FOCUS ON FLOOR FINISHES & AFTERCARE A Look that Lasts Criterion Flooring has been installing high-quality wooden floors for over 25

years. Here, its team of experts share their top aftercare and maintenance advice to ensure your customers are never disappointed with their wood floor.

Solid wood flooring is a premium product and, therefore, requires specific aftercare and maintenance. This aftercare largely depends on the finish of the wooden flooring. Choosing the correct finish and aftercare programme will nourish and enhance the quality of wooden flooring, as well as improve its longevity.

There are a number of finishes which can be applied to wood flooring, which affect the durability, aftercare and appearance of the wood.

Adding a finish to solid wood flooring not only helps to protect and preserve the colour and texture of the wood, but also adds to its visual appeal. There are many finishes to choose from for solid wood flooring, such as varnish, oil or even paint.

Varnish and oil both work well when it comes to protecting wooden flooring, whilst giving it a nice finish aesthetically. Varnish will give wood flooring a shinier finish than oil and it is also more durable.

An oil finish is the better option for a more subtle finish aesthetically. This gives wood flooring a more natural look; however, it is not as scratch-resistant as varnished wood.

Opting to use paint as a finish will protect the wood to some extent, but it won’t be as durable as an oiled or varnished finish. On the other hand, one of the major advantages of opting for a painted finish is the wide selection of colour options which are available to choose from, such as a matte, gloss or mid-sheen paint finish.

Applying a finish to the wood twice a year using a cotton hand cloth or buffing machine can help to maintain a wooden floor’s natural appearance and qualities, ensuring a long- lasting premium product.

A good aftercare regime is essential in order to maintain the appearance of wood flooring and enhance its longevity. This

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consists of the finish, cleaning and also the environment the wooden flooring is in.

Generic wood floor cleaners should be avoided when looking after wooden flooring. Often these are only suitable for floors with a lacquer or varnish finish and shouldn’t be used on oiled or waxed wooden floors, as they can contain harmful chemicals which can damage the finish. If a wooden floor cleaner which contains chemicals is used, then it should be specific to the material’s finish.

There are natural products available which can be used on a number of finishes, as they don’t contain any harmful chemicals which may damage the finish. For example, there are natural soaps on the market which contain 100% vegetable- based ingredients and organic oils. These can clean, nourish and enrich the wood, without damaging the finish.

When cleaning wooden flooring, a mop, soft brush or adapted vacuum cleaner should be used to prevent scratching. Also, it is important to avoid using too much water if mopping, as this can be absorbed by the wood, causing it to swell and watermarks to appear.

Once installed, wooden flooring needs time to adapt and respond to its environment. This is because too high or too low moisture levels can cause the wood to either expand or shrink. Once the flooring has adapted to its surroundings, it’s important to maintain consistent levels of humidity and heat.

Too much humidity in timber can cause it to swell, whereas a lack of moisture leads it to shrink. An ideal environment for wooden flooring is 19-21°C, with a humidity of 50-65%. A dehumidifier can be used to help regulate a suitable humidity level.

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