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Apache Troubleshooting

Water and Wood

Working with Humidity Controls
A homeowner who chooses hardwood flooring is making an investment in a floor that will last 40 years or more, and he or she should protect that investment by installing humidity controls a tool that helps the floor maintain a beautiful, trouble free appearance.

Wood Floor Maintenance
Home Wood Floor Maintenance

Renewal & Repairs
Unlike most other floor covering options, wood is very forgiving. Most problems can be prevented with proper maintenance, but when problems do occur, renewal and repair usually is possible. For renewing and repairing stains and scratches on any wood floor, always begin at the outer edge of the stain or scratch and work toward the middle. To renew or repair a wood floor, you first will need to determine which kind of finish is on your floor.
Wax Floors
If the stain or scratch has penetrated the surface and is in the wood, you are dealing with a wax-finished floor.
Stains. How you tackle renewing and repairing stains depends on the type of stain.
Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax
Apply a plastic bag filled with ice until the deposit is brittle enough to crumble off. Crayon or candle wax can be removed by placing an ink blotter on the area and applying a hot pressing iron to the top of the blotter. Solvent-based wax also can be applied around the area to loosen the deposit.
Cigarette Burns
If the burn is not very deep, rub the area with fine sandpaper or steel wool. Moisten the steel wool with wax for better results. If the burn is deep, scrape the area with a penknife to remove charred fibers. Rub the area with fine sandpaper. Stain, wax and hand buff.
Dark Spots, Dog Spots, Ink Stains
Rub spot with #000 steel wool. Wax the affected area. If this fails, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper, and clean it using #00 steel wool and mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner . Allow the floor to dry. Stain, wax and hand buff. If the spot remains, apply a household bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak for an hour. Rinse with a damp cloth, wipe dry and smooth with fine sandpaper. Stain, wax and hand buff.
Dried Milk, Food Stains
Gently rub the stain with a damp cloth. Rub the area dry and wax.
Mold
Rub with a wood cleaner.
Oil, Grease Stains
First rub the area with kitchen soap having a high lye content, or saturate cotton with hydrogen peroxide and place over the stain. Then saturate a second layer of cotton with ammonia and place over the first layer. Repeat until stain is removed. Let the area dry and then hand buff.
Water Stains, White Spots
Rub spot with #000 steel wool. Wax the affected area. If this fails, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper, and clean it using #00 steel wool and mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner . Allow the floor to dry. Stain, wax and hand buff.
Wax Build Up
Strip the old wax away with odorless mineral spirits or a wood floor product made for stripping wax. Use cloths and fine steel wool to remove all residue. After the floor is dry, wax and buff.
Scratches
To renew and repair scratches, wax the area thoroughly.
Heel Marks
Rub in a small amount of wax with fine steel wool and hand buff to a shine.
Surface Finished Floors
If the stain or scratch has penetrated the finish only and is not in the wood, you are dealing with a surface finished floor.

Stains
Chewing Gum, Crayon, Candle Wax
Apply a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the stain until it is brittle enough to crumble off. Clean the area with a product made for urethane finishes.
Cigarette Burns
Most common burns can be treated with a touch-up kit made for urethane finishes. Rub with sandpaper, stain and refinish. For burns that reach deep into the wood, individual plank or parquet boards may need to be replaced.
Food, Water, Dark Spots, Dog Spots
Use a cleaner developed specifically for urethane finishes to remove the spot or stain. More stubborn spots may require additional scrubbing with the cleaner and a wood flooring scrub pad made for urethane floors.
Oil, Grease Stains
Rub the area with a cleaner developed for urethane.
Scratches
Repair with a touch-up kit made for urethane finishes available from any wood flooring retailer.
Regular Maintenance
With today’s advances in wood flooring stains and finishes, cleaning your wood floors has never been easier. Regular maintenance requires little more than sweeping with a soft bristle broom, and vacuuming with a soft floor attachment if your wood floor includes a beveled edge that could collect debris. You also should clean your floors periodically with a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by a wood flooring professional. The NWFA can help you find one in your area.

Preventive Maintenance
There are other steps you can take to minimize maintenance and maintain the beauty of your wood floors as well.
1. Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
2. Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt and other debris from being tracked onto your wood floors. This will prevent scratching.
3. Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
4. Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
5. Do not over-wax a wood floor. If the floor dulls, try buffing instead. Avoid wax buildup under furniture and other light traffic areas by applying wax in these spots every other waxing session.
6. Put soft plastic or fabric-faced glides under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching.
7. Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats, sports shoes and high heels. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
8. When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture completely to protect the wood flooring.
9. For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
10. Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to keep wood movement and shrinkage to a minimum.

Maintenance Products
Choosing the right maintenance product for your wood floor is important to maintain its beauty and finish. The type of finish on your floor will dictate the products you will need for regular maintenance and cleaning. If your floors are new, your installer or builder should provide you with information about your floor’s finish and manufacturer. If your floor is older, or if this information is not available, you should contact a wood flooring professional to determine the type of finish on your floor, and the proper products to use for maintaining your floors. Click here to find an NWFA professional.

Wax Finishes
To determine if your floor has a wax finish, apply two drops of water in an inconspicuous area, corner or behind a door. If white spots appear under the drops of water within ten minutes, the floor has a wax finish. To remove the white spots, gently rub the spots with #000 steel wool dampened with wax.
To maintain a wood floor with a wax finish, dust mop or vacuum regularly. Buff the floor periodically to restore shine. When buffing no longer restores shine, waxing may be necessary. Use a cleaner and liquid wax specifically designed for wood floors. Apply the wax evenly, allow the floor to dry, and buff to the desired luster. If the wood floor has dirt build up or the wax is discolored, use a combination liquid cleaner/wax made specifically for wood flooring. Make sure it is solvent rather than water based. Spread the liquid cleaner/wax with a cloth or fine steel wool, and rub gently to remove grime and old wax. Wipe the floor clean, let it dry for about 20 minutes, and buff.
Depending on traffic, a properly maintained wood floor with a wax finish should only need waxing once or twice a year.

Shellac Finishes
If your floor was installed or last serviced before the mid 1960s, it probably has a shellac or varnish finish. To determine this, scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or other inconspicuous area. If the finish flakes, it most likely has a shellac or varnish finish. These finishes rarely are used anymore and require full sanding to remove the old finish before new finish can be applied. You should contact a professional to achieve the best results. Click here to find an NWFA professional.

Varnish Finishes
If your floor was installed or last serviced before the mid 1960s, it probably has a shellac or varnish finish. To determine this, scratch the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or other inconspicuous area. If the finish flakes, it most likely has a shellac or varnish finish. These finishes rarely are used anymore and require full sanding to remove the old finish before new finish can be applied. You should contact a professional to achieve the best results. Click here to find an NWFA professional.

Surface Finishes
You can determine if your floor has a surface finish by either scratching the surface with a coin or other sharp object in a corner or other inconspicuous area, or by applying two drops of water in an inconspicuous area, corner or behind a door. If the finish does not flake from scratching with a coin, and white spots do not appear from the drops of water, the floor has a surface finish.
To maintain a wood floor with a surface finish, dust mop, sweep or vacuum regularly, and clean periodically with a manufacturer's recommended cleaner. Do not use wax on a surface finished wood floor. When cleaning no longer restores shine, recoat the floor with a surface finish. The frequency of recoating will depend on the amount of traffic on the floor.