrogen peroxide over the stain, then place a second cloth saturated with ammonia over the first. Repeat this until the stain is removed. Reserve this treatment option for the last because it is possible that the ammonia may discolor the wood.

Wax Build Up

Over the years floors that have not been cared for properly may show a wax build-up. Remove the old wax using mineral spirits or a good wood floor cleaner (make sure the cleaner is a solvent, not water-based). If necessary use cloths and fine steel wool to remove any remaining dirt and grime before applying new wax. Buff to a shine. Hint: Strip old layers of wax from your floor occasionally to eliminate any imbedded dust or dirt, to brighten the floor’s natural color and to restore that like-new shine.

Polyurethaned Hardwood Floors – Care and First Aid

Floors with urethane-type finish are extremely durable. With just minimal care your floor will look beautiful for years to come. The key to preserving your floor is protecting its finish. Urethane-finished floors require minimal care, but it is important that you provide regular care. It is particularly important to get grit off the floor before it can be ground into the finish. Sweep the floor regularly and vacuum at least weekly. Clean up spills before they turn into stains or otherwise damage the finish. For stubborn, sticky spills a damp mop with an approved cleaner may be used. Refinishing will only be necessary once the weekly care fails to restore the floor’s shine. Of course, never apply a wax to a floor with a urethane finish.

Scratches

Most minor scratches can be removed with the help of a touch-up kit available from any wood flooring retailer.

Stains and Spots

Generally stains and spots caused by standing water can be removed, and the shine restored, by applying a small amount of recommended floor cleaner and buffing vigorously with a soft clean cloth or towel.

Dark Spots (Ink, Pet Stains, Diaper Stains)

Follow these steps:

  • Remove the floor finish and clean spot and surrounding area with No. 2 steel wool and a wood cleaner or mineral spirits.
  • Wash area with household vinegar and permit it to stand for 3 or 4 minutes.

If these steps don’t work, sand the darkened area in the direction of the wood grain with fine sand paper, “feathering out” 3 or 4 inches into the surrounding area. Using a vacuum or tack cloth, remove all traces of grit and refinish with at least two coats of polyurethane finish.

Heel Marks

Heel marks, caster marks, and similar scuffs should wipe up easily with an approved cleaner. Some marks can also be scraped up carefully with a sharpened blade.

Mold or Mildew

Mold or mildew that is on the surface can usually be cleaned with an approved cleaner. If the mold or mildew is under the surface, however, that portion of the floor will need to be refinished.

Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax

Try scraping the residue off with a sharpened blade, taking care not to scratch the surface. Another option is to apply ice until the substance becomes brittle enough to break off. If you use ice, make sure you remove any spots of water immediately. A third option is to apply cleaning fluid on the surface of the floor surrounding the spot. It will seep under the substance and loosen it.

Cigarette Burns

Use a sharpened blade to scrape the burned area. Apply additional finish if necessary.

Oil and Grease

Generally it is possible to remove oil and grease stains by applying mineral spirits or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and wiping with a clean cloth. Buff the area to restore the shine.

Woodwork Care and First Aid

We all grew up hearing: “Be careful or you’ll scratch the woodwork!” Fortunately, unlike synthetic mouldings and trim, solid hardwood woodwork is easily repaired. Scratch the surface and you’ll find more of the same quality material underneath. Upkeep is easy as well.

An Eye Toward Prevention

Preventing nicks, dents, and scratches is easier than fixing them:

For extra protection and increased durability, consider applying several coats of a POLYURETHANE FINISH to woodwork that has been stained.

Make sure there is a “SAFETY ZONE” of a couple of inches between furniture and walls and woodwork. INSTALL DOOR STOPS to avoid damage from swinging doors. KEEP TOYS IN THEIR PLACE, especially heavy toys with sharp edges.

Here are some tips for keeping your solid hardwood woodwork looking great year after year!

  • CLEAN and DUST to restore luster to the finish and protect the wood.
  • Use a quality wood cleaner that won’t leave a residue.
  • REPAIR scratches by sanding out with a fine grade of paper and restaining with a matching color finish.
  • A touch-up kit from a furniture retailer might also come in handy.

Flooring Contractor | Seattle, WA

Serving Seattle, Shoreline, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Edmonds, and Redmond.