Hardwood floors always repay a little care with lifetime of value and a shimmering look. At first, when you glimpse a hardwood floor, you will sense richness, natural beauty and warmth.
Gradually, you will come to know its distinct personality, its visual harmonies and the traces of history in the forest as well as in your house. So, take a closer look; appreciate the pattern and colour of your floor’s planks, strips and parquetry.
More importantly, read the grain: Subdued maple or cherry? Is it bold textured oak? Also, check the condition of the underlying wood, whether self-levelling screed is used to craft a smooth subfloor and finally the finish that protects the floor.
But, in order to maintain your hardwood floor’s strength, quality and beauty for years, a little help from you is always required. However, before you care for your floor, you will need to understand what condition your floor is in.
Checking the Condition of your Floor
In order to evaluate the condition of your hardwood floor, follow these steps:
For the Finished Condition: Has the finish of your floor worn off or is it just dirty? Check if the finish is chipped, scraped, dull or gouged. In order to test if the finish has actually worn off, begin from a high-traffic area and pour around one to two spoons of water on the floor. If the water is soaked in immediately, leaving a darkened spot, then the finish is worn. However, if the water beads on top, then the surface is properly sealed.
For Wood Condition: If your floor’s finish is worn, then the wood is likely to be damaged. Are there any burns, cuts, stains, holes, gouges or warped boards? If the wood is damaged, repair or even replacement might be required before deep cleaning the floor.
Tips to Care for Hardwood Floor
Want to maintain the longevity of your hardwood floor? Looking to keep its richness for the years to come? Follow these easy floor care tips and you’ll soon start worshiping the ground you’re walking on!
- Tread Lightly
You do not necessarily have to enforce a strict “no shoes” policy on your hardwood floors, but whenever possible, try and avoid walking on the floor in high heels as they can easily dent its surface. Furniture can create scratches on hardwood, too. Thus, adhere to felt pads beneath all the chair and table legs. Also, make use of doormats outside the entrance in order to keep any dirt outside, otherwise dirt from the soles of your shoes could damage the floor.
- Stay Cool!
An ideal temperature for your hardwood floor is around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit along with a 30 to 50 percent humidity level. So, ensure that you keep the thermostat in that range only all year-round. This will reduce the chance of planks buckling and gapping, which is caused due to drastic changes in moisture and heat.
- Keep Dust in Check
Dust and debris can take a toll on your floor’s sheen. Therefore, vacuum or sweep it twice a week at least, and if possible every day. Once a week use a mop along with some homemade solution to wipe off the stuck-on dirt can go a long way. Avoid using products that promise to shine, polish or rejuvenate because they often contain additives and chemicals, which can create a build up and potentially damage the floor.
- Maintenance Coat
If you cannot restore your hardwood floor’s shine with the help of deep cleaning or buffing, you might have to apply a maintenance coat on it. The easiest way to restore your floor’s natural beauty is by waxing it. Although a controversial treatment for floor finishes, wax can give you an end result of a good quality looking floor within a matter of minutes! However, if you aren’t willing to apply wax on your surface finish, you can consult a professional. Wax can be cleaned easily and quickly, even buffed and re-waxed in order to make the floor look like its original condition. When the floor is waxed, wear and tear is on the top layer and not on the finish. That way, it can be easily stripped and reapplied. Wax the floor finish only if the original one is in poor shape and if you do not want to plan for a refinish on the floor.
- Bring in Professionals
When you properly maintain your floors, they do not require regular replacement. In fact, most hardwood floors are well over 100 years old. Yet, when it loses its shine, you’ll have to hire an expert in order to apply a new coat of finish. If the floor witnesses high foot traffic, pet mischief or food spills, you will have to sand the surface every 7 to 10 years or whenever worn areas, gouges or loss of stain colour is visible.
Extra Tips for Preventing Floor Damage
Here’s a list of few more tips, which can help to prevent your hardwood floor from being damaged:
- If you have pets, keep their nails trimmed as well as their paws clean. This is simply because pets could walk in substances which couldcreate scratches and stains on the floor.
- Make use of a humidifier during the summer so as to decrease wood shrinkage, and to set your humidity between 35% and 55%.
- Wipe up spots and spills immediately with the help of a cleaner, which should be applied directly onto a clean, white cloth.
- Use ice to harden tough substances such as chewing gum or wax. Later on, gently scrape it off with the help of a plastic scraper. Be careful and see to it that you aren’t creating any scratches on the surface and wipe the area using a soft, yet slightly damp cloth.