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Hardwood Floor

How to Remove Pet Urine Smell From Hardwood Floor

Oh, no. Not THAT smell!

If you’re a pet owner like me, you know how awful urine smell can get. As much as I love my furry children — and I know that accidents are inevitable — the smell is hard to get rid of. Cat urine, in particular, is the bane of any householder, but dog urine is not much better.

Pet urine on a hardwood floor can be a real nightmare. As you know, wood can easily absorb and trap liquids and their odors. Sealant helps, but those little claws and paws can scratch the finish, leaving exposed wood to absorb urine.

If you have the same problem, you may be asking yourself: Do I need a special cleaner? Do I need a hardwood floor vacuum? Am I going to have to refinish my hardwood? Can it be saved?

First, Assess the Damage

Is the urine recent or old? How strong is the smell? Is the floor sealed and, if so, is the sealant in good shape? Are the seams tight or loose? Is it visibly stained? How big is the problem area? Are your pets likely to soil the area again?

Based on this assessment, your cleaning will fall into one of three categories:

  1. First aid only: If the floor seal is tight and odor is not widespread, you may just need a special cleaner for pet urine.
  2. More testing required: If the floor isn’t sealed or is but damaged, you see visible stains and/or the smell is fairly strong, you may need to sand it to remove the smell, provided simple cleaning doesn’t work.
  3. Major surgery required: If steps 1 and 2 don’t work, and the urine has soaked thoroughly into the wood, you may have no other choice but to replace it.

First Aid: Get the Right Cleaner for the Job

Nature designed pet urine to be smelly and stick around — it’s an animal’s way of marking its territory. The best cleaners use enzymes or other chemicals to break down the urine, not just cover it up with fancy fragrance. Breaking down the molecules that cause the odor removes the odor.

Your first line of defense might be lurking in your bathroom cabinet — hydrogen peroxide. Try pouring hydrogen peroxide onto the stained area, cover it with a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide, cover that with plastic (try a trash bag) and leave it overnight. I’ve also had success with commercial products designed to remove urine odor.

An important tip: Test your cleaner in a hidden area of the floor. You don’t want to get so excited about cleaning the stains that you damage the floor’s finish!

More Testing Required: Sand the Floor

If simple cleaning doesn’t work, the urine has soaked more deeply into the wood’s upper layers, and those layers have to go. You need to sand and refinish the floor.

You can find many DIY articles online with instructions on sanding and refinishing, but here are the basic tools you’ll need:

  • A vibrating floor sander or disk sander for minimal sanding
  • An edge sander or random-orbiting sander for working close to baseboards
  • A pry bar for removing quarter-round prior to sanding
  • Stain and/or sealer

If you have finished sanding and you still have an odor issue, then you have a bigger problem.

Major Surgery Required: Replacing the Floor

If your hardwood floor was exposed to years and years of pet urine (a particularly bad problem with repossessed homes), then it may be toast. After a certain point, it’s simply impossible to get rid of urine odor from soaked wood. You’ll need to replace it and, possibly along with the sub-floor too.

As with everything, prevention is key. Always have your pet-urine cleaner of choice on hand and go after accidents as soon as they happen. And here’s hoping you never have to do major floor surgery in your home!

Tips For Cleaning Hardwood Floors That Are Not Sealed

If you have hardwood floors in your home, you’ll know that cleaning them can be a process that requires a little work.

All hardwood, whether sealed or unsealed, require regular maintenance and cleaning to bring out their natural shine.

Unsealed hardwood floors, in particular, require a little more effort to maintain. If you are not sure which kind of floor you have, rub your thumb on it. A smudge would mean that your floor is unsealed.

Cleaning Sealed Hardwood Flooring

Sealed hardwood floors are easier to clean because:

1) You can use water to clean them

Unsealed hardwood can be easily damaged by water that soaks through its beams.

Conversely, you’re able to clean sealed floors with water and a simple terry cloth mop.

2) Their shine lasts longer

The shine of sealed hardwood flooring remains, and only needs regular sweeping and mopping. For natural, less abrasive cleaning methods, you may use lemon dips, tea tree oil or olive oil.

