Flooring 101

The first step in understanding your new flooring is how to care for it. Residential Floors takes the guesswork out of performance longevity and satisfaction of the installation by offering step-by-step plans to keep your floors looking showroom new. Here we’re giving you a brief overview of the key points in your floor’s maintenances regimen.

Hardwood Flooring

  • Place walk-off mats outside and, if possible, inside the home at all entrance doors. Be sure to shake-out the mats weekly.
  • Small area rugs are nice, aesthetic additions to help control sand and grit on a floor. Be sure to relocate these rugs on a monthly basis. DO NOT USE CUSHIONED URETHANE-BACKED MATS!
  • Sweep or vacuum (with the appropriate vacuum attachment) on a daily basis to keep the sand and grit from tracking.
  • Avoid walking across the floors in high or stiletto heeled shoes, golf shoes, cleats, ‘wheelies’, roller skates and the like–these can damage a wood floor.
  • Once a week (minimum) use an approved cleaner (hopefully provided by Residential Floors or the flooring manufacturer) that is of neutral Ph and has no surfactants. Ammonia-based products can ‘cloud’ the finish on hardwood floors.
  • Never mop a wood floor–the less moisture, the better.
  • In the 5-7 year range (varies with traffic and finish type) contact Residential Floors to come and ‘screen-and-coat’ your floors. This process, which abrades the existing urethane and then includes the application of one or two fresh coats, will keep your floors looking perfect while prolonging the necessity of an actual sanding of the floor–a more expensive and time-consuming process.

Laminate Flooring

  • These floors respond very similarly to hardwood floors and have similar maintenance routines (read above). The stark difference being that laminates cannot be surface treated or refinished.
  • Never let water dry on the surface of a laminate.
  • White hazing on the surface of your laminate is usually indicative of a high saline content in your water. You may have to dry-wipe your floor after cleaning to avoid this.

Ceramic Tile and Stone

  • Sweep or vacuum daily to removing damaging sand or grit.
  • Warm tap water is typically indicated for daily clean-up, if required.
  • Mild ammoniated (non-sudsing) cleaners are generally okay with these products, providing that the stone products have been properly sealed. Bear in mind that ammonia will eventually compromise any silicone or acrylic-based sealers that have been used in the tile or grout. It’s always best to get the approved cleaner supplied by Residential Floors.
  • Porous stone, tile, and grout need to be sealed on an annual basis and more often if ammoniated cleaners are being used.
  • Change cleaning water frequently. If you don’t, the small particles of dirt and staining agents that are suspended in the solution will find its way into your grout or porous tile if inadequately sealed. Also, when the dirty water dries on the surface of sealed or glazed tile it will leave a disgusting film–so, change the water!


  • Vacuum your carpets at least twice per week and more often if your home had extraordinary traffic. Your vacuum should have a ‘beater-bar’ which agitates the yarn and helps release the soil from the yarn so it can be removed. The ‘beater-bar’ also helps avoid the ‘packing’ of the carpet yarn–which occurs when the tips of the yarn loosen and blossom and then intertwine with adjoining yarns, giving the carpet a ‘matted’ appearance.
  • Spills should be picked-up as soon as possible with a dry, white cotton cloth. Blot or ‘sponge’ the spill rather than wipe back and forth as this action will actually disperse the staining agent. Use cold or tepid water when spot cleaning. Club soda is often a reasonable cleaning agent for acidic stains (juices, carbonated beverages); but remember to rinse with cold water afterwards as some club sodas may have trace amounts of sugar in them which will adhere to the fiber.
  • An annual professional cleaning is a sound idea in carpet maintenance. With this, there are a few things to consider: Carpet and clothing are often made of the same chemical fiber, so make sure that any cleaning agents are rinsed well—just as you’d do with your laundry. ‘Foam’ or suds aren’t necessarily a good sign of a good clean. This would indicate the presence of an excessive volume of surfactants (soap fats) which tend to stick to yarn–if your carpet looks great for a month and then looks worse than it did prior to the cleaning, you have a lot of soap trapped on the yarn. Steam cleaning is an excellent choice and is actually very good for the structural ‘hold’ of the yarn bundle. The twist (integrity) of the yarn is created by the use of steam in the manufacturing process. Steam cleaning ‘excites’ the yarn, rejuvenating its ‘spring’ and cleans very well.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Sweep or vacuum on a daily basis to keep the sand and grit from scratching and scuffing the wear surface.
  • Wash the floor once per week with an approved cleaner supplied by Residential Floors.
  • Never use dish soap or ‘department store’ cleaners on your vinyl. These products will dull the appearance of the floor.
  • Never use department store type ‘mop-and-shine’ products as these will provide the surface of your floor with a very soft surface (regardless of what their label says) that can actually hold dirt particles in place, just waiting for a foot to come by and scratch your floor.

It’s really not that difficult to keep your floors looking terrific. If you keep up with the routine and use the right products supplied by Residential Floors you can expect to reap the benefits that only the finest flooring and installation can provide.