Hardwood floors are stunningly beautiful and luxurious when they are brand-new, but without proper maintenance they can turn into faded, rough and warped eyesores.
To keep your wood floors in like-new condition, it’s best to develop a routine of simple but regular maintenance, which will prevent the floors from deteriorating in condition and requiring a more drastic intervention.
Everything from the way you move furniture around to the tools you use to clean the floor can influence its longevity. Here’s what you need to know to prolong the life of your hardwood floor.
Prevent Scrapes and Scratches
You’ll certainly want to show off and enjoy your new hardwood floor, but in some cases it is smart to cover it up. In high traffic areas, for example, the extra wear and tear can damage the protective wax coating. Consider adding a rug in hallways or foyers, or plan on having to re-wax the floors in those areas more often.
Scratches can also damage the floor, requiring careful sanding and staining to cover up. Put felt on the bottom of all furniture so that each piece can slide across the floor without leaving a wake of destruction. Be mindful not to walk around with dirt and gravel stuck in your shoes (leave them at the door!), and keep your dog’s nails trimmed and buffed.
Note that some species of hardwood are more susceptible to scratches, so if possible, don’t have these installed in high-traffic areas.
Use the Right Cleaning Tools
Water and hardwood floors do not mix. To prolong the life of your hardwood floor, never use a wet mop to clean the floor. Instead, use a special dry mop and a floor cleaner with neutral pH specifically designed for wooden floors. Water can damage the protective coatings, stain the wood and even cause it to warp.
To stop dirt and grime from building up onto the wood in the first place, it’s important to sweep hardwood floors every day and to vacuum at least weekly to remove any debris that may be caught in the cracks. Use the best cordless vacuum for hardwood floors you can find and store it within easy reach so that maintaining the beauty of your floor is virtually effortless.
Clean Up Spills Right Away
Are you potty training a puppy? Do you have a suddenly mobile toddler? Or maybe you’re just a little bit clumsy yourself. In any circumstance, spills need to be cleaned up ASAP before the wax, stain and wood itself is damaged.
If you live up north where it snows in winter, it’s also extremely important to place a rug over hardwood floors that are near an entrance. You don’t want to track in snow or salt all over your floors.
Keep an eye on the wax coating on your hardwood floors, and plan to add a new coat yearly. You can also buff the current wax to get it gleaming again.
After some time, even the most diligently maintained floors will need to be sanded and stained to restore them to their full glory. If you play your cards right, you won’t need to do with for at least 10 years.
The timeless beauty of hardwood floors is worth the effort!