Whether you're installing a hardwood floor in a new home or replacing an old one, knowing how to properly maintain it is crucial. Compared to tiles or ceramic flooring, hardwood demands unique care.
Once you've mastered the basics of managing and maintaining a hardwood floor, you'll find the task effortless. Some of these basics include the following:
1. Dust And Sweep Daily
Daily sweeping and dusting are necessary to maintain the integrity of your hardwood flooring. Though it may seem tedious, these simple tasks don't require a professional's touch.
Allowing dust and grime to linger not only dulls the floor's shine but also compromises its structural integrity. Even the smallest amount of dirt or pet hair can damage hardwood flooring. Consequently, keeping your floor as clean as possible is essential.
Sweep your hardwood flooring daily and follow up with a dry or dust mop to pick up any remaining particles. A microfiber duster can also help maintain its sheen.
If you can only sweep part of the house daily, focus on high-traffic areas like entryways. This routine, costing nothing but time, can save you a significant amount by preventing regular floor repairs.
2. Fix Scratches Regularly
After installing top-quality hardwood flooring from a reputable company like Hardwood Planet, the last thing you want is damage. Scratches from grime and debris can mar the appearance of your floor, making it seem old and neglected. Unfortunately, scratches are part and parcel of owning hardwood flooring.
For a well-maintained look, address scratches regularly. You can handle this yourself or hire professionals. If opting for DIY, you'll need a stain marker from a wood furniture touch-up kit and a wax stick for deep scratches.
Choose a stain marker that matches your flooring color. After applying the wax, polish the scratch by lightly sanding the area, then spread the stain with a clean cloth.
A small amount of polyurethane can boost the shine. Alternatively, professionals specializing in hardwood floor care can deliver excellent results without causing further damage.
3. Clean The Floor Weekly
Even if you sweep and dust daily, your hardwood flooring still requires weekly cleaning. Use a cleaner specifically designed for your type of hardwood finish and avoid over-wetting the floor.
The ideal detergent should be pH-neutral, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Such formulas clean effectively, disinfect the floor, and are unlikely to cause damage. Once you've finished cleaning, thoroughly dry the floor to prevent moisture that could foster mold growth.
4. Dry Spills Immediately
Spills, particularly in homes with pets and small children, are inevitable. Left unchecked, liquids can severely damage hardwood flooring. Dry spills promptly with a dry or slightly damp cloth to prevent absorption and subsequent damage.
Wood naturally expands and contracts based on its moisture content and the humidity in the air. Monitoring your home's humidity levels can prevent your floor from splitting, cupping, or gapping.
Cleaning spills immediately, blocking moisture from seeping into the floor, and maintaining an indoor temperature between 60 and 80 degrees can help prevent these issues.
5. Invest In Furniture Pads
While some scratches are unavoidable, those caused by moving furniture can be prevented. Using furniture pads can protect your hardwood floor from such scratches. Install these pads under the legs of chairs, sofas, tables, wardrobes, and beds to avoid friction between the furniture and the floor.
6. Refinish Accordingly
Refinishing your hardwood flooring involves sanding the floor's outer layer and applying a new stain and lacquer to the existing wood. This process requires paint, a drum sander, and dye to restore the floor's shine. The need for refinishing depends on the age and thickness of your floor.
Floors less than 1/4-inch thick may not require refinishing as the process could potentially strip them completely. Typically, hardwood floors should be refinished every seven to ten years.
Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for its high-end, elegant appearance and durability. While its maintenance is not overly complicated, it does require specific care. Notably, hardwood flooring is sensitive to moisture and requires prompt attention to spills.
In addition to promptly addressing spills, it's essential to maintain a consistent and moderate indoor climate for your hardwood flooring. Extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations can cause the wood to expand and contract, leading to warping or cracking over time. Regular cleaning with a soft, dry mop or vacuum can also help to keep your hardwood floor looking its best while reducing the risk of scratches from dust or debris.
To further protect your investment, consider using protective pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches or dents, and occasionally rearrange your furniture to distribute wear evenly. With these measures, your hardwood flooring can continue to add value and beauty to your home for years to come.
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