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Hardwood 101

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Best practices for Hardwood Flooring

By Tara Cresswell and Sheryl Bushaw

In homes today, we come across stunning hardwood flooring surfaces. Hardwood is a popular choice and can be found in historic homes built in the 1900s but also in completely new custom homes. As a member of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County (MBA Pierce), flooring expert Tara Cresswell from Innovative Hardwood Floors shares some tips on best practices for hardwood flooring. When caring for your home, it’s important to know the latest information on how to clean, maintain, refinish or restore your hardwoods. Online sources can be very misleading in regard to the care of your hardwood flooring. As a proud MBA Pierce member, Innovative Hardwood Floors is excited to share the best ways to keep your hardwood in great shape for years to come.


What not to use: vinegar and water mixed. Because vinegar is an acid, the acid over time will continue to eat away at your finish. This will lead to a lack of adequate protection for your hardwood, as well as causing your hardwood floor to look dull. Do not use any soap or wax. Soaps and wax-based cleaners will cause a buildup on top of your floor finish, creating a foggy sheen. It will also trap dirt and leave the floor always looking dirty. This could also negatively impact the possibility of buffing and recoating the floor, because there could be a chemical reaction with a maintenance coat.

What to use: Innovative Hardwood Floors recommends using a water-base flooring cleaner from either Pallmann or Bona®. It’s important to keep in mind that different finishes could require different types of cleaners. Always check with your hardwood company regarding what you should be using to properly clean your hardwoods.


Depending on your household activities, your hardwood will eventually ask for a maintenance coat—also known as a ‘buff and recoat.’ Always hire the hardwood flooring company that originally did your hardwood sand and finish. This ensures the best chances of avoiding a chemical reaction. Most hardwood companies keep a record of which finish type you have, so they can provide you with this service in the future. A buff and recoat done at the right time will act as an additional two to three coats of finish because it does not absorb into the original coatings that were done years prior. A buff and recoat will not get rid of deep scratches, dents, etc. If you want to maintain your pristine hardwood floor without having to sand and refinish, this is the ideal service for you.


The best part about having a solid hardwood floor is that you can re-sand it up to 10 times! There are several reasons why you may want to refinish hardwood. One possibility could be a water damage claim. If you have a solid hardwood that is damaged, the existing hardwood can be matched. We can patch the damaged area, sand and refinish the hardwood so it’s back to normal. If you are looking to remodel, you can change the color, sheen and entire look of your home by refinishing. The refinish will also remove dents, scratches and many other imperfections that homeowners face while living in their homes over time.


It is very common in North Tacoma homes to find that the hardwood flooring is just as old as the home. By the time a hardwood floor is 100 years old, its entire wear layer may have completely worn off. However, this does not mean that it can't be restored. Many homeowners wish to keep the home’s original look and charm, so the ability to restore the flooring is crucial. Flooring companies like Innovative Hardwoods can come into your home, lightly abrade the hardwood flooring surface and coat with hardwood flooring finish. This will allow a wear layer to be built back up by the finish itself. Over time you can add numerous coats, which will help to move farther and farther away from the actual hardwood surface. The original patina will be in the floor, and the hardwood itself will be protected. This will allow you to preserve the integrity of your home’s era.

Following the best practices for your hardwood flooring allows you to maintain and enjoy your hardwoods for many years to come.

If you have any additional questions about hardwood floors, feel free to reach out to the experts at Innovative Hardwood Floors. They take great pride in being involved in our local community. If you are interested in remodeling or additional products and services for your home, MBA Pierce is an association of over 650 members that include contractors, designers, landscapers and other industry-related businesses. Builder members are required to be registered, bonded and insured. Visit for a free Buyer’s Guide and Directory.

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