Hand vacuuming hardwood floor.

5 Tips to Help You Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a beautiful look and upscale feel to a home. A newly installed hardwood floor or recently renovated hardwood floor, however, is a costly investment in your property, and it requires some extra care when considering how to clean and maintain it. Whether you have installed solid wood, engineered wood, or even reclaimed wood flooring, the maintenance of your wood floors will be similar. Regular cleanings and upkeep will keep your hardwood floors looking pristine and add years of life to your home investment.

Each season brings different obstacles for your hardwood floors. During the winter months, you will be battling ice melt that gets tracked in on shoes and furry paws. Ice melt can eat away at unprotected wood flooring, and it should be removed promptly. The fall and spring months are wetter, and with family and friends tracking in wet leaves and mud, your wood floors will need to be regularly dried to prevent warping and mildew buildup. During the summer months, you may battle dripping swimsuits loaded with chlorine and saltwater after a day at the beach or pool, and that chlorinated or salty water will need to be cleaned up regularly to help maintain hardwood floors.

The experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors offer some pro tips on how to keep your hardwood floors healthy and lasting for years to come.

1. Dry Mop and Vacuum Hardwood Floors Weekly

Leaving dirt that is carried in on shoes and furry paws on a hardwood floor can cause unwanted scratches. The debris acts as sandpaper, and as it’s walked on and spread across the hardwood floors, it will cause scratches that build up over time to make your floor look dull and scuffed up. By dry-mopping your floors weekly, you can prolong the bright glow of your hardwood floor. You can sweep with a traditional broom or, even better, use a microfiber cloth that will cling to the debris and remove any dust and allergens more easily.

Weekly vacuuming is important as well, as the suction can help remove the debris that has built up in between the floorboards. When using a vacuum on your hardwood floors, make sure to put the vacuum on the hard floor setting, which will switch off the bristles so they don’t scratch up your floors as you push the vacuum across the floor. Alternatively, you can use the non-bristle attachment that is meant for hardwood floors if your vacuum comes with one.

2. Clean Wood Floors With Wood Floor Cleaner Monthly

Dry mopping and vacuuming your floors are great ways to remove dust, but there is also debris buildup that happens over time that can slowly eat away at your hardwood floors. Cleaning your hardwood floors regularly with a wood cleaner recommended by your flooring manufacturer is an important step in keeping your wood floors in great shape.

Not all wood floor cleaners are meant for all hardwood floors. Depending on the finish on your flooring, your floors may require a certain type of cleaner. Check with your manufacturer to determine which is best to use on your floor. Most hardwood floors will do best with a floor cleaner that has a neutral pH. It is best to avoid floor cleaners with harsh chemicals when cleaning any type of hardwood floor.

When you have found the right cleaning product for your floors, make sure to use a damp cloth or mop to clean the floors, and avoid using too much water. Using too much water can cause your floorboards to warp and bow. Also, avoid steam cleaning your wood floors for the same reasons, as it can make your wood floorboards swell and cup.

3. Wipe Up Spills Immediately

Wood floors are very reactive to moisture, and so if there is a spill on your hardwood floor, it’s recommended to wipe up any wet spill quickly. Leaving moisture on a hardwood floor will cause the wood floorboards to swell, and they could warp and become misshapen over time, causing potential tripping hazards and unsightly warped flooring. Leaving wet spills on hardwood floors can also cause staining that can be difficult to remove.

To effectively clean up any wet spill on your hardwood floors, it’s best to use a dry or slightly damp cloth to wipe up the spill right away. This will avoid any moisture leaking in between the floorboards or into the wood, which will avoid any potential for swelling floorboards from the spill.

4. Use Furniture Pads on Furniture and Trim Pets’ Nails Regularly

Scratches can be difficult to remove once they are found on your hardwood floors. To maintain the good condition hardwood floors, it is recommended to use furniture pads on the bottoms of your chairs and heavy furniture. If the furniture is on the heavier side, it’s best to use a wider furniture pad to help spread out the weight. Consider attaching the furniture pads to your chairs, couches, tables, and any furniture that may be heavy or that you may move across the floor regularly.

