Resilient flooring refers to a family of plastic flooring that offers a measure of impact absorption, making floors more comfortable to walk on. It’s commonly available in sheet format as well as 12” x 12” flexible tiles.
How do I clean/maintain my resilient flooring?
Vinyl flooring can be scratched by sand and other abrasives and should only be cleaned with lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Harsh cleaners can cause fading, discolouration and, in some cases, cause vinyl to become hard and brittle. Stubborn scuff marks can usually be removed with a damp cloth and some effort.
Use water sparingly on resilient tile floors. Excessive water may seep between tiles, flooring joints and where the flooring meets baseboards and other trim.
Any uplifted edge or corner should be repaired immediately to prevent water intrusion and further lifting. The repair may require contact cement and the area should be weighed down to give the adhesive time to bond.
Although some resilient flooring may present itself as a ‘No Wax’ floor, you may find wax (or an acrylic product) is the best way to restore a high lustre to your floor. Waxes with solvents, varnish, shellac or any plastic finishing material can cause material breakdown or buckling. Contact the floor manufacturer before selecting a wax for your floor.
How did my resilient flooring get ridges/depressions?
Heavy furniture can dent resilient flooring. Typically, the floor will return to its original condition when the furniture is moved. Placing a coaster under the legs of heavy furniture will distribute the weight and reduce the likelihood of dents.
Occasionally, a piece of material can become trapped beneath the floor during installation and cause a ‘ridge’ on the flooring. The visibility of a ridge depends on a number of factors, including the floor’s material, pattern and colour, texture and the lighting in the room. To repair a ridge, you may have to remove a section of flooring and the repair may be less appealing to the eye than the defect. If you do undertake such a repair, consider hiring a professional.
Why is my resilient flooring faded/discoloured?
Like other floor coverings, resilient flooring will fade if exposed to constant and direct sunlight. Closing window coverings during the day will help prevent fading.
Some materials can react with resilient flooring materials and cause a yellow discolouration. Items such as latex-backed carpets (e.g. kitchen/bath mat), oven cleaners, hair sprays and foods such as mustard can cause this discolouration which cannot be removed by cleaners. Using bleach-based chemicals to clean the discolouration can actually aggravate the situation. Sometimes, the discolouration will fade with time.
Hardwood flooring describes flooring products made from broadleaf trees as opposed to softwoods harvested from trees with needle-like leaves (e.g. evergreens). The term ‘hardwood’ does not necessarily relate to the impact resistance of the wood. New materials such as bamboo are also included in this flooring category.
Engineered hardwoods often use a 1/8” thick hardwood on top of a plywood substrate. The plywood substrate adds dimensional stability and resistance to shrinkage. Both types of hardwood floors use real wood on the cosmetic surface of the floor.
It’s important to remember each plank of hardwood floor is unique.
Grain structure, knots and dark/light patches add to the warmth and charm of hardwood flooring. Even expensive hardwood flooring will have these variations.
How should I manage my home’s humidity levels to protect my hardwood floor?
Hardwood flooring is highly susceptible to changes in indoor humidity. The first two years are especially critical for fine woods as they normalize to climatic conditions. Hardwood floor manufacturers suggest keeping your home’s humidity between 40-50 per cent year-round to minimize cupping and crowning. This is unrealistic in a cold northern climate during the winter. Maintaining such a high humidity would compromise external components of your home. Windows for example would be covered in condensation in the cold weather.
Humidity in your home must be balanced to provide human comfort, minimize condensation and maintain your wood floor. Excess humidity must be controlled through ventilation and excessively dry conditions must be addressed by humidification. Adjust your home’s humidity throughout the year to maintain a desired level.
Why are cracks developing between strips of my hardwood flooring?
Cracks can develop between strips of hardwood if the wood loses moisture because the humidity in the home is too low. Adjust your humidity, especially in the winter. Areas around heat registers and areas exposed to concentrated sunlight are more susceptible to shrinkage.
Wood flooring applied over a floor with radiant heating is also more susceptible to cracks developing between the strips of wood. Radiant heating systems should be engineered for wood flooring with correct heat source temperatures and thermostatic controls.
An engineered wood floor, where the hardwood is attached to wooden sleepers, is a better choice for radiant-heated floors.
Why are my hardwood floors cupping/crowning or shrinking?
When wood absorbs moisture in the air or loses moisture to the air, the wood fibres stretch and shrink. This stretching and shrinking happens faster at the edges of the wood. This can cause separation between the pieces of wood in two ways: ‘cupping’ (where the long edges of the wood units are higher than the centre) or ‘crowning’ (where the edges shrink, causing the middle of a piece of wood to rise).
Cupping and crowning is largely attributed to water reaching the unfinished side of a hardwood board. Moisture may accumulate from excessive wet mopping or from humidity rising from a lower level of the home (e.g. a basement laundry area). If the water is removed and/or proper humidity levels are restored, the flooring may return to its original condition without further remediation. If you have any concerns with the condition of your floor, consult a hardwood flooring installer.
Why are my hardwood floors making a popping/cracking sounds?
