Hardwood floors can make any room in your home look more beautiful and more luxurious. Hardwood floors are a popular option because of the look they create and the relative ease of maintaining them.
You won’t have to scour hardwood floors the way you would tile and grout, and you won’t have to shampoo hardwood floors every year or so the way you would carpet. Though maintenance might be easier for hardwood floors, it is also more specific. Despite their name, hardwood floors are not actually that hard, and they can be easily damaged by foot traffic, furniture and spills.
Here are a few things you need to do to properly maintain your hardwood floors:
Keep Water Off the Floor
Water can cause serious damage to a hardwood floor. It can cause the floors to warp, split, or rot, and it can lead to the growth of mold below the floorboards. It can also cause the floorboards to separate, and it may even void your floor’s warranty.
You should not mop your hardwood floors with water. You should use a damp mop or a soft cloth instead. If you get a little too much water on your damp mop, you should wipe up the floor immediately. Water should not be left to stand on the floor for any length of time.
Clean up spills immediately. Water can damage the floors, and liquids like wine or juice can not only cause moisture damage, but can also stain the floors.
Use Only Specialty Cleaners
Not all cleaners are safe to use on hardwood floors. In fact, most of them aren’t. Many common household cleaners will strip the floors of their protective coating, cause the floors to dull or discolor, and cause scratching.
Never use abrasive cleaners like scrubbing powders, ammonia, or other harsh cleaners. Always use a cleaner that is designed specifically for hardwood floors.
One of the things that makes hardwood floors so easy to maintain is that you can just sweep them and they’ll be perfectly clean. Unlike carpets, dirt and dust don’t become trapped and hard to remove.
However, if dirt and dust are allowed to remain on hardwood floors, the debris can scratch or dull the surface. It is important that you sweep the floors regularly to remove all potentially damaging agents. If you like, you can vacuum the floors, but the unit should feature a felt head. You can also use the handheld attachment to vacuum the floors without risk of scratching them.
Put Down Mats and Rugs
Mats and rugs can protect your hardwood floors from scratching and water damage.
Put mats at all your entrances and exits to capture water and dirt from the bottoms of shoes as people come and go. Also put mats anywhere you may drop water, such as in front of kitchen and bathroom sinks, the dishwasher, the stove and the refrigerator.
Area rugs are a good idea to place throughout the home, particularly in high-traffic areas. Area rugs also protect the floors from sunlight, which may cause fading. Just make sure that you put a non-slip pad underneath that does not retain moisture (i.e., no rubber).
Protect Floors from Furniture
Furniture can scratch and gouge hardwood floors. Put felt pads on the bottom of all chair and table legs. Put them under your sofa, arm chairs, side tables, dining room table, dining room chairs and so on.
Remove hard metal casters from furniture and replace them with softer, plastic casters or feet.
Keep Pet Nails Trimmed
Even pet nails can scratch hardwood floors. Keep them trimmed regularly, no matter how small the animal is. Even cats and small dogs can cause damage to hardwood floors with sharp nails.
Periodically Rearrange Furniture
The placement of furniture can have an influence on the health of your hardwoods. When heavy furniture is on top of the floor, it can prevent full expansion and contraction. Furniture can also protect the floors from sunlight and foot traffic. Therefore, if you leave your furