Wood flooring endows your home with old-world charm and grace. It lasts for generations if properly cared for and allowed to age beautifully. Another great feature of hardwood flooring is that it is natural and environment-friendly.
Humanity has used timber to lay floors for hundreds of years, and the flooring continues to remain in style, impervious to trends. Wooden floors have a timeless appeal.
There are many advantages to a wood floor. Apart from increasing the aesthetic appeal of your house, it also fetches you a higher price at the time of selling it.
Wood floors do not require meticulous maintenance, but they cannot take care of themselves. You need to be careful and avoid damaging friction, and also adopt wood-safe cleaning practices.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain your wood flooring and ensure it lasts forever.
It’s Important to Know Your Flooring
The maintenance procedures and the cleaning methods are determined by the type of flooring and the kind of finish used on it.
Wax polish cannot be used to rejuvenate polyurethane, shellac or varnish finishes. Wax makes these floors slippery and adversely affects their finish.
There are specific polishes that can be used on polyurethane floors.
General-purpose polishes are available which can be used after testing the results on a small insignificant patch on the floor. Ensure the polish does not peel off or harm the natural finish of the floor.
Make sure you check with the dealer or manufacturer for user instructions.
Keep Away the Moisture
Water is the biggest enemy of hardwood floors. Water ruins the finish of your floor and makes it dull. If the floor remains wet and damp for long, the moisture will seep into the wood and stain it.
The damage caused is irreversible and you will find it difficult to regain the lost looks.
Avoid wet-mopping and do not clean your floor with water or other liquids. You can use a slightly damp mop for wiping a wood floor clean of fine dust. But make sure the floor is immediately dried and does not retain any moisture. You can switch on the ceiling fan or the air-conditioner to speed up drying.
So, the best way to go about cleaning your wood floors is to vacuum and sweep them regularly.
Regular Care Goes a Long Way
As in the case of carpets, dust and dirt can cause trouble for wood flooring. When you walk over the floor, the dust caught underfoot causes damaging friction, mimicking the action of sandpaper. It grates away at the floor surface and slowly wears through the finish.
Regular vacuuming removes dust, dirt and sand from the floor surface. Ensure you use suitable attachments for the vacuum and that do not scratch or damage the finish.
You can also sweep your floor clean with a soft-bristled broom.
Watch Chemical Spills
Hair spray and furniture polish are harmful to wood flooring. If they spill on the surface, immediately wipe off with a slightly damp cloth. If you want more thorough cleaning, dilute a pH-neutral cleaning liquid (like dishwasher liquid) and gently scrub the surface clean. Wipe with a dry towel immediately.
Say No to Oil
Oil soaps and liquid/paste waxes should be avoided too. When you use cleaning agents containing oil, residue is left on the floor surface which alters and affects the floor polish.
Harsh chemical cleaners and ammonia-based products should be avoided.
Make Your Home a Safe Haven for the Floors
Sunlight: Wood floors are affected by exposure to harsh sunlight. You know that UV rays are harmful for your skin, but they can also cause discoloration of wooden floors. Window blinds and sheer curtains help filter the sun’s rays and protect the floor from direct and harsh sunlight.
You can also put in area rugs in places where there is too much of exposure to sunlight.
House Plants: If you have indoor plants, ensure that the moisture does not seep into the floor. You can place mats or plates beneath the pots to prevent their dampness from affecting the floor.
Pets: Trim your pets’ nails and always ensure they do not come in from the outdoors with their paws muddy, or covered in grime and grease.
Furniture: Do not haul or move heavy furniture or appliances across a wooden floor because it will cause ugly scratches on it. Have felt or rubber casters attached to the legs of heavy sofa and furniture. Use a dolly or roll mats on the floor when you are moving something heavy across it.
Stop Dirt in Its Tracks
Make sure you place high quality doormats at the entrance and exit points of your house. This will prevent dirt, dust, oil and other corrosive substances from being tracked in from the outside.
Wood floors are easy to maintain, and have a soothing and calming influence on your family. With proper and timely care, you can help your wood flooring remain cozy, warm and inviting forever.
Thanks out to Bruce for this comprehensive article. For more on Hardwood Flooring, please peruse our top level category Flooring for more info on selecting, installing, and caring for floors. ~jb