Sealed floors only require you to wipe up spills on them immediately so that no stains are left behind.

6 Safe Tips For Cleaning an Unsealed Hardwood Floor

Cleaning an unsealed floor is another kettle of fish. It requires a little more effort other than regular sweeping.

The cleaning process is a more difficult one because water cannot be used. Cleaning methods and ingredients have to be safe for use on your floor.

1. Sweep the floor every few days

Make sure that you sweep and vacuum the floor regularly with a good hardwood floor vacuum. Regular removal of dirt from grooves and crevices will eliminate scuff marks. Never use water for regular cleaning.

Brooms like the Swiffer Sweeper removes dirt in hard to reach grooves.

2. Use a well-wrung mop, cloth or sponge

Unsealed floors cannot absorb water. Make very sure that your mop, cloth or sponge is wrung very dry before proceeding to clean it.

If the floor gets too wet, use a dry cloth to soak up additional moisture. The floor must be completely dry before you move any furniture on it.

3. Use natural cleaners

Avoid commercial cleaning products, especially if your plan is to refinish your floor. These can be harsh and leave abrasions like scuff marks.

Mixed with water, natural cleaners like:

  • half a lemon
  • 2 teaspons of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of white vinegar
  • and 3 teaspoons of tea tree oil bring out the natural shine of wood floors.

4. Wax your floors

Unsealed floors shine with the help of a little bit of wax. Be wary of using wax if your intention is to seal your floor in future.

Wax can be very difficult to remove from floors, so you’ve to be sure that you’re not going to apply sealers.

5. Use mineral spirits

Mineral spirits do a fine job of bringing out the shine of hardwood. These are solvents often used in place of turpentine to thin paint.

Examples are paraffin and cyclo-propane, which leave behind a strong odor when you use them. Odorless mineral spirits are often used instead.

Aside from cleaning your floor, they remove nasty scuff marks. Dry cloths must always be used to remove any excess liquid.

6. Use rugs and runners

Protect your unsealed hardwood floors with carpets, rugs and runners. These prevent any dirt and scuff marks left behind by the movement of furniture.

Unsealed hardwood can be a little more difficult to clean. Fortunately, a range of options is available to expedite the process.

Hardwood Floor Basic Installation

Installing Hardwood FloorsIf you’ve decided on putting down new hardwood floors, then you’re probably wondering about how to install them and how much a professional installation would cost. Luckily, hardwood flooring installation is not always a difficult task these days as certain products are made to be installed by the homeowner rather than a carpenter. However, if you’re planning on using a high quality wood, or have special circumstances than hiring a professional installer is definitely recommended.

Both imitation hardwood and real wood flooring now comes in sets that allow the consumer to easily install their new floors by themselves. Much like a puzzle (or a piece of IKEA furniture), the boards come with fittings on the sides that allow them to snap together really easily. As long as you have a fairly normal area that you’re using, you should have no problem installing these flooring products.

However, if you are putting flooring down in a large area or in a room with less than rectangular walls, you will definitely want to hire a pro to do the work for you. The main reason this is important is because the boards will have to be cut to shape to fit exactly and to follow the changes in your wall shape. In addition, expensive wood can be damaged from installation and this will keep your inexperienced hands from ruining your new investment.

Professional hardwood installation costs can vary quite dramatically by location and job size. Generally the contractors will give an estimate based on how many hours they expect the job to take. Depending on experience level and cost of living for the area, the contractor’s hour rate could be anywhere from $15 to $100 per hour. Because it may be a more reliable measure, some contractors may derive their estimate from the square footage of the area. The numbers will work out to roughly the same figure, but then he won’t have to worry about his productivity level during the job.

There are some extra tasks that may end up raising the costs dramatically. If the installer has to remove your current flooring and dispose of it or if you want to put down some sort of sound dampening floor covering, this will have to be included in the cost.

