Hardwood flooring is beautiful; it exudes both charm and luxury, which is why it suits any interior design choices from a Victorian theme to a contemporary setting.
But, that’s not the only reason why homeowners choose this material. It’s durable, versatile, and efficient – everything your floor needs to be.
Hardwood floor maintenance is pretty simple, too, but you have to take caution. A simple mistake can mess up your beautiful flooring.
To avoid damaging your floors, here are some tips to guide you on the proper maintenance methods. Keep on reading to keep your flooring clean and flawless the right way.
1. Establish a Cleaning Schedule
With cleaning hardwood flooring, the adage “less is more” holds true. You don’t need to clean with a cleanser every day.
In fact, you only need to sweep or a dust mop on regular days. This is to remove dirt and dust that can scratch the wood floor. Microfiber cloths work great as they can trap dirt and other particles with static electricity.
Once a week, we recommend vacuuming up using the bare floor setting. Don’t use a beater bar attachment — this could damage the floor. You may have to do this more often if you have children or pets.
A vacuum won’t be able to clean the built-up dirt and grime, though. You’ll also have to use a gentle liquid cleaner once in a while. We recommend doing this at least once a month coupled with polishing.
Once a year, consider deep cleaning your hardwood floors. Then every 3-5 years, sand them and refinish.
Sanding strips off the protective film of the floor before you replace it. It also repairs scratches and scuffs, leaving you with a brand new look.
2. Know the Right Ways to Clean and Wax
Cleaning hardwood floor isn’t complicated, but you do have to keep some pointers in mind. You have to be careful in choosing the right products and avoid using too much water.
You should always use a gentle cleanser, one that the manufacturer intended for hardwood floors. Don’t use vinyl or tile cleansers, and you shouldn’t clean with vinegar either.
As for the cleaning tool, a damp cloth or mop is the way to go. Water is one of the biggest enemies of hardwood, so you shouldn’t use a wet mop or even a steam mop.
You should also be careful about waxing as it can cause a buildup. You only need to re-apply once or twice a year, but for areas with less traffic, you can apply wax every other session. You can also consider buffing instead so as not to over-wax.
A good buffer can seem a bit expensive but your floors will benefit from it. Buffers work like giant sandpaper, breaking down dust and dirt to keep your floor shiny.
3. Use Rugs at Strategic Places
Rugs and mats are great at protecting your floor from dirt and scratches, but you can’t put them everywhere. Instead, place them where there’s a higher risk of damage, such as at entryways.
You should also lay down rugs in high-traffic areas, especially in the kitchen. Put one in front of the sink and another in front of the stove. The floor in the living room also receives a lot of abuse, which makes a rug well-suited in this area, too.
One thing to remember is to stay away from rubber-backed mats. Some products can trap moisture underneath, causing damage.
Another use for rugs is for covering up deep scratches that over-the-counter products can’t solve. In these cases, you might consider replacing them altogether. If you find the need for some new flooring, visit this website to learn more.
4. Be Careful with Moving Furniture
Furniture is one of the biggest offenders of dents and scratches on a wood floor. Because furniture is heavy, it can put a dent in the floor where it’s standing. When it moves, the legs and corners create a deep scratch.
That’s why flooring maintenance also involves putting pads or chair legs to protect the floor. These accessories should prevent the furniture from moving when it doesn’t need to, and when it does, they can prevent scratching.
If you have to move a furniture piece, refrain from pushing it across the floor. This is a surefire way to get scratches on your beautiful wood flooring. Instead, get an assistant and lift the furniture to its destination.
Wheels also seem to be a sensible idea until you realize that they can trap dirt, which scratches the floor. They are, however, pretty handy to install on the furniture pieces you need to move about often.
If you must install wheels on chairs, for example, get the right model. Choose the ones that are safe for hardwood floors.
5. The Do’s and Don’ts of Hardwood Floor Maintenance
Aside from the tips above, here are more tips on how to main hardwood floors the right way.
First of all, you should clean spills right away to prevent the floor from soaking it up. Wine and ink are especially good at staining wood floorings, but they won’t stain if you wipe them quickly. As with cleaning, don’t use a soaked mop.
Using a multi-purpose AC unit or a humidifier during the winter months is also advisable. For optimal flooring care, the humidity level in your home should be about 35-55%. A low humidity level can dry out and weaken the wood, whereas a high level can allow moisture to seep into the floor.
As much as possible, avoid using high heels and shoes with cleats inside the house. These can dent or scratch the flooring. In line with this, your pet’s nails can also do the same damage, so it’s best to keep their nails trimmed as well.
Sunlight is another element that can damage hardwood floors. When an area has too much exposure, you’ll notice some discoloration on that area. The flooring on that space will age and fade faster.
To prevent prolonged exposure to sunlight, using curtains can help. However, we can’t always keep the curtains closed. In such cases, a UV coating for the windows is another possibility.
6. Beware of Cleaning Chemicals
You should first check the base ingredients in the cleaning chemicals you use on the floor. You might want to take a step back if they have a base ingredient of ammonia or vinegar. These two ingredients can and will eat away all the dirt on your floor but they’ll also damage the wood finishing too.
This means you’ll end up with splotches all over the floor.
Cleaning soap with oil is fine but only use sparingly. They don’t break down the dirt; instead, they simply trap it atop the varnish. This can lead to your hardwood floors fading after some time.
As mentioned, too much water in your cleaning solutions is also a bad thing. Wood can absorb water and if you use too much, even in your cleaning solutions, then the floor will take in some of the excess. Over time, this can lead to the floors cracking at the seams.
Cracks are the worst offenders because you can’t repair them. You’ll have to replace the whole section with brand new wood.
7. When in Doubt, Hire Professionals
Taking care of your hardwood floors shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. That said, there may be instances where you’re already dealing with built-up dust, fading, and cracked panels. For these instances, DIY is no longer the viable solution.
Instead, you should turn to the professionals. There are experts who specialize in maintenance and replacements for hardwood floors.
But why spend money on expert wood repairmen when you can do it yourself?
Safety is the main reason above all else. Experts have the training to ensure they know how to use all the dangerous power tools properly. They also have the right safety gear to reduce potential accidents.
Other reasons include their expertise, access to the right tools for the job, and efficiency.
It might seem expensive to hire professionals but keep in mind it’s a one-time payment. The results last longer than usual and this means you won’t pay for high maintenance or repairs for years.
If you do it all by yourself, there’s a chance the job won’t get done right. You’ll end up spending more to fix the mistakes and even then there’s no guarantee it’ll get done perfectly.
Learn More About Taking Good Care of Your Home
Hardwood floor maintenance isn’t the only thing you need to study when it comes to your abode. Managing your home can become overwhelming when you consider the issue of molds, broken ceilings, and pipes breaking within the walls.
But you don’t have to deal with these problems on your own. Feel free to visit us today and discover some of our other guides that can help you keep your home in tip-top shape.