PREPARING FOR YOUR NEW FLOOR
-Make sure the area is clear of any people and pets from the start date to the scheduled finish date plus cures times below. This includes all levels of the home, especially of you are requesting Swedish Finish (this includes fish and even plants with Swedish).
-For finish drying and cure times water-based finish is low VOC and takes 24-48 hours. Swedish finish is an air pollutant and takes 48-72 hours. Stain varies on type and effect, but you will usually need to add 1-2 days to your job.
-Make sure the area(s) are clear of all furniture and appliances. We are not insured for this type of work and can be dangerous as I mostly work by myself.
-If items are left it may delay or cancel your job, or if you wish to proceed, I charge $500/day to hire a crew to provide this service. I never want to do either of these, but I have to stay on schedule and protect my other customers who have already scheduled.
-Sit back, relax and take a vacation if you can! There is nothing nicer than coming back home with a clean, fresh start!
-Make sure to follow ALL of the above directions, PLUS
-Make sure to properly acclimate any new flooring for 10-14 days. For pre-finish hardwoods and exotic woods, I recommend opening the individual bundles to improve acclimation and prevent future swelling or cupping.
-During a large-scale remodel, it is best to install the flooring last or ideally right before any cabinets go in. The more work that is done over a new floor, the more it speeds up the normal wear and tear process.
-Whenever possible I recommend letting newly installed unfinished hardwoods sit in the new floor for another 10-14 days to acclimate before sanding and finishing.
CARING FOR YOUR NEW FLOOR
-Do not use water on floor for the first 7 days after it has been finished. After initial 7-14 days your floor can be cleaned with water and a damp mop only.
-After that, clean floors regularly by sweeping or vacuuming to totally remove any build up and debris
-Wipe up any spills or water immediately or a milky ring may appear in the finish.
-NEVER let water pool or sit in any area for any amount of time.
-Occasionally a solution of vinegar and water may be used for dirtier floors. You can also use Precision Wood/Laminate Floor Cleaner, Glitsa Clean or Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (results can vary depending on floor and use). You can get most of these products online or in many Ace Hardware, Lowes or Home Depot stores etc... Make sure it is for hardwood floors only and there is no wax.
-For water based finish: Please wait 3-7 days to bring in any furniture and areas rugs. Any furniture which may be move regularly, or heavy furniture which may scratch or gouge the floor, should have felt protectors permanently applied to them. Use felt protectors applied to the bottom of chair legs and other furniture to avoid scratching the floor and causing excessive wear.
-For Swedish Finish: Do not put any area rugs on your floor for at least 30 days. The floor needs to breathe in order to cure.
-Note that after the initial 30 days, leaving your furniture or rugs in the same location for long periods of time (especially under windows or where natural light beams shine down on the floor) can result in slight discoloration from curing & light exposure (i.e. the color of the floor under your rug will be darker than the area around the rug that was exposed to light for long periods of time). This does take a long time to develop, so do not worry! It is something to keep in mind though for a proper floor care and maintenance routine.
Wet Swiffers (Dry or damp mopping according to the instructions above is OK)
Anything other than what is mentioned above on the floor.
NEVER WAX THE FLOOR.
Furniture cleaners and polishes can leave an outline on new floors. Avoid spraying cleaners or polishes directly on furniture that is sitting on a hardwood floor. Instead, spray the cloth and wipe the furniture, or better yet, just use a cloth dampened with water to wipe down furniture.
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS & FACTORS - PLEASE READ!
Wood is an organic material with its own characteristics and abnormalities. Because of climate changes, wood tends to shrink slightly in the winter due to the dry heat of furnaces (this is when you may notice a few cracks occurring) but will expand in the summer and usually the cracks will seal themselves again. This movement is normal for all hardwoods and we want to inform you of it so you do not become concerned. Living in the Pacific Northwest we are also constantly in a wet and humid environment. Sealing all drafts, insulating attics and crawlspaces and keeping the ambient temperature in your home constant will all help a lot in reducing any possible swelling and shrinkage. Consider installing Energy Star rated or most newer windows if it's a possibility for your project. They are best buddies to your new floors!
How often your floor needs to be re-coated depends on the precautions you take to protect it. A minimal amount of effort can keep your floor beautiful for many, many years. Keep in mind that children and pets really enjoy the floors the most, but they will cause more wear and tear to the floor. Keeping sand and dirt off the floor as much as possible will also help to reduce wear and keep everyone happy and safe.