Your pets’ nails can also cause scuffs and scratches on your hardwood floors. Keep your pets’ nails trimmed to avoid unwanted wear and tear on your hardwood floors.

5. Polish or Wax Your Hardwood Floors Twice a Year

Polishing your hardwood floors can help add a sheen to the wood and can also help extend the life of your flooring, making it a worthy task. Before polishing your floors, it’s a good idea to first dry mop the floor to remove any dust or debris. It’s also a good idea to vacuum your hardwood floors to remove any debris that may have built up between the floorboards. When choosing a floor polish, make sure it is a water-based polish to avoid any harsh chemical buildup.

If you are looking to refinish your hardwood floors or are interested in the installation or restoration of hardwood floors, contact the hardwood floor experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood.

Black and white great Dane sleeping on dog bed on bamboo hardwood flooring.

What Are the Best Hardwood Floors for Pets?

Is your home pet-friendly? This is an important thing to think about before getting a pet, choosing a home to buy, or making changes to your current home. One thing you need to pay close attention to is the type of flooring. Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for pet owners, as it is much easier to clean pet accidents off of than carpet. But some hardwood floor types are better for homes with pets running around than others.

Before getting into the exact types of woods that you should choose, it’s important to note that softwoods, such as pine or fir, are not good choices for houses with pets. This is because they won’t stand a chance against claw marks from dogs or cats, as they are too soft. Because of this, much harder species of wood are the only types that should be considered. That means that the higher its Janka rating, the better is for a house with pets. If you don’t know, the Janka hardness test measures the resistance and durability of wood. The higher the score of the wood on the Janka scale, the stronger it is.

In addition to choosing a hard, scratch-resistant flooring, you want to also look for pre-finished wood floors that are sealed and stained in the factory. Matte and satin finishes will hide scratches from claw marks much better than a glossy finish will.

Now that you have some background information, here are the best hardwood floors for pets.

Brazilian Walnut or Ipe

With a Janka rating of 3680, Brazilian walnut, or ipe, is very durable. In fact, many exotic kinds of wood have high Janka ratings, just like the Brazilian walnut. This wood is so strong that it is even used as an outdoor flooring option. Another thing that makes it one of the best hardwood floor options for pets is that it is relatively moisture-proof. This means that any pet accidents that may happen won’t cause any immediate damage to the flooring.

Oak

Oak may be one of the most common types of flooring in the world, and that is for good reason. With a Janka rating at about 1300, it puts it right in the middle of the scale—not the strongest but definitely durable. In fact, oak is actually the industry standard for hardiness. As it is very easily available and it is hard enough to withstand pets, it is a great option.

There are two different options if you’re choosing oak floors, and those are red or white. The red variety has a warmer color with undertones of red, pink, or rust. Additionally, it has a lot of grain variation and character. The white variety is much cooler, with undertones of grey-green colors. This appears much smoother and more uniform, and it has much less variation.

Hickory

If you want something just as popular as oak but a little stronger, hickory may be the choice for you, as its Janka score is 1820. Hickory is known for its strong character, which can add a beautiful aesthetic to any home. This is thanks to its color and all of its details.

Santos Mahogany

Santos mahogany is another exotic wood. Its Janka rating of about 2200 makes it very durable—more durable than both oak and hickory. Santos mahogany is quite popular despite its exoticness. It is a deeper, darker color, which could easily help make other aspects of your home pop.

Maple

Did you know that maple is the wood used on basketball courts? That’s how strong it is! If professional athletes can run and sweat on it with minimal damage, it should be reassuring to you that maple floors can survive well against your pets. Maple’s Janka rating is 1450, showing how strong it is. This wood is very pale. With its light color, you may see some more paw marks than with other woods, but that is very easy to clean (and doesn’t lead to any permanent damage).

With all of the different varieties of maple, it’s important to make sure you are asking for a “hard” maple rather than just maple. Typically, hard maple types of flooring are called either rock maple or sugar maple.

