Caring for Your Wood Floor

“How do I take care of my wood floor?”

This is probably the question we hear the most.  And it’s a good one.  When this question goes un-asked, those floors almost always have problems pop up down the road – problems that could have easily been prevented with proper care and maintenance.

Wood floors (and the finish on top of them) are sensitive to cleaners, moisture, humidity, and weight.  They require daily and yearly maintenance procedures to stay in tip-top shape.  Luckily for you, Sports Floors has been working on wood gym floors for over 20 years, so we’ve seen just about everything.  This blog has our tips and tricks for keeping your wood floor pristine – but if you are ever unsure, please call us any time.  Better to be safe than sorry!

Daily Care

For everyday care of your wood floor, use a dry dust mop to keep your floor clean.  Dust mopping should be done once a day, but floors that are used heavily can be dust mopped up to three times per day.

If you would like a more thorough cleaning on your floor, you can spray an untreated dust mop with approved, diluted floor cleaner.  However, this is a tricky step because the floor cleaner MUST be compatible with your gym floor finish.  If it is not compatible with your floor’s finish, it will strip the finish off of your floor, making it slippery and dull.  The company that puts down your yearly coat of finish can recommend the floor cleaner you should use on your floor.  Please do not rely on your janitorial staff or cleaning company to investigate and choose your floor cleaner!  Call your flooring contractor, order the cleaner, and give it to the people cleaning your floor.  This is the only way to ensure that they are using the correct products on your floor.  There are thousands of cleaners out there that claim they are safe to use on wood floors, but most of them are not.  We see dozens of floors each year that are damaged by using the wrong floor cleaner.

If liquid gets spilled on your floor, simply wipe it up with a soft cloth.  Remove chewing gum by applying crushed ice in a plastic bag until the gum becomes brittle enough to crumble off the floor surface.  If you see black marks on your floor, dampen a soft cloth with your floor cleaner and gently wipe away.  Never use a rough or textured cloth on your wood floor!

We can recommend and provide floor cleaners to our clients.  Simply give us a call.  We are here to help!

Long-Term Care

Every year, your wood floor needs a new coat of finish.  In our business, it is called a screen and recoat.  The finish is the shiny top coat on your floor that keeps it tacky (or sticky) and protects the paint from getting scuffed or chipped.

Every 8-10 years, your wood floor needs a complete re-sand.  This is where the floor is sanded down to the bare wood, removing all finish, paint, and seal.  Then the floor is re-sealed, painted, and two coats of finish are applied.  This is a good time to think about updating the graphics and layout of your floor.  Revise the logo, add a border, stain the 3-point arcs… think of the court as your canvas.  This part is fun!

General Care

Humidity has an obvious effect on a wood floor.  As relative humidity varies, wood flooring will expand and contract.  Most of the time, these changes are minute, but sometimes we see drastic changes.  The recommended moisture content of your wood floor depends on your geographical region.  But no matter where you are, maintaining a 15% fluctuation between the highest and lowest average indoor relative humidity will limit shrinkage and growth.

If you see separation between your flooring boards, don’t panic.  This commonly develops during winter low humidity, and will usually corrects itself during peak summer humidity conditions.  Moderate shrinkage and expansion is normal, but make sure you utilize your HVAC system to prevent excessive tightening and shrinkage of the floor.

Always protect your floor from water and grit, as both of these things can damage wood.  Use floor mats at doorways (but be sure to check under them frequently to ensure that no moisture is trapped underneath), and correct any and all leaks immediately.  Prevent condensation moisture from reaching your floor by insulating ductwork, interior drains, and downspouts.  Moisture is dangerous to a wood floor.  If you notice leaks or excessive moisture, call your flooring contractor immediately to see if the floor has been damaged.

Important Things to Remember

There are a few things you should NEVER do on your wood gym floor:

  • NEVER put tape of any kind on a finished wood floor.  It will pull the finish up when you pull the tape off.
  • NEVER shut off the ventilating system for any lengthy period of time.
  • NEVER use a household cleaning product on your wood floor.  They can make your floor slippery, which can cause injuries.
  • NEVER attempt to repair your floor without consulting your flooring contractor first.
  • NEVER use an autoscrubber on your wood floor.  It introduces moisture to the wood, which can cause it to buckle.