Reclaimed Wood Flooring Care & Maintenance

TerraMai’s reclaimed wood flooring will show signs of wear over time depending on sight conditions, amount of traffic and type of use. Ultimately, owner understanding and observation of the flooring condition over time will dictate the care and maintenance program. By observing a few precautions and setting up a regular cleaning routine and maintenance program, you can expect years of beauty form your TerraMai reclaimed wood flooring. For everyday general maintenance of oil and poly finished flooring, keep the floor as free from dust, dirt, and grit as possible. Dirt and grit are the primary cause of a dull finish and abrasions to both the finish and the wood. The following are examples of the reasonable and necessary maintenance and care you are expected to perform. They are not intended to be an exclusive list.

  • Everyday food and liquid spills should be promptly cleaned with a clean, soft, and slightly dampened cloth if needed. Please see appropriate care and maintenance products listed below for routine use. Treated dust mops, commercially made hardwood floor cleaners and commercial waxes are not recommended.
  • Sweep, dust mop, vacuum or wipe the floor with a slightly dampened rag as needed or at least once per week. Use only a vacuum type appropriate for wood flooring. Brooms should be soft-bristle types. The dustpan should be a ‘soft’ plastic type.
  • Use caution when applying water to wood flooring – excessive water will damage wood flooring. Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and cause discoloration. Excessive water can penetrate between planks and cause damage to both the floor and subfloor.
  • Do not use hardwood flooring cleaning machines or steam cleaners. Do not use 2-in-1 cleaners with polish that may contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss. Do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax products or other industrial cleaners that contain citrus oils, lemon oil, tung oil, silicon or ammonia.
  • Doormats or rugs on either side of all entry/exit doors are recommended. Grit and dirt tracked onto the floor is the most common cause of damage. Area rugs are also suggested for heavy traffic areas.
  • Do not use rubber, foam-back, or plastic mats as they may discolor the floor. To prevent slippage of area rugs, use a quality vinyl rug underlay. Area rugs should be moved occasionally as they block sunlight, which alters the color of the floor over time.
  • Protect bottoms of chairs, tables, couches, cabinets, and other heavy objects with felt glides. Clean and/or replace the glides on a regular basis, as they may become embedded with dirt and grit over time.
  • When moving heavy furniture or appliances, use extra caution to avoid scratching, indentations, and gouging. Some objects may be too heavy to be moved across a hardwood floor under any circumstances. Certain types of casters may damage hardwood flooring.
  • High-heel shoes will damage wood floors and finishes. Spike or stiletto high-heel shoes, especially those in poor repair, will cause denting and related damage to hardwood floors due to the extremely high compressive force they generate. Such footwear can produce dynamic loads in excess of 1,000 pounds per square inch, even when worn by someone of slight or average build.
  • Exposure to the sun and its UV rays accelerates the oxidation and aging of wood. This can cause the stain and/or wood to fade and/or to change color. We recommend that you rearrange rugs and furniture periodically so the floor ages evenly.
  • As a general rule, a humidity level of 30-to-50 percent and a temperature range of 60° to 80°F is recommended for wood flooring. Use a humidifier in dry conditions or dehumidifier in damp conditions. In some climates, the ideal humidity range may be 5% higher or lower.
  • Do not allow the environment where your wood floor resides to experience rapid fluctuations in temperature or relative humidity. Do not turn off HVAC systems or reduce heat or AC too drastically when on vacation or when leaving the space for extended periods of time.

Wood Flooring Long-Term Care & Maintenance:

The degree of wear and damage to both the finish and the wood vary dramatically from one installation to another depending on the amount of foot traffic, type of foot traffic, sun exposure, furniture movement, exposure to moisture and many other factors. A wood flooring professional with first-hand knowledge of the installation is best able to advise on long-term maintenance and refinishing.

Polyurethane Finishes:

  • Timing to refinish a wood floor with a polyurethane finish will depend upon usage, exposure and various other use factors. Ultimately, a polyurethane floor should be refinished before any activity wears through the poly topcoat exposing the raw wood beneath. Typically, it is inadvisable to spot finish a polyurethane finished floor as it is difficult to blend any repair areas into the surrounding areas. If some portions of the floor are showing wear, refinishing the entire floor (or room) will yield more visually favorable results. For light traffic residential use, a properly monitored and maintained polyurethane finish can last a lifetime.
  • Polyurethane finished floors do need to be sanded prior to refinishing.

Oil Finishes:

  • For an oil finish, it is required to use Rubio products in order to comply with the TerraMai warranty.
  • Surface scratches, dents, and stains can be spot treated by rubbing a small amount of Rubio oil into the area and buffing it with a cotton cloth until the affected area blends with the surrounding floor.
  • The timing for a complete Rubio oil recoat varies greatly from one installation to another and is based on the original oil finish. Extreme heavy use may require a recoat every several months while it may be many years for light traffic installations to need a recoat. When the surface feels too dry or rough, or begins to look starved, it is time for a recoat. Recoating should be done prior to the finish wearing off.
  • Oil finished floors do not typically need to be sanded prior to recoating.

Care & Maintenance Products:

  • For a polyurethane finish, we recommend cleaning products specifically designed for polyurethane. Here are 2 suggestions: The wood flooring finish company Bona provides a complete line of industry-standard care and maintenance products designed for polyurethane finishes. Aero-Green 4220 from Hi-Lite Solutions is also an eco-friendly and effective cleaning product.
  • For an oil finish, it is REQUIRED to use Rubio products in order to comply with TerraMai’s warranty. The wood finish company Rubio, provides high-quality, zero-VOC and low-VOC care and maintenance products designed specifically for Rubio oil finishes. Rubio oils can also be found on our eStore.


A Note on Fire Retardant:

Fire retardants are not recommended for flooring or exterior use unless approved for application on the back side of the material. Materials treated with fire retardant and finished with oil or water-based polyurethane will become cloudy with moisture contact. Care should be taken to avoid contact with moisture for wall paneling, cladding and ceiling applications that have fire retardant.

The care and maintenance information included here is based on recommendations from the NWFA, wood finish manufacturers and other sources. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, due to the variety of reclaimed wood products, finish products, installation techniques, installation conditions and other variables, TerraMai cannot assume any liability or suitability for the use of these recommended techniques or products. It is the sole responsibility of the installer and/or the floor finisher and cleaning professionals to adequately test and determine specific products and applications. Follow all manufacturers recommended application instructions. For more specific information, consult a licensed wood flooring installer or the NWFA at 800.422.4556 or

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