Steam Cleaning Laminate and Hardwood Floors Article by

Steam Cleaning Laminate and Hardwood Floors Article by

Steam Cleaning Laminate and Hardwood Floors

You have seen the infomercials and possibly read product labels that say «safe for cleaning laminate or wood flooring, but I can assure you that steam cleaning wood or laminate flooring is a recipe for disaster.

Most hardwood and laminate flooring manufacturers warn against moisture and their products. In addition, damage caused by excessive moisture is rarely ever covered in a warranty. This being said, I wonder why these steam cleaning advertisements continue to show that it is fine and even recommended to steam clean a laminate or wood floor.

I write this article today because we have been bombarded by hundreds of flooring consumers over the last couple of months with questions and concerns regarding steam cleaning their laminate or wood flooring. For some, their floors were already damaged beyond repair from the steam cleaners while others decided not to use or purchase the steam cleaner without consulting with us first. We heard two things from our customers; «I’m so glad I asked about steaming my floor before using this» or «I wish I had asked you before I went ahead and ruined my flooring.»

Laminate flooring is very susceptible to moisture, especially heat and moisture known as humidity. Normally the higher the quality of laminate, the more moisture resistant, but never moisture proof. The majority of laminate flooring is made with a fiber core that expands when it comes in contact with moisture. I equate laminate to cardboard only for demonstrating my point and I am not comparing laminate to cardboard in any way. Have you ever seen cardboard get wet and then dry out? What happens? Although the moisture is gone, the cardboard never goes back to its original shape. Laminate acts much in the same way in high humidity and excessive moisture conditions. Once the laminate starts to alter shape, it usually ridges at the seams where the laminate locks together and will rarely return to its original shape. Just like cardboard there is nothing that can be done at this point and we are often telling laminate flooring consumers that their only option is replacement.

Your hardwood floors are a major investment and you want to keep them looking their best. For hardwood floor owners, the dilemma on whether to use a steam cleaner is not as clear cut as laminate flooring. Depending on the type of hardwood species (Oak versus Brazilian Cherry, Maple versus Teak), humidity from a steam cleaner can have very different effects. We have seen some hardwood floors that have been steam cleaned and look great afterwards, while other floors were damaged beyond simple repair. With so many good hardwood floor cleaning kits available today, it is never necessary to steam clean a hardwood floor, so why take the chance? We have seen the great damage to hardwood floors from steam cleaners happen in drier climates such as the mountains and desert regions. This is because the hardwood has stabilized in the home at a very low humidity level. Introducing steam (hot moisture) to the floor makes the wood flooring expand beyond its normal movement range. This can cause the floor to cup, buckle, and in extreme cases damage walls from expanding too much. Wood is a natural product and does absorb moisture. For more on this, read our section on acclimating wood flooring .

Hardwood flooring is more likely to take the abuse of steam cleaning better than laminate flooring in the short term. After repeated use and the constant introduction of humidity to the floor, hardwood floors will begin to show signs of damage. So, although the damage might not be immediate, always use caution and check with your local flooring professionals on the best products to maintain your floors. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at info@findanyfloor.com or use our Live Chat feature located at the top of every page on our website to talk to a flooring pro today. If you haven’t already, there are great hardwood and laminate floor cleaning videos at FloorTube.com .

Steam Cleaning Laminate and Hardwood Floors

You have seen the infomercials and possibly read product labels that say «safe for cleaning laminate or wood flooring, but I can assure you that steam cleaning wood or laminate flooring is a recipe for disaster.

Steam Cleaning Laminate and Hardwood Floors Article by

Most hardwood and laminate flooring manufacturers warn against moisture and their products. In addition, damage caused by excessive moisture is rarely ever covered in a warranty. This being said, I wonder why these steam cleaning advertisements continue to show that it is fine and even recommended to steam clean a laminate or wood floor.

I write this article today because we have been bombarded by hundreds of flooring consumers over the last couple of months with questions and concerns regarding steam cleaning their laminate or wood flooring. For some, their floors were already damaged beyond repair from the steam cleaners while others decided not to use or purchase the steam cleaner without consulting with us first. We heard two things from our customers; «I’m so glad I asked about steaming my floor before using this» or «I wish I had asked you before I went ahead and ruined my flooring.»

Laminate flooring is very susceptible to moisture, especially heat and moisture known as humidity. Normally the higher the quality of laminate, the more moisture resistant, but never moisture proof. The majority of laminate flooring is made with a fiber core that expands when it comes in contact with moisture. I equate laminate to cardboard only for demonstrating my point and I am not comparing laminate to cardboard in any way. Have you ever seen cardboard get wet and then dry out? What happens? Although the moisture is gone, the cardboard never goes back to its original shape. Laminate acts much in the same way in high humidity and excessive moisture conditions. Once the laminate starts to alter shape, it usually ridges at the seams where the laminate locks together and will rarely return to its original shape. Just like cardboard there is nothing that can be done at this point and we are often telling laminate flooring consumers that their only option is replacement.

Your hardwood floors are a major investment and you want to keep them looking their best. For hardwood floor owners, the dilemma on whether to use a steam cleaner is not as clear cut as laminate flooring. Depending on the type of hardwood species (Oak versus Brazilian Cherry, Maple versus Teak), humidity from a steam cleaner can have very different effects. We have seen some hardwood floors that have been steam cleaned and look great afterwards, while other floors were damaged beyond simple repair. With so many good hardwood floor cleaning kits available today, it is never necessary to steam clean a hardwood floor, so why take the chance? We have seen the great damage to hardwood floors from steam cleaners happen in drier climates such as the mountains and desert regions. This is because the hardwood has stabilized in the home at a very low humidity level. Introducing steam (hot moisture) to the floor makes the wood flooring expand beyond its normal movement range. This can cause the floor to cup, buckle, and in extreme cases damage walls from expanding too much. Wood is a natural product and does absorb moisture. For more on this, read our section on acclimating wood flooring .

Hardwood flooring is more likely to take the abuse of steam cleaning better than laminate flooring in the short term. After repeated use and the constant introduction of humidity to the floor, hardwood floors will begin to show signs of damage. So, although the damage might not be immediate, always use caution and check with your local flooring professionals on the best products to maintain your floors. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at info@findanyfloor.com or use our Live Chat feature located at the top of every page on our website to talk to a flooring pro today. If you haven’t already, there are great hardwood and laminate floor cleaning videos at FloorTube.com .


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