If you're tearing up old carpets while looking for a type of wood floor to install, consider ash flooring. Known for its knots and character marks, ash wood is both durable and versatile. Installing hardwood flooring with these qualities improves the value of your home well into its lifetime.
What Is Ash Wood?
Ash wood is found across the eastern U.S., where ash trees (known as Fraxinus) grow as high as 120 feet tall and as wide as 5 feet in diameter, as observed by the American Hardwood Information Center. Although ash wood is a popular material of choice for flooring, it's also frequently used to manufacture kitchen cabinets, baseball bats, furniture and much more. The very durable flooring material resists impact, takes on stain that dries evenly and can wear finish that also lasts quite long. It installs easily as well, taking in nails and screws without cracking the surrounding surface, making it an ideal material for wood flooring.
How Is Ash Hardwood Flooring Different?
Unlike softwoods like cedar and spruce, which are cheaper and less durable, a hardwood like ash is ideal for use in heavily trafficked areas. In its natural state, the wood is light-colored with interior grains slightly darker, varying from grey, to light-brown to pale-yellow with brownish flecks. The grain is generally straight, but its character comes from its coarse design.
Here are some tips for caring for ash wood:
Can Ash Handle Water?
No matter what kind of wood floor you have, the Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association advises against directly pouring water on the floor. Further, use only a slightly dampened mop, as "even small amounts of water can cause the deterioration of finishes and warp the underlying wood." When cleaning these floors, however, mix a solution of Murphy® Oil Soap or another natural cleaner with warm water, and squeeze as much of the mixture from the mop as possible before applying to the surface.
What About Dirt?
Ash wood, due to its inherently lighter color, can hide dirt easily. However, it's important to avoid leaving dirt and debris on the floors. Most experts advise dry-cleaning floors with a soft broom or mop head daily to get rid of these dirt particles. Grit and dirt are the equivalent of sandpaper to flooring, even if it's as tough as ash. As household members walk through the home, they'll grind dirt particles into the floor, leaving scratches behind.
Tools That Don't Abuse
While limiting your use of water and dry-cleaning regularly, it's also helpful to choose your cleaning tools wisely. A brush attachment on your vacuum is ideal, as it will limit the wear and tear from the cleaning process itself. Also, avoid using dust polishers that you might apply on furniture, as they can make floors slippery and dangerous. In fact, dust treatments can actually dull the floor's finish and make it hard to sand and refinish.
For optimal care of your ash wood floors, trust your products as much as the hardwood. Don't let floors get too wet, sweep frequently and use the right tools and your home will last for a long time.
This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.