When you decide to replace the gym floor in your athletic facility, it’s a big decision—and a significant investment! One of the easiest ways to protect that investment is to take excellent care of your new floor. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the best care for wood floors, and this leads to many of them not receiving the proper maintenance they require. Many people end up doing too much, while others don’t do enough! That’s why we’re sharing our tips for caring for and maintaining your wood floor.
There’s a lot that goes into looking after a wood floor. The materials are sensitive to everything from cleaners to weight and require both daily and annual maintenance to stay in shape. If you’ve never cared for one before, you may not be sure where to start, but that’s where we come in! Sports Floors, Inc. has decades of experience working with wood floors and our team knows exactly what it takes to keep them looking good and working well over the years.
To learn more about caring for your wood floor safely and effectively over the years, keep reading below!
Daily care and maintenance
Every night, dust and dirt will settle on your wood floor. This doesn’t have anything to do with how often it’s used—these particles are in the air regardless of the activity your gym sees during the day. When people start walking on them in the morning, it can have a sandpaper effect on the floor. For this reason, dust mopping should be done at least once a day using a dry dust mop, even if the facility hasn’t been used. Daily dry mopping will help minimize any loose grit and dirt. If the floor is heavily used, you can mop the dust up to three times daily.
If your floor is covered in debris or residue, it may require a little more elbow grease! You can spray an untreated dust mop with a diluted floor cleaner, but it must be diluted and it must be compatible with your gym floor finish. As we mentioned above, wood floors are sensitive to cleaning solutions. Using an unapproved cleaner can strip the finish off your floor, leaving it dull and slippery. The company you use for your yearly coat of finish can give you a recommendation on an appropriate floor cleaner for your floor.
A word of caution: don’t rely on janitorial staff or a cleaning company to know the right kind of cleaners to use on your wood floor. Even something as simple as a regular old mop and bucket can cause water damage. To protect the surface, call your flooring contractor and order their recommended cleaner, then pass this information along to anyone in charge of cleaning your floor.
As far as maintenance is concerned, stick to the following guidelines to keep your floor clean and cared for.
- For liquid spills, use a soft cloth to wipe it up.
- Remove chewing gum by placing crushed ice in a plastic bag over it until the gum becomes brittle enough to crumble off the floor surface.
- Black marks on the floor? Dampen a soft cloth with a small amount of pre-approved floor cleaner and gently wipe away.
- Don’t ever use a rough or textured cloth on your wood floor.
Sports Floor, Inc. is happy to recommend and provide appropriate cleaners to all of our clients, so get in touch if you’re not sure how to choose the best product for your wood floor!
Long-term care and maintenance
Most manufacturers will recommend an annual recoating of your wood floor. This is sometimes called a screen and recoat, and it essentially means giving the floor a new coat of finish. This shiny topcoat keeps the surface sticky and protects the paint from scuffs and chips. Recoating it every year can help extend the life of your floor and may save your facility a considerable amount of money in the long run!
Your wood floor will also need a complete refinish every 8-10 years. During this process, all finish, paint, and sealants are removed. The floor is then sanded down to the bare wood before being re-sealed and painted. Two new coats of finish will also be applied. Aside from freshening up the look of your floor, this is always a great time to update the graphics and layout if you’ve been thinking about a change.
Tips for general care
The southeastern United States is no stranger to humidity! Unfortunately, this can be bad news for wood flooring. As relative humidity varies, wood flooring will expand and contract. While these changes are mostly minute and unnoticeable, drastic changes can sometimes occur. The recommended moisture content of your wood floor will depend on your geographical region, but you’ll usually want to aim for a 15% fluctuation between the highest and lowest average indoor relative humidity. This will help to limit shrinkage and growth.
Some separation between your flooring boards is fairly common during the low humidity of winter. This will usually correct itself during peak summer humidity. Although moderate shrinkage and expansion is normal, you should utilize your HVAC system to prevent any excessive tightening and shrinkage of the floor.
Always take active measures to protect your floor from damage caused by water and grit! Use floor mats at all doorways, and be sure to check underneath them frequently to ensure there’s no trapped moisture. Prevent condensation moisture from reaching your floor by insulating ductwork, interior drains, and downspouts. Moisture is dangerous to a wood floor, so if you notice any leaks or excessive moisture, call your flooring contractor immediately to find out what’s happening and correct it.
- NEVER put tape of any kind on a finished wood floor, as it will take the finish with it when you pull the tape off.
- NEVER shut the ventilating system off for anything more than brief periods.
- NEVER use a household cleaning product on your wood floor.
- NEVER attempt to repair your floor without consulting your flooring contractor first.
- NEVER use an auto-scrubber on your wood floor, as it introduces moisture to the wood.
Protecting your wood floor with Sports Floors, Inc.
By giving your wood floor the attention it needs, you’ll be able to keep it looking beautiful and performing well for years to come! If you’d like more information on how to care for and maintain the flooring in your facility, our expert team is always happy to assist you. Get in touch today and we’ll show you how to get many years of enjoyment out of your wood floor!