Moving in on my New Floor


So you have a brand new hardwood floor.  You either have a new home, or we have installed a new wood floor in your existing home.  Maybe you have never had a wood floor before.   What are you supposed to do, are you afraid to walk on the floor, or afraid you will scratch the floor?   It can happen, but hopefully with these helpful hints, it won’t.

  • Moving in Appliances.   We see more damage from moving in cook stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators than any other items.  Buy a couple sheets of 1/4 or 1/2 inch plywood or chipboard to lay on the floor to protect it from appliance feet, wheels and dolly wheels.  Keep the appliances on this plywood until they are completely in place.   DO NOT RELY ON REFRIGERATOR WHEELS!!  Deep scratches or dents from heavy appliances can be very expensive to fix, and could result in the entire floor having to be re-sanded/refinished.  Wood floors are hard and they are tough, but refrigerators are very heavy and the wheels are fairly narrow, so there’s a lot of pounds per square inch on the wheels.
  • Furniture.  Place felt pads on all furniture that moves…….Chairs, bar stools, coffee tables, recliners, etc.   If you move your couch around frequently, put them on the couch also.  Make sure that the pads are large enough to cover the entire “foot” of the furniture, and make sure the pads are kept clean.  This may mean replacing the pads on the dining room chairs a couple times per year, especially in dusty/sandy areas.
  • Check your outside shoes at the door.   Or at the very least, check your shoes for nails, tacks and gravel that may be lodged in the soles.   Changing your outside shoes when you come inside is a good option.  That really prevents a lot of outside dirt from coming in also.
  • When you are moving in, check all boxes for gravels lodged in the cardboard on the bottom and for large steel or copper staples that may be on the bottom of the boxes.  Don’t slide cardboard boxes around on the new floor.
  • Don’t use rugs or towels to slide heavy furniture around on the floor.  This may not prevent a scratch or a scuff.   Sometimes the feet of the furniture happens to find a thin spot, and by the time you see the damage, it’s too late.   In a similar vein, don’t use the plastic moving or “magic casters”  to move heavy furniture either.   I know they look like they work on TV, but all it takes is to get a gravel under the edge of one, and it’s all over.  The only correct way to move in furniture on a new floor is to carry and place it in.
  • Keep pets and rugs off the floor for at least 3 days after the final coat of finish.   Keep pets (especially heavy dogs over 20 pounds) nails trimmed.   Animals that have learned to run around on carpeted floors will not understand that the wood floors are different, until they get used to them.
  • It is always good to have all the landscaping done, all the concrete approaches and sidewalks done, and the garage cleaned well before move in day.   You wouldn’t believe how many new homeowners I’ve seen trying to move in to their new home when the house is surrounded by mud.   I understand that everyone is anxious to move into their new home, but it is really better to wait till you’re really ready.
  • Our floor finish is 90% cured after 24 hours, 98% cured after 3 days and fully cured after about a week.   You can walk on 90% cured floor finish, and wood floor finish is very scuff and scratch resistant,  but it can scuff a lot easer in the first 24 hours.   You should be especially careful during this time.   That extra 10% really makes a huge difference.   All wood floor finishes are very hard, but finish companies have to balance hardness with other things, such as chipping resistance.   If the finish is made too hard, it will/can chip and flake off, so even though the finishes are very hard, they aren’t as hard as steel or a diamond!!
  • No finish will prevent denting of the wood from heavy objects that may be dropped on the floor.   An object like a hammer, or even a can of peaches or green beans, if dropped just right can dent a wood floor.   These dents usually can’t be repaired without sanding and refinishing, but normally they will just be written off as the patina of the floor.  Most people (except for you of course) won’t even notice them.  Sometimes if the dents are “sharp and deep” we can repair them with a clear epoxy, similar to how a dentist would repair a cavity.  But this isn’t always the case.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or send us an e-mail.

How do I keep my wood floors clean?

This is a question that everyone asks.  One of the most important aspects in keeping hardwood clean is that however you clean, you can at least “see” what needs to be cleaned.   I don’t know how many times we’ve taken up carpet in a home, only to find a ton of dirt in and under the carpet and even sandy grit under the carpet pad.  I’ve even had some homeowners comment that they vacuum their carpets daily, and are shocked when this dirt is still in and under the carpet.   I’ve never looked at any of this stuff with a microscope, but I have to believe that is is full of “dust mites” and all kinds of other critters that can’t be good for your health.  Most allergy doctors now recommend that the first thing you should do with a child that has allergy problems, is to remove the carpet from their room and install hardwood flooring.

The most important thing about having hardwood floors and keeping them clean is to first remove all the loose dirt.  Dirt is basically finely ground rocks or basically “sandpaper”.   When this gets ground against the finish on the floor, it acts just like sandpaper.  This is how scratches start to form.  It’s always good to provide shoe cleaning mats outside and just inside the doors.  Better yet, don’t wear your outside shoes in the house.  Even tennis shoes can pick up nails, staples, tacks, or even gravels that can easily scratch a wood floor if you move just right.   For removing the loose dirt and grime, basic sweeping is better than nothing, or better yet, Vacuum the floors with a canister vacuum with a horse hair brush.

When spot or general cleaning is required, a floor cleaner is necessary.  For years we recommended a cleaner made by Bona and our customers have gone thru hundreds of bottles of Bona cleaner and microfiber mops in the last 16 years. It is a very good product, but is now rather expensive as a 32 Ounce bottle of cleaner is now priced at about $9.00 and you can go thru a bottle of cleaner in a couple good floor cleanings.  It is still an excellent product however, and everyone that we do a hardwood flooring project for gets a cleaning kit made by Bona with a bottle of cleaner, mop and cover.

I had a customer tell me about how they had cleaned the wood floors in their previous home with Shaklee’s basic H for years and how great it was. Of course I had heard of Shaklee for years and I think my wife had even had a bottle or two of the Basic H in the past, but she had never used it on the floor.

We were just about out of our own floor cleaner and so I thought I would order a bottle and give it a try. My goodness, was I impressed!! Just 1/4 of a teaspoon of Basic H in 16 OZ of water makes a great floor cleaner. You heard me right……1/4 Teaspoon!! One 16 Ounce of Basic H2 will make an incredible 192 Quarts of cleaner!! You’ll probably never need another bottle for your floors, but you may want to use it on other things too….It’s pretty cool stuff. And yes I know that Shaklee is a multi-level marketing company, but you don’t have to peddle the stuff to buy and use it. You can buy Basic H2 without joining anything…..Just try the product, it’s great. They have a spray bottle kit also which gives you 3 different bottles for mixing different concentrations….one for glass, one for general cleaning (this is for floors), and one for a degreaser.   This is the least expensive floor cleaner that I know of.

So the Bona Cleaner works great, and the Basic H works great also.

We do not recommend Murphy’s Oil Soap, or certain “Orange” cleaners on the floor.  Certain “over the counter” products can contain wax, and wax is something that you do not want on a wood floor that has been finished with a urethane finish.  Waxes will prevent floors from being “re-coated” down the road, because the finish will not stick to the floors that have had wax applied.  This will necessitate a complete sand and refinish.  Also, watch out for products called “refreshers” which are either very watered down “water based” finish or finish that has certain waxes.  These products will make your floor look good for a very short time, but will probably cause problems down the road.

Finally, if you have granite countertops, when you do a re-seal on them, be careful not to over-spray the sealer onto the wood floor.  Most of these sealers have silicone products, which act on the wood floor the same way as waxes, and may prevent a re-coat down the road.


To download our printable Wood Floor Care Guide in PDF format Click here.