A hardwood floor can be a beautiful addition to any home. While hardwood floors can easily last a lifetime, they do require periodic maintenance in order to stay looking their best.
- Keep it CleanSand, dirt and grit are tracked into your home regularly. If your floor is not cleaned regularly, the dirt will rub against your hardwood, causing damage to the finish and eventually to the wood itself. Regular vacuuming and sweeping are the first step toward protecting your floor from damage.
- Protect your floor from stains and scratches In addition to vacuuming, wipe up spills immediately. Water and other liquids left on hardwood can damage the finish and cause stains. Area rugs in high traffic areas can also help extend the life of your floor.
Pets and shoes (particularly high heels) can cause extensive damage to hardwood floors. Keep pets’ nails trimmed and remove footwear at the door to keep your floor in the best condition.
- To mop or not to mop?There are many conflicting opinions on the subject of mopping a hardwood floor. This is largely because the best treatment will depend on your floor’s finish and condition.
Water can damage wood, but mopping with a damp or even wet mop should be fine if your hardwood floor’s finish is in good condition and you mop up any excess water right away. If you do decide to mop your hardwood, avoid using excessive amounts of water or pouring liquid cleaner directly onto the floor.
Various cleaning products are available for hardwood floors. Most of them work optimally when used on a particular floor finish (such as polyurethane, pre-finished, wax, oil or acrylic). You can run into problems if you use a wax product on hardwood that is not finished with wax. Wax can leave a slippery film on your floor and make it extremely difficult to refinish in the future.
- Maintain constant humidity levels in your homeFluctuating humidity levels and temperature in the home will cause hardwood floors to expand and contract. This can lead to squeaky floor boards and cracks that will trap dirt and water, which can further damage your hardwood.
- Treat stains and damaged areasSanding the affected area with fine steel wool and reapplying finish to match the rest of the floor can often fix small stains and damaged areas on a wax-finished hardwood floor.
Minor scratches can be disguised with tinted wax sticks. These come in various shades and can be used to fill in light scratches, effectively making them disappear.
- Refinish floors in poor condition If your hardwood floors are in very poor condition, or if damage covers a large are of the home, you may want to consider sanding them down and refinishing the hardwood floors. You can refinish a single room or the entire home, depending on the extent of the damage.