Bamboo

Yes, bamboo is technically classified as grass and not wood, but in the flooring industry, it is often considered wood and even has a Janka rating. Bamboo is naturally strong and can be made even stronger thanks to technology. For instance, non-carbonized, strand-woven bamboo flooring can reach Janka scores of over 3000. There is also engineered bamboo flooring that is cheaper and that can be just as durable.

As you can see, there are several best hardwood floors for pets. This means that if you are thinking of getting a pet and are worrying about it destroying your floors, you don’t need to worry at all. Or if you already have a pet and are looking for a new home or new flooring for your current home, there are several options of flooring you can look out for and choose from.

Of course, one of the most important factors in the durability and longevity of a hardwood floor is correct installation. Because of this, we recommend choosing a professional hardwood flooring company like Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors. We can come into your home, take a look at the space, meet your pets, and provide you with a personalized recommendation as to which of the above-mentioned woods would fit best with your home, your lifestyle, and your budget. We can then take care of the entire installation process for you, as our team of experts is trained to get the job right, in both a timely and professional manner. If you are ready to install the best hardwood floors for pets in your home, contact us today.

Yorkshire terrier sitting on hardwood flooring in home.

5 Benefits of Hardwood Flooring in Portland Oregon

There isn’t much that’s homier or more inviting than walking into a space that has hardwood flooring. There is an instant sense of being connected to nature, and there are numerous benefits to having hardwood flooring installed, some that are based on aesthetics and durability and some that are more in line with health benefits and decreased chemical exposure. And let’s not forget that having hardwood floors can also be regarded as a long-term investment in the home’s overall value. Here are the top five benefits of having hardwood flooring in your Portland, Oregon, home.

1. There Are Many Varieties of Wood

If it’s your first time considering the installation of hardwood in your home, you might be surprised to learn just how many options you have. While there are numerous species of trees in the wild, not all are ideal for use as flooring material in homes. That said, the selection you will have to choose from is quite large, and the first thing you’ll want to decide on is the color of wood you would like under your feet.

Considering your budget and what is available to you, you will be able to select a wood that appeals to both your personal taste and what supports your pocketbook. Down the road, you can also opt to stain the wood floors should you desire a change in color, and you can even mix-and-match wood types in order to mix up the aesthetic at home.

These are just a few of the wood types available:

  • Teak
  • Hickory
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Cypress
  • Tigerwood
  • Red oak
  • White oak
  • Mahogany

Depending on the design you have in mind for your home, you may discover that one wood type works better in the living room, dining room, and kitchen, while there’s another that goes better in the bedrooms. Due to the fact that each plank has different lines and shades, adding wood flooring to your home will always give your home a unique look and feel.

2. Wood Provides a Cleaner, Healthier Environment

Unlike carpet (which collects dust and spores and can provide a breeding ground for small parasites like fleas), hardwood flooring won’t trap allergens or dander. It doesn’t cater to mold or other annoying or harmful microscopic particles that undermine the health and well-being of the residents of the house. Having wood floors allows anything that does fall, such as hairs and dust, to be easily cleaned, and it keeps the air cleaner than that of a home with carpet.

This is especially true for families with babies and small children. Babies spend the majority of their time crawling on the floor, and having wood floors keeps young children much healthier. With carpets, babies are subject to more respiratory disruption (by way of dander, dust, allergens, and even chemical exposure through the microfibers of the carpet and the color treatment), which can negatively impact their long-term health. Woods offer a healthier and more natural environment on which to crawl, play, and live. Wood is a non-toxic material that is also easier to clean, and more natural products can be used to keep woods looking their best.

3. Laying Down Wood Floors Is a Long-Term Investment

As with anything new, the better you take care of it, the longer it will last. Right off the bat, wood floors add an appealing look and feel to a home, but it is also a stronger and more durable material. When taken care of properly and consistently, you’re looking at increasing and maintaining the value of the house or apartment.

