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Vinyl Flooring Maintenance Tips

Vinyl flooring is considered to be one of the easiest to maintain flooring options on the market. There are a few tips and tricks to learn that will help you spend less time cleaning your floors. For a quick run-down, read our quick vinyl flooring maintenance tips below or watch this video from worldwide vinyl supplier Armstrong.

Maintenance tips

  • Sweep your vinyl flooring regularly – at least once per week.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent staining.
  • When sweeping is not enough to get your floors clean, occasionally wash your floor using the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner. Do not use detergents, abrasive cleaners, mop and shine products, paste wax or solvent based polishes.
  • Use a mop or cloth to clean your floor. We do not recommend using a vacuum beater bar or abrasive scrubbing tools as these can damage your floor.
  • If your floor begins to dull over time, use the manufacturer recommended floor finish polish to restore the floor’s original shine. The gloss level of each vinyl floor varies, so it’s important to check what your manufacturer recommends.

Preventative maintenance

  • Use a walk-off mat at outside entrances to prevent dirt, sand and grit from being tracked onto your vinyl floors. Rubber or latex backed mats can stain your floors. Instead choose a non-staining vinyl mat or a woven colourfast rug.
  • When moving appliances or heavy items, put down a piece of plywood or hardboard runway to protect your floors from damage. A runway is always recommended, even when using a furniture dolly or items with wheels.

Acoustic Underlay Requirements for Condos

Acoustic Underlay Requirements for Strata and Condos

Noise is often a contentious issue in multi-unit residences, as any condo dweller can attest to. When owners want to install hardwood or laminate flooring, strata bylaws often require the use of an underlay with acoustic properties to reduce to the sound transmission to the unit below. Here are a few commonly asked questions about the acoustic underlay required.

Which underlay should I buy to use in my building?
Each strata has different rules about the flooring and underlay allowed in their building. Some may require council approval of the materials before installation. Check with your strata before purchasing your flooring. If your strata requires approval before installation, your flooring provider can provide you with product specifications and documented test results to give to your strata council.

My strata requires an underlay with a certain STC and IIC rating. What does this mean?
These are sound-control ratings often used in building codes and strata guidelines. The higher the rating, the better the underlay is at sound reduction. Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings measure transmission of airborne sounds such as neighbours talking or playing music. Impact Isolation Class (IIC) measures impact sounds transferred from the floor to the unit below. Impact sounds are foot steps, objects falling on the floor etc. Manufacturers have their products tested in a lab according to ASTM International standards to determine the STC and IIC ratings.

Does an acoustic underlay reduce all noises for my neighbours below?
No. An acoustic underlay with good IIC and STC ratings will reduce noise transfer but will not eliminate all noise. The effectiveness of the underlay depends on your lifestyle and the construction of the building. If your lifestyle is noisier, your neighbours will be more likely to hear you. Active kids, walking in heavy shoes or high heels and dropping things may create noise that cannot be entirely quieted by any acoustic underlay.

The settings of the underlay lab tests may be different from the construction of the subfloor and ceiling of your building. Most underlay is tested on concrete slabs. IIC and STC ratings increase when the concrete slab thickness increases or when a drop or suspended ceiling is present in the unit below. Ask your flooring provider for testing results that specify the subfloor and ceiling assembly used during lab testing.

The ratings will be decreased for buildings with wood frames and plywood substrates since these materials are bad at preventing sound transference. If you do not have a concrete subfloor or acoustic concrete topping between floors, it’s highly recommended to look into additional sound barrier options. Your downstairs neighbours will thank you.

Is there anything else I can do reduce noise?

Adding a few area rugs to your decor will help reduce noise in areas where the rugs have been placed.

Can I do a nail down installation with acoustic underlay underneath?

No. The sound travels through the nails and negates the effectiveness of the underlay.

Is there a specific underlay you recommend?

We recommend using Shaw Silent Step Ultra. The 72 dB IIC and STC ratings satisfy most strata council requirements about flooring and acoustic underlay. Full testing data from a reputable third party lab is available upon request.

For more information we recommend reading:
Hardwood Floors – The Magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association. “The Lowdown on Wood Flooring Underlayments
Master Floor Covering Standards Institute. “Noise Problems and Acoustical Barriers”

5 Hardwood Floor Cleaning Myths

Hardwood floor cleaning and maintenance myths
Misconceptions about hardwood floor cleaning are rampant on the internet. There are many people on Pinterest and home advice forums claiming vinegar and water are best for cleaning your hardwood floors or steam mops have made their hardwood floors look beautiful again. While these methods may appear to work for now, they can cause damage over time. We want to clear up these misconceptions and give you the facts from the long-term perspectives of flooring experts.

Myth 1: Vinegar and water should be used to clean hardwood floors

Fact: No. Vinegar and water seems like a great natural and easy floor cleaner since most people already have these products in their kitchen. But the vinegar can actually dull or damage your hardwood floor.  Instead use a product recommended by your manufacturer. Links to the hardwood care and maintenance sites for some common hardwood manufacturers can be found at the end of the post.

