Q: In regards to maintenance of hardwood floors - what am I supposed to do being as there are so many choices?
A. After we have finished our installation of either a job site finished floor or an engineered floor, we will supply you with our maintenance sheet that will help you preserve your investment and elongate the longevity of the floor. When asked as to how long will my finish last, I answer that question with how much are you willing to put into regular maintenance. That is the key to the longevity of your finish. Maintenance of polyurethane finish flooring is nothing like the labor intensiveness of waxing/buffing; don't walk on the floor with your shoes remembered from the ritual of my grandmother's time. In her time yearly and more frequent maintenance of waxing/buffing were a given. Those type of finishes reacted like furniture polish of today does. Looks great, but quickly you saw smudging/dullness of the finish that could only be rectified with the repeat of the care needed.
Today the care is much different. The basic thing that needs to be done on a regular basis is dry dust mopping the floor to help remove the surface dust/grit. Out here in Arizona, our dust is gritty just by the nature of the natural desert surroundings. Living on a dirt road is just the same principle. We recommend a spray to be applied to the dry dust mop that will help magnetize the dust to the mop and not just spread around the floor. How frequently you perform this is going to depend on how much traffic (people or pet), kids, toys, etc. Some dry mop once a week, some every day. With the removal of the surface dust on a regular basis, that helps prevent the grit from being ground into the top of the finish. That grinding becomes abrasive and starts to wear down the finish. What we see all too often is a floor needed to be sanded much sooner than expected due to improper or lack of maintenance. The average length of time before you should have to sand your floor is between 7-10 years. That time frame can be longer with proper, consistent maintenance. The time frame can be shortened significantly if you choose to do no maintenance or improperly performing. There may be a need to just recoat the floor with not sanding the floor. That is called screen/recoat.
Typically, we would be performing this about 4-6 years, again depending on the proper, consistent maintenance being done. We would perform this if everything with the finish coats is ok-no wear through areas, no significant scratches; the finish is just dull. The process for that is abrading the top coat with a pad that is like the scrub brush you use in the kitchen. The reason for the abrading is to help with adherence to the finish coats that are applied. Without abrading, once dry you would be able to peel the finish coats right off the floor. Screen/recoat typically can be completed in 2+days, depending on the amount of square footage. Screen/recoat does not remove any scratches-we are not sanding the floor. Screen/recoat does not alter stain color to the floor-we are not sanding the floor.
The product that you should be using is the products that we recommend only. You are not to use any products that contain oil/wax in them. These products will start to cloud the polyurethane finish. It will start to appear milky gray. The only way to remove that discoloration is with a sanding. Any products you can buy in a grocery store, box store, etc. all have wax and /or oil- (i.e. Murphy's Soap, Pinesol, Swiffer products, Lemonglow). If you are not sure, please give us a call to ask. See our online shopping as to the products we recommend.