Hardwood flooring is a long-term investment for your home, and if cared for properly, will last a lifetime. Thanks to advancements in flooring and finish types, maintaining your hardwood floors is easier than ever. Still, it’s important to realize they are not impervious to spills, grit, and water. Life is messy, (i.e., kids, dogs, and weather), and our floors can take a beating. Here’s what you can do to prolong the life and beauty of hardwood flooring.
You’ve won half the battle if you protect your floors from damage like scratches and moisture. Unfortunately, trying to repair a floor that’s been damaged can be time-consuming and costly. Being proactive and protecting your floors will be cheaper and easier in the long run.
Install floor protector pads on the bottom of all furniture legs before positioning them on the wood floors. The pads protect the floor if the furniture gets bumped into, and they will make it easier to move for cleaning.
Place rugs at all the entrances. Rugs trap grit and moisture before they have a chance to damage your floors. However, if your floors are new and were finished on site, do not put down any rugs for at least 21 days after the finish was applied. Site-applied finishes need time to cure properly before they are covered by rugs.
Shake out and thoroughly clean and dry rugs when they get wet. Wet rugs hold moisture and can quickly cause damage. This will be most important during wet weather or winter months when snow and ice track in from outside. You can replace your fabric rugs with waterproof plastic mats during these seasons. They are also excellent options for storing wet boots too.
Be cautious with the use of non-skid pads under the rugs. Some of these can imprint their pattern on the wood floor’s finish.
Trim your pet’s nails regularly. Our furry friends can unfortunately do a lot of damage to hardwood floors. When they dig down for traction, they often cause scratches. While not always visible, they are harmful to the floor’s health. In addition, it opens them up to moisture and debris that can cause even worse damage.
Wipe up any spills immediately so they don’t have a chance to seep between the boards and under the floor. This causes water damage that’s very difficult to repair.
Always use trays under potted houseplants. When watering your favorite greenery, it’s crucial to ensure the access water is not sitting on the floor. Trays come in a wide range of materials and will catch the water as it makes its way through the soil and out of the drainage hole.
Sweeping, vacuuming, or dust mopping your floors regularly will keep grit and dirt from accumulating. However, when the debris is left on the floor, it can cause scratches as you walk over it. Be sure to always use a vacuum that has a setting specifically for wood floors.
If your floors come with a factory finish, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct cleaning products. Not all finishes are the same; even though your neighbor gets good results with one cleaning product, it may not be the right one for your particular floor.
Step away from the oil soap! Grandma may have sworn by it, but the use of oil soap cleaners may void your floors manufacturer’s warranty. If you need to know the exact finish you have on your floors, consult a local wood flooring professional to purchase a quality cleaning solution.
Beyond being a beautiful addition to your home, wood floors enhance your resale value. Following these guidelines will help you protect your investment and enjoy the beauty of your wood floors for many years to come.