hardwood flooring

Caring for Hardwood Floors

Caring for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a big part of the home and warrant some love and care to keep them looking as good as they did when you installed them.

Follow these helpful tips and suggestions to help you take care of your hardwood floors.

Clean moisture immediately

cleaning hardwood flooring

When water or other moisture spills down onto your hardwood floors, use a dry or slightly damp cloth to wipe up the mess. Try to avoid overly wet or steaming mops which will increase the chances of water seeping into the floors and thus causing more damage over time.

Wood swells and shrinks as a result of moisture both on the surface and in the air around it. Keeping humidity levels around hardwood floors down is crucial to avoiding gapping, splitting, and cupping of the flat surface.

Therefore, apart from cleaning up spills as soon as possible, try to keep your home’s temperature between 16 to 27 degrees Celsius and also between 30 to 50% humidity. 

Invest in Furniture Pads

furniture pads

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Some of the toughest and most noticeable problems to solve when working with hardwood floors are scratches and gouges. While the occasional scratches are impossible to prevent, scratches caused by furniture and other factors are generally preventable.

One good and inexpensive way to prevent scratches is to purchase lots of furniture pads and attach them to the legs of your tables, chairs, sofas, and other items placed directly on hardwood floors. 

You may also want to be mindful of dragging furniture across your hardwood floors since this will cause deep scratches that will accelerate the rate at which your floors degrade.

Clean the Floors Regularly

cleaning hardwood floors

While this may seem a bit excessive at first, sweeping and dusting hardwood floors daily is a solid recommendation. Even in a no-shoes household, dust and grime quickly accumulates and settle into the spaces between floorboards and the grains on the wooden surface.

If you have pets around the house, this is even more of an issue in terms of hygiene and potential allergens that may build up and affect the respiratory health of those in and around the home.

Try to vacuum your hardwood floors at least once a week. This is not only a step toward keeping your home clean, but it also goes a long way to ensure that any dirt and crumbs missed during daily cleaning do not settle in and scratch your floors.

Use Floor Cleaner at least once a month

cleaning floor hardwood

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If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can use a dedicated wood floor mop and a commercial wood-cleaning product monthly. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to be best informed so that you dilute it in the right proportions.

When using a mop, saturate it in water and wring it to the point of feeling slightly damp to the touch. Then, mop the floor carefully to prevent pools of water from standing on the floor for long periods. Try to wipe up any excess liquid immediately with a sponge or a dry mop.

If the wood cleaning product instructions dictate it, rinse your floors with the mop similarly dampened in clean water.

Alternatively, clean hardwood floors with a mixture of half a cup of white vinegar and a gallon of lukewarm water.

Remember that vinegar can dull the shine of certain hardwood finishes. Therefore, test your vinegar solution in an inconspicuous spot somewhere off to the side of a room before using the kitchen product to clean your hardwood floors.

If you are experiencing high humidity during cleaning, ensure that you operate the air-conditioning or a ceiling fan to speed up the drying process.

When it comes to choosing a cleaning product for deep washing, there is no hard and fast rule with your choice. This is because different hardwood finishes require different treatments. 

Therefore, experts recommend following individual product recommendations of your flooring manufacturer and hardwood finish professionals.

However, there are cleaning products that you should always avoid. Harsh chemicals are likely to create hazing on the surface, and this can build up slowly over a few months.

If you have used harsh products in the past, wipe your hardwood floors with a damp microfiber cloth briefly dipped in warm water to clear out the cloudy film.

Re-finish the surfaces every 3 to 5 years

refinishing surface

Even when hardwood floors start to lose their shine and look a bit dull, they can be restored and renewed by recoating the surface. This is done by applying a fresh coat of wood floor finish. 

While you may want to do it more often depending on your lifestyle or preferences, refinishing wooden floors every 3 to 5 years will go a long way.

The cost of refinishing hardwood floors ranges between $4 to $9 per square metre, depending on the level of detailing and the refinishing methods.

The refinishing process often begins with cleaning the floor, using sandpaper to hand-sand the boundary of the room before vacuuming and dry-tacking the floor. Use floor strips to guide you and ensure you dry-tack the floor with a microfiber cloth that is pushed with the grain rather than against it.

Roll out the finish in line with the grain using a long-handled roller with a quarter-inch nap. Overlap each movement while ensuring you retain a wet edge. Let the finish sit for a few hours before recoating it, and wait a few days for it to set before returning the furniture.

Conclusion

Taking some time and effort to care for your hardwood floors will go a long way to ensuring they maintain their pristine appearance for as long as possible. Therefore, try to clean regularly, avoid leaving puddles of water for long periods and invest in some products to help hardwood floors remain attractive and durable.

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