Installing your hardwood floors is not an impossible task to do yourself either, although it can be quite daunting for someone without flooring experience. The old saying of measure twice cut once really applies here. Unless you want to end up with a bunch of odd board sizes at the end, you need to measure and plan out how you will cover the entire area before you even begin any cutting or placing.

Find Discount Hardwood Flooring Without Sacrificing Quality

Hardwood floors add a simple elegance and sophistication to any room. They are easy to clean and when taken care of can last for years, but some people are scared away from installing them because of the price.

While hardwood can be a pricey flooring choice, discount hardwood flooring can save you a great deal of money. You don’t have to sacrifice quality to find affordable hardwood. The key is knowing where to look and shopping at just the right time.

Discount Hardwood Flooring

Before you start looking for deals on hardwood flooring, you should first decide exactly what you want and how much of it you will need. There are hundreds of different types of hardwood floors. Each type of flooring is made up of a different wood and a different finish on the wood. You can even get unfinished floors so you can have control over the type of finish.

Browsing a hardwood flooring website can give you an idea of what types of flooring is out there and how much the average cost of it is. Once you know what you like and the average price of it, you can begin your search for discount prices. The Internet is a great place to start to find deals on flooring, although you can also check newspapers for deals in your area.

Easiest Place to Start Looking

The easiest place to find deals is at a hardwood floor store. These stores have large variety of flooring and will often have sales to get rid of overstock. You can visit these stores to see if you can get a discounted price in the style you are looking for. The downside to this is that the sale inventory is usually limited, and it can be tough to find the type of flooring you want on sale unless you are very lucky. With patience and persistence, you can find exactly the flooring you want at a great price.

It can be difficult to find just the right kind of flooring you want, and trying to find it at a discount is even more difficult. By figuring out what type of flooring you want and searching the Internet and your local newspaper for deals and sales, you can find the floors you need at a discount without sacrificing style or quality. Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home and can serve you and your family well for years to come.

Tips For Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Cleaning Hardwood FloorA common concupiscence found in the heart of many is the installation of hardwood flooring in their house. However, cleaning hardwood floors is a task that people seldom wants to perform. The reason why people overlook the backbreaking task of cleaning hardwood is because of the beauty and grace that these types of floors bring with them. They go great with every type of furniture. If the task of cleaning  is performed at the prescribed time then your wood floors will certainly look better with age. Cleaning this type of floor however is not an easy-to-do task, but it’s far easier than cleaning carpet and tile. The other good thing about cleaning hardwood is that it stipulates same hard work that cleaning old wood floors will.

Regular Cleaning

Cleaning regularly is a process that is required for inducing the ‘clean’ look in your house. If it is not performed at prescribed and required times then you will have to pay for it later. If they are not cleaned properly, then it will start to look aged sooner than it should. In precise, if you are too lazy to clean, then wood floors are not made-for-you.

Getting Started

Let us now discuss how to get clean hardwood floors at home. It is not difficult, but it is also not easy. It can be justly designated as a job that is easy if you know what to do.

When we talk about a clean hardwood floor, we refer to a floor that is free from dirt and spot. It is mandatory for you to clean them almost everyday. Vacuuming with a hardwood vacuum, or Sweeping the floor, can be the start of the process. In order to maintain clean floors you should not permit sand, silt or dirt to settle at the surface. Dirt and grit gives strong opposition by weakening them over time. This is one reason why people want to keep all the dirt away from floor even if they cannot see them. This tells us that clean floors do not only grant a good look to your floor but will also almost simultaneously help in making them last long.

Mopping

The second step that is required is mopping. Once you are done with removing all the dirt, you need to sweep with a mop. You do not require a lot of water and this is where people make mistakes.

There are many other ways that can contribute to a cleaner floor. However, in order to maintain this cleanliness, you will need to install rugs and mats. You’ll want to get it near the door or at the center of the room. Rugs will act as a savior to the structure of your wooden floors and will help to give it the charm and grace.

To sum it all up, in order to get clean hardwood floors, you are obliged to clean it daily. Since cleaning this kind of floor is not as difficult as cleaning carpets, you can easily be a patron of such work.