 

Myth 2: Damp mopping is the best way to clean wood floors

Fact: No. Water and wood do not mix. That soaking wet mop is putting too much water on the floors. Wet mopping can void your warranty and causes warping, de-lamination and joint-line separation. To prevent these problems, use a spray like the Bona hardwood floor cleaner spray to lightly mist the floor and then use a dry mop.

 

Myth 3: Steam cleaners can be used on my hardwood floors

Fact: No. The mantra “wood and water do not mix” holds true here too. We have all seen the hawkers at home shows and infomercials on TV claiming that steam cleaners are great for sanitizing and cleaning your wood floors. But many hardwood flooring manufacturers list steam cleaners as a don’t in their hardwood cleaning advice and will void the warranty if you use a steam cleaner. Repeatedly using a steam cleaner can result in peeling, whitening or cloudy finish. If you want to keep your manufacturers warranty and a pristine finish on your floor, keep that steam cleaner away from your hardwood floors.

 

Myth 4: Vacuums with a beater bar can be used for hardwood floor cleaning

Fact: No. Vacuuming is recommended by most hardwood floor manufacturers – WITHOUT a beater bar. The rough bristles of the beater bar can permanently scratch your floor. Get a hardwood floor attachment to make your vacuum safer for to use on your hardwood.

 

Myth 5: I can use any cleaner on my floor including ammonia or oil-based cleaners.

Fact: No. Ammonia is a basic cleaner with a PH of 11 and can ruin the colour of your floor. Oil-based cleaners can leave a milky-residue on the hardwood. Stick with manufacturer approved cleaners to avoid any these ingredients.

 

Hardwood Care and Maintenance Info from the Manufacturers

The best way to keep your floors looking good and under warranty is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. All of our customers receive a copy of care and maintenance info in the mail after their job is completed.

Links to a few common manufacturers are below. If you don’t know the manufacturer of your floors, feel free to call us or use the National Wood Flooring Association’s advice.

National Wood Flooring Association Common Maintenance Questions

Shaw Floors Hardwood Flooring Care

Beaulieu Canada Hardwood Care & Maintenance

Armstrong Hardwood Care

Hardwood installation types

Hardwood installation types

You have found the perfect hardwood and and now it is time to install. The installation method to use is mostly determined by the hardwood flooring selected. There are three main hardwood installation types – each with it’s own pros and cons to consider.

Nail down

For a nail down installation, the flooring is affixed to the subfloor using nails or flooring cleats. Nail down installations cannot be done with a concrete subfloor – only with a wood subfloor. This installation method is a popular for solid hardwood floors. It is not recommended for condos where noise from walking on hardwood is a concern as the noise will travel through the nails to the suite below.

Glue-down

For this installation type, a speciality adhesive is spread with a trowel to glue the hardwood to the subfloor. Your flooring professional will recommend the best adhesive to use for your floor. This installation type is often used with engineered flooring or parquet. It is not recommended for solid hardwoods.

Floating

As the name implies, floating hardwood is not attached to the subfloor. Instead the hardwood floats on top of the subfloor. Floating floor installations require a underpad to be placed on top of the subfloor before installation.

There are two types of floating installation: tongue & groove and click. For a floating tongue and groove installation, a recommended adhesive is applied to the tongue and groove of the floor board to hold the boards together. A click system on the other hand, doesn’t use adhesive. The manufacturer’s patented click system allows the boards to stay together.

If you are still unsure which hardwood installation type is most suitable for your hardwood, your flooring professional can advise you on the best installation method.

Hardwood Trends: Distressed Hardwood Floors

Distressed floors have been a popular choice among home owners looking for a hardwood floor with distinct character. Manufacturers create the distressed look through a variety of processes including ageing, sculpting, hand-scraping and wire brushing. The intentional distress marks are great for active households with small children and pets. The scratches and dents caused by the wear and tear of everyday life will be less noticeable than with a piano finish hardwood.

Our Favourite Distressed Floors
Here’s a few of our favourite distressed hardwood floors with options for any budget.

Distressed hardwood American Restoration by Shaw Floors – $

This wide plank engineered hardwood from Shaw uses unique distressed markings to create a look reminiscent of reclaimed barnyard planks. With four colours to choose from, American Restoration is a realistic and affordable distressed choice.

American Restoration Distressed Hardwood Flooring

Cottage Collection by Laurentian Hardwood $$

The Cottage Collection uses a lightly wire brushed texture and low gloss finish to evoke the image of comfortable seaside cottages. This engineered hardwood comes in 10 different colours.

Cottage Collection Distressed Hardwood

Castillo Plank by Antique Impressions – $$$

Inspired by the castles of medieval Europe, each handcrafted Castillo plank looks like a genuine time-worn plank walked upon centuries ago. Design options for this collection are endless with hickory or walnut planks in eight colours and a variety of plank widths to choose from.

Castillo Plank Distressed Hardwood Flooring

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