One of the key things to consider when selecting which type of wood to put in the home is your budget. What can you afford to put in and what can you afford to care for over time? Just like there are different colors and types of wood, there are varying options for every budget. Choosing the right wood for your home is both an intentional and invaluable investment in the home’s long-term worth and resale value. Homes that have wood floors tend to sell faster, and the perception around wood floors is generally a more positive one.

4. Wood Floors Last Longer

If you’ve ever seen faux wood floors or laminate, it’s likely that you’ve noticed the marks and dings in the surface covering. In theory, wood floors can develop nicks in the material, but the restoration of real wood floors is much easier than that replacing laminate or carpet. There is no need to rip out a whole section because there’s a small area of damage. Wood floors are remarkably durable.

Even as wood ages, it does so gracefully. The look stays strong, and even though you might choose to have it refinished and given an extra sheen, the strength and quality remain, even if the initial shine fades away. Wood flooring comes from nature, so it’s both of organic origin and has survived the test of time. If you’re looking for a way to build your Portland, Oregon, home more sustainably, hardwood flooring is the way to go.

5. It Is Easy to Install

As with anything that you want done well, it’s important to hire a trained and qualified professional. Because of the nature of laying planks properly and tightly, commissioning professionals like Wall 2 Wall Construction and Restoration can make all the difference in your construction experience and the finished look of the project. Once the hardwood floors are in, it’s important to keep them in good shape through regular cleaning and wiping up water spills so the wood stays strong and dry and can continue to bring together the look of your home.

For any of your Portland, Oregon, hardwood flooring questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Wall 2 Wall.

Wavy hardwood floor that is sun bleached and traffic worn.

What Does It Mean If a Hardwood Floor Is Wavy

You love the classic, beautiful look and feel of having a hardwood floor in your home. But what happens when you look down one day and see that your hardwood floor appears to be … wavy? Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon problem. Read on to find out more about this issue, including why it’s happening and what can be done to fix it.

What Causes a Hardwood Floor to Look Wavy?

There are two kinds of damage that can make your floor appear wavy. They are known as warping and cupping.

In either case, this damage is because of humidity or moisture or just related to water in general. Sometimes, this happens because of a shift in weather, perhaps due to the seasons changing. Other times, it’s due to excess water or humidity.

This is because hardwood floors are very sensitive to water. Wood is a hygroscopic material, so your floors absorb water, which leads to problems.

The longer the problem causing hardwood floors to look wavy goes on, the worse the damage will be. Once water damage starts, it unfortunately doesn’t take much for it to spread quite fast. And this also means that any necessary repairs will likely cost more as well. That’s why it pays to be aware of how your flooring, as well as your home in general, is holding up.

Too much moisture doesn’t just make the hardwood floor wavy. And this damage isn’t a problem just for the look of your home. It can also be a safety hazard that affects the health of the occupants of your home. The absorption of moisture can also allow mold and bacteria to grow. Like the water damage, these hazards also spread quite fast. And because of what happens to the floors with cupping and warping, it can even cause people to trip.

What Is Cupping? And Why Does It Happen?

Cupping is a somewhat common type of floor damage that is also known as wash boarding.

As you may have guessed from the name, cupping is when the edges of the planks that make up your hardwood floor curl up. This happens because the hardwood can swell when it absorbs too much moisture. In turn, as the edges rise up, the middle of the plank sinks down. So it takes on a sort of cup shape. And that shape creates the wavy floor appearance that causes your concern.

As explained above, the reason for this damage is related to water. With cupping in particular, it’s usually due to an imbalance of moisture. And, typically, the imbalance is that the bottom of the floor has more moisture than the top.

What causes such a moisture imbalance? One reason could be if the air in your home is especially dry. This can happen in the winter or as the result of air conditioning in the summer. It could also happen if there is any moisture trapped under the floor.

If My Floor Is Cupping, What Can I Do to Fix This Problem?

Cupping is actually a milder form of floor damage, even if it might not look it. Extreme cases aside, it is usually fixable and/or reversible. This means that unless you want to, you would likely not have to install a completely new floor.

