Why Would You Refinish Wooden Stairs?

The cost of housing in the Washington, D.C. metro area is pretty steep, so it’s not surprising that two story homes are popular. When you can’t build out, you build up – and that means lots of stairs! As hardwood floor installers, we’re familiar with the “ups and downs” of home renovation. We often get the opportunity to design, install or refinish wooden stairs. Here are some common reasons people request stair refinishing:

  • The stairs were carpeted (perhaps for childproofing purposes) and the underlying wood has been damaged
  • Stairs are warped, dinged, split, or creaky
  • Stair treads are worn in the middle where they get stepped on over and over
  • Balusters don’t match the stairs (or are just plain ugly)
  • The rest of the home is being upgraded with hardwood floors and the stairs need a facelift too

We don’t recommend refinishing stairs as a DIY project. The process of sanding and staining balusters, in particular, is referred to in the home improvement industry as “The Marriage Breaker”. Have the job done by professionals so it really only does take a few days instead of a few months!

Save Your Floor – Leave Your Shoes at the Door

Did you know that sassafras sandy loam is the official state soil of Maryland? It has a sandy loam upper layer with a clay/sandy loam mix just underneath. This is a highly desirable soil mix with a good nutrient profile and excellent drainage. But when it’s tracked into your home, you probably just think of it as dirt or mud. In fact, the different components of this particular soil can do different things to your residential flooring – none of them good.

  • Grains of sand and silt can easily scratch laminates, wood and linoleum. They also cut through carpet like tiny knives. If you’ve ever wondered why your vacuum cleaner bag or canister fills up with carpet fuzz, it’s because sand is shredding the fibers.
  • Clay is notorious for containing high levels of iron – a metal that oxidizes readily and can easily stain your floors. Carpets, poorly sealed grout, and porous tile floors are especially vulnerable.

These are very good reasons to institute a “leave your shoes at the door” policy. So, break out the socks, slippers, and house shoes until the chilly weather in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC gives way to warm spring days!

Show Your Hardwood Floors Some Love

February is the month of romance, so perhaps it’s time to get down on one knee and propose to your hardwood floors. What should you say to show your undying affection to the flooring you’ve trampled underfoot for so many years? We’ve written some sample “vows” just for this occasion:

  • I promise never to use ammonia based cleaners that would strip you of your lovely finish
  • No urethane wax will ever touch you
  • I will sweep you lightly and keep the wet mop far away from your boards
  • I make it my sacred mission to protect you from scratches, stains and UV rays
  • I vow to love you even when you expand and contract with the seasons
  • When you are old and worn, I will refurbish you with care

Not up to the task of caring for your hardwood floors all by yourself? That’s no problem at all. Consider signing up for our maintenance program to keep your floors looking smooth and shiny year round. Especially in Maryland, DC and Virginia where our climate can be so unpredictable.  We’ll even give your wood floors a good hard-buffing on a regular basis…just the way they like it.

How Dry Weather Affects Hardwood Floors

You know that February is a cold month in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. Temps hover between freezing and fifty most of the month. But you might not be aware that it’s also the driest month of the year in this part of the country. That’s before you turn on the heat and dry the air inside your home even more. Have you ever wondered how this drop in moisture coupled with indoor heating affects your hardwood floors?

It shrinks! If it’s high quality wood and installed correctly (the way we do things at Residential Floors), you’re likely to just see small gaps between the boards. But that’s still enough space for dust and dirt to get trapped, making your floors look grungy. If you want to ensure your hardwood flooring stays tightly aligned even in dry weather, you may wish to use a humidifier. Keeping the indoor humidity above 45% should keep your floorboards in good shape – and your sinuses will feel better too!