A parquet or laminated wood block floor can make ‘crack’ or ‘pop’ sounds as it expands and contracts. These sounds are usually infrequent and should not be cause for alarm. Exotic woods with extreme hardness and stability will also make these noises as the wood adjusts to its new environment.
How durable is my hardwood floor?
Today, most hardwood manufacturers add chips of aluminum oxide to the ultraviolet-cured urethane finish of their hardwood flooring to greatly increase its lifespan. These coatings are extremely durable—but not indestructible. For example, a 100-pound woman wearing high heels can exert over 400 pounds per square inch at the heel of her shoe and, in some instances, can actually dent a hardwood floor. High-heeled shoes should not be worn on hardwood floors.
The durability of a wood floor finish also depends on how well you protect it from abrasives such as dirt and sand. A protective runner in hallways and in front of the kitchen sink can also slow wear patterns from forming. If you are renovating, consider installing an alternate material, like tile, at entry points to reduce the opportunity for abrasives to come in contact with your hardwood floor.
Use a soft head attachment for vacuuming your hardwood floors—not a power head (beater bar) and, when mopping, remember that no amount of standing water should be left on the surface of a hardwood floor.
Corrosive solutions, chlorine cleaners or abrasives will slowly dull the finish of a hardwood floor. To avoid this, only use cleaners recommended by the flooring manufacturer. Though commonly available cleaners, soaps, oils, waxes or polishes will not typically damage the floor, they can leave a residue on the floor. We are not aware of any hardwood floor cleaners universally recommended by all hardwood manufacturers. Direct sunlight can fade hardwood floor colouring. Closing curtains to filter the light will reduce fading.
Laminate flooring provides another hard surface option for homeowners in locations where solid hardwood is not recommended. Although it’s often designed to look like hardwood flooring, it’s also available in finishes that resemble ceramic tile or resilient flooring (see page 64).
Laminate is composed of a wear layer, a pattern layer and one or two rigid layers that provide impact resistance and connection for the flooring system. These layers are made from an engineered wood product. As such, laminate flooring is susceptible to swelling when moisture is present but it’s also considered more stable than solid hardwood. Most new laminates include some type of moisture sealant to protect against moisture penetration.
Though strong, laminate flooring can be chipped. Unlike hardwood, it cannot be sanded and refinished. Do not wax, polish or lacquer a laminate floor.
Laminate floors are relatively maintenance free. Do not use abrasive or harsh cleaners or scouring pads for cleaning. Sweep, vacuum or damp mop with water and a cleaner approved for the specific floor. Never use a steam cleaner on a laminate floor and remove any standing water immediately to avoid swelling of the laminate. Contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to remove stains caused by paint, adhesive, asphalt, oil, etc.
The performance of carpet is determined by the height of the cut, the density of the construction, the backing and the type of fibre used to make the carpet. Carpet fibres are made from nylon, olefin and wool.
Dirt and sand are the major causes of carpet wear. With each compression of the carpet, a particle of sand is given another opportunity to cut at the carpet fibre. A clean carpet will last years longer than a dirty carpet. Use a vacuum with a beater bar. Vacuuming will not wear out your carpets.
How should I clean my carpets?
Remove spots and spills immediately to prevent them from setting. Routine food spills can typically be removed with water. Pretest any spot removal cleaner in an inconspicuous area to make certain the solution will not damage the carpet’s fibres or lift the dye. Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth and blot—do not scrub! Work from the edges of the spill to the centre to prevent the spill from spreading and rinse the area thoroughly with clean water after the stain is removed. Finally, blot the area with a dry cloth until most of the water has been absorbed. Never use bleach on a carpet stain. While, you may remove the stain, you will likely remove the carpet’s colour as well.
For oil-based stains such as ink, grease, nail polish, tar or wax, consult a cleaning professional. Fine area carpets should also be professionally cleaned as they can be damaged by water and conventional carpet care products. Consult a professional for the best cleaning option available to suit your particular carpet.
Seasonal carpet cleaning will remove oils and imbedded dirt and renew your carpets. Some carpet cleaning products contain anti-allergens.
Can my loose/stretched carpet be repaired?
Carpet can stretch in high heat or humid conditions and may lift along a room perimeter if the tack strip holding the carpet fails. In most cases, the carpet can be re-stretched and re-attached. A ripple in the middle of the carpet can occur after heavy furniture has been moved across a carpet that’s still wet from carpet cleaning. A professional carpet installer can correct both of these issues.
Why are there dark stains around my heating registers and the perimeter of my room?
Filtration soiling may appear as dark or grayish lines on carpet adjacent to walls or stairways, around vents and under doors. It’s caused by airflow over and through the carpet that allows fine, airborne particles to settle on the carpet surface. This type of soiling, while sometimes permanent, requires special treatments for effective removal. Contact a carpet cleaning professional for assistance.
Frequent candle lighting, smoking, fireplace smoke or vehicle emissions from an attached garage add considerable particles to the air. These dark particles can stain as they settle on the carpet surface. Because these particles move through a home’s heating system, staining is commonly found around heating registers.