Dear Meghan and Harry*,
When life gets messy, you need a floor that’s easy to clean. With kids around, it can seem as though floors are a magnet for spilled food and drinks. Proper maintenance is essential to keep wood floors looking beautiful and performing well for the lifetime of the floor. Maintenance will enhance the performance of the floor, it will prolong the lifetime of the floor, it will promote long-term sustainability of raw materials, and it will protect your investment. It’s best to use a cleaner made specifically for the finish on the floor, which is something your flooring professional can provide or recommend to you when the job is completed.
All wood floors will indent and scratch. No finish that is applied will prevent this from happening.
Hardwood will change color. Because hardwood is a product of nature it will continue to react to sunlight after installation. Some species will darken in direct sunlight while others will fade. It is important to apply window coverings to windows in areas with direct sunlight to avoid drastic changes in color. Color changes will be evident under area rugs and stationary furniture.
Wood is an organic material that reacts to its environment. In humid environments (summer), wood gains moisture and can swell. In dry environments (winter, exacerbated by wood stoves or fireplaces), wood loses moisture and can shrink. If the environment in which your wood floors are installed changes significantly, it can cause changes in your floors and the way they perform. If your floors gain moisture, they can cup. Cupping occurs across the width of the floorboard, with edges that are raised on each board and centers that are lower than the edges. If your floors lose moisture, they can gap or split. This can occur between floorboards or on the face of the boards. Gaps and splits can vary in size and are considered to be normal if they appear and disappear during normal seasonal changes. Both of these issues can be minimized by keeping your home between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and between 30-50 percent humidity, year-round.
P.S. You both have a unique perspectives on messy lives - and cleaning up that mess!
*Full disclosure: not only have we never worked for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, we've never actually met them. Indeed, I'm not sure we've ever been in the same city at the same time. They seem like fun people, though, and we would be happy to build a home for them. If any of you are close friends with them, we would be grateful for an introduction!