How Smart Homeowners Maintain Their Hardwood Floors
The installation of hardwood flooring is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. Some people are even lucky enough to peel up laminate or tiling to find a hidden treasure of hardwood flooring underneath.
New or used, there is no flooring material that offers the luxurious warmth and style that wood does – it's why tile and laminate try to emulate the look!
Of course another huge advantage of hardwood floors are their durability. In fact, as a wood floor ages, the worn look is actually more appealing. Take into account that the top layer of the planks can be sanded and refinished to look like new and it's easy to see how wood flooring can be a 50-75+ year product.
This unfortunately brings us to one of the most common misconceptions homeowners have about hardwood flooring – that it is impenetrable. If you truly want your glorious hardwood floors to last up to 50 years or more, you're going to need to perform some maintenance – both routine as well as preventative. Here are some tips on caring for your hardwood floors:
Cleaning Materials and Schedule
Wood floors generally clean up nicely with nothing more than a broom, dry mop, or vacuum. This gets all debris off the surface of the floor, which is actually pretty important since rocks can scratch the floor if they get embedded in a shoe.
There are other times when you'll want to give your floor a more rigorous cleaning to restore some of glistening shine that makes the floor such a focal point of the room. How you clean the hardwood floors depends on the surface finish. For example:
- Polyurethane – or urethane, poly-acrylic, and other surface-sealed clear coats are resistant to stains and water damage so they can be mopped like a normal floor.
- Lacquer – important to distinguish from polyurethane surface sealants because lacquer, varnish, and shellacs are not as impervious to moisture and spills.
- Penetrating Seals – instead of on the surface, these sealants penetrate the wood grains and harden. They also need special care for cleaning.
- Unfinished – can be cleaned, but only with proper care.
The keys in cleaning any hardwood floor, even surface-sealed ones, is to use a minimal amount of water (damp, not soaking). Stay away from oils (residue), furniture cleaners (slippery), and don't overdo it with waxes as it can make re-coating difficult. It's best to stay away from ammonia and other abrasive cleaners as well because they will dull or even scratch the beautiful surface of the wood.
Instead, use whatever cleaning product is recommended by your manufacturer or, in the worst-case scenario, mix up some mild soap (pH neutral dishwashing soap or Murphy's Oil) and water. Sweep your floor daily to remove the damaging debris and dander and try to give the surface a good mopping at least once a week.
How to Handle Refinishing
NOTE: For an in-depth article on sanding, refinishing and/or replacing your hardwood flooring, check out 3 Methods for Stained Hardwood Floor Repair. Read now >>
Although wood flooring can be sanded and refinished, remember that it's not an infinite product. When you remove material to make the surface appear refreshed, eventually you run out of material.
In fact, solid hardwood like Easiklip, is really the only product that can be resurfaced more than once.
NOTE: Want to experience Easiklip's sophisticated hardwood for yourself? Order your FREE sample pack today and see what all the fuss is about.
Of course this doesn't mean that engineered floors can't benefit from a re-sealing and buffing. In fact, applying a new layer of clear coat is required if you want to keep your moisture protection. Do this every 1-3 years or if you notice the surface coat wearing down in high-traffic areas.
Avoiding Scratches, Dents, and Other Imperfections
Finally, prevention is what gives you the most life out of your hardwood floors.
Specifically, make sure to use furniture pads so that you can move shelves, refrigerators, sofas, etc. without damaging the hardwood. Also, even though it's nice to show off your wood floors to your neighbours, area rugs will provide a bit of a buffer in high traffic areas and can also keep debris off the surface while shielding the wood from pet paws.
Your wood floor is not only an investment you can enjoy now, but one that you can recoup down the line when it comes to sell your home. However, to maximize your value you need to protect this investment with proper cleaning, care, and prevention.
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