There are many things people can do to ensure that their hardwood floors have a long and luxurious lifetime. Whether it’s certain precautions to take or scheduled maintenance, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your hardwood floors in tip-top shape.
One simple idea includes stopping dirt at the door. You probably don’t regularly consider this, but grit getting stuck on the bottom of your shoes is a finish-killer. Keep a doormat by the front and back doors, and ask people to take off their shoes. High-heels and soccer cleats are also hardwood floor killers as they can actually dent the floors, so make them no-no shoes in your home.
Here’s some other suggestions:
- Prevent Scratches: Put felt pads on the bottom of your furniture legs. Don’t forget about your canine companions. Keeping dogs’ nails clipped can prevent long-term damage to your hardwood floors as well.
- Keep it Clean: Sounds simple, right? Not so much. Make sure you are an avid vacuumer, and follow up by mopping with a moist microfiber pad. Also, if there’s a spill, don’t panic. Just promptly wipe it up, or else you risk water warping boards or damaging the finish.
- Renew the Finish: Is your surface getting dull? Don’t fret as a light sanding and fresh coats of polyurethane should help. If you do this every few years, dullness should not be a problem long-term.
- Beware of Build-up: There are certain cleaners you should watch out for, especially ones that include ammonia, vinegar, wax, polish or oil soaps. Any of these can dull a top-coat and cause refinishing issues down the road. If you’re not sure if a cleaner is good, spray your window with it and let it dry. If it leaves any residue, junk it.
While chair-glides and furniture pads can be purchased at any home improvement store, Bona has some do-it-yourself suggestions for people who are looking at a cost-saving alternative that’s still effective.
- Old Carpet. Old scraps of carpet can be cut and placed on furniture legs. Make sure these pads are installed with the carpet-side touching the floor.
- Felt Pads. While felt furniture pads can be store-bought, any thick felt will do nicely. Cut the felt into the appropriate size and glue on.
- Velcro. If you have industrial grade Velcro, use the soft side of the Velcro (looped side) as an effective furniture pad.
- Towels. Old towels can be cut into pads, making sure they are of appropriate thickness.
- Tennis Balls. Tennis balls that are slightly cut open can make good DIY slip-on pads if you don’t mind how they look on your furniture.
- Leather. Leather is another soft, durable material that can be made into a good furniture pad.
There’s also steps you can take proactively to protect against any long-term issues with your hardwood flooring.
Protect your investment from moisture damage.
When you think of moisture damage, you probably first think of flooding or large spills. While this is possible and should be dealt with promptly, moisture damage can also stem from climate changes related to the humidity levels in your home in the summer. You should ensure your home is kept at a reasonable level for air conditioning and humidity control throughout the season.
In the winter, when the air is dryer, heat can cause the opposite effect and cause wood to pull apart at seams of planks. Once again, if you keep humidity levels constant throughout the area where your wooden floors are laid, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Beware of any changes in your hardwood flooring.It’s a phrase you’re familiar with since childhood, but it applies true. If you see something, say something. Since hardwood is made from natural products, expansion and contraction is natural. When your flooring raises and dips in areas unnaturally, this is called cupping, which is caused by humidity, a plumbing leak or sitting water. You should investigate the root of the issue before your floor is ruined. For areas cupping over long periods of time, entire plank replacement is the likely solution, and possibly more than one plank.
Either way, in a case like this, get an expert into your home before a small problem becomes a major disaster.
How do I keep my hardwood floor looking shiny?
This is an age-old question, but the solution is actually quite simple. There are several products, theories and suggestions for how should keep hardwood floors looking shiny and fantastic, but water and vinegar sprayed on a sponge mop will get the job done. It also protects your finish without stripping, which is pivotal.
Nobody wants to ruin their floors, but if you do any of these, your floors will have a very short lifespan. Call below the “what not to do guide” on handling your hardwood floors.
Animal/Pet Urine Stains
You hate them as much as your floors do! The key is to clean them up before they dry, but too often these stains are only discovered after carpet or rugs have been moved. Your best defense is early detection.
Unless your dog is incredibly dainty, water bowls pose a potential long-term water damage risk. Your best protection is prevention. In this case it means making sure that the water bowls are not on hardwood flooring or have something under the bowls to catch drips and spills.
Mopping Your Floors with Water
Hardwood floors and water simply don’t mix. In fact, water should be removed ASAP and never added when cleaning.
Failure to Keep Dirt/Debris off the Floor
This is about more than not just being a slob, it has to do with the long-term care of your hardwood floor. Yes, floors will get dirty, but as hardwood floor owners we need to do our best to prevent dirt. Use welcome mats at doors and keep those mats clean.
The bottom line? Take care of your hardwood floors. It’s not that difficult. With a little tender, love and care, and maybe some money from time to time, your floors will last you a very long time.