Often, the way to fix this damage is simple. You just have to figure out the right moisture balance to help things go back to normal. But don’t expect a big change overnight. Moisture movement can sometimes take a little while, so stay patient.

The other important thing to do is to take steps that could prevent cupping from happening again in the future. This means you should be more aware of moisture balance going forward. For instance, you may need to tweak how often you run heating and cooling units or humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

How Is Warping Different Than Cupping?

Warping, which can also be known as buckling, is a more serious type of damage than cupping. Like cupping, the damage happens because of how the wood absorbs moisture. In this case, the moisture usually comes from beneath the floor. The excess water could be due to a leak or flooding.

In some cases, the hardwood pulls away from the floor. When the damage is severe, it can even pull up a few inches.

How Do I Fix Minor Warping?

Like with cupping, the key to fixing the floor is to restore balance with the moisture. Because the moisture beneath the floor can cause so much damage, having a dehumidifier in the basement can help fix the problem. Or it can even prevent it from happening in the first place. As with cupping, keep in mind that the damage will not be reversed right away.

How Do I Make Sure My Wavy Hardwood Floor Are Not Too Far Gone to Save?

Hopefully, you will catch the signs of water damage to your hardwood floor early enough to save it. Here at Wall 2 Wall, we have plenty of experience with water-damaged hardwood floors. For the simplest, repair contact us as soon as you notice that damage.

Whether you need a hardwood repair or to install a new hardwood floor, make sure you go with the best. No matter the extent of the damage, at Wall 2 Wall, we will find a way to restore your hardwood floor. Because of our expertise, we will know whether to restore the boards, replace them, or do a mix of both. You can also count on a reasonable rate for our expert work.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, contact our experts here at Wall 2 Wall. You can find more information on Wall 2 Wall on our website. You can trust that we are your absolute best choice when it comes to working with hardwood floors in Portland, Oregon. Check out our gallery of work on our website and fill out the online form to get a free estimate today.

New construction of room showing studs and subfloor.

What Is a Subfloor?

When it’s time to have a new floor installed in your home, it’s easy to get caught up in the portions that you’ll be seeing. The appearance of a new floor is often the most exciting aspect of having it installed, but there is more to getting a new floor than just what’s on the surface. As you begin this process, you’ll quickly learn that there are often a few crucial layers underneath your new floor top, and one of those layers is a subfloor.

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Laminate flooring color tiles laying on hardwood flooring in Portland.

How Does Laminate Flooring Compare to Hardwood Flooring in Portland?

If you’re considering a home remodel or update, you’re probably looking into redoing your floors. Upgrading flooring can make all the difference in the feel of a home, and it adds a significant amount of value. In fact, if you choose hardwood floors, you can increase your home’s value by as much as 10 percent. No other flooring type matches the financial value of hardwood floors. But how does hardwood compare to laminate floors?

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Bedroom with durable bamboo hardwood flooring.

What Are the Most Durable Hardwood Flooring Options?

When it comes to choosing hardwood for your floor, you want something that will last a long time, look its best, and be able to withstand pressure and wear. This is why it’s important to choose durable hardwood flooring. By doing your research into different hardwood flooring options in advance and choosing the most durable, you’re helping yourself out in the long run.

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Male contractor performing hardwood floor installation over glue.

What Are the Layers of Hardwood Floor Installation?

Hardwood floors have a long history as one of the most durable and attractive flooring options available. A well-cared-for hardwood floor can last a lifetime, but to get there, there are some things to think about. The durability and life span will depend on several factors, such as the type and quality of the finish, the periodic maintenance, and most importantly, the supporting structures of the hardwood floor.

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Deep arc-shaped scratches in hardwood floor.

3 Hardwood Floor Problems You Can DIY and 3 You Probably Shouldn’t

Many homeowners dream of having hardwood floors. Whether new floors were laid down some years back or original hardwood was discovered under carpeting, these floors will require maintenance or repair at some stage. Depending on their condition, you may or may not be able to tackle some of these hardwood floor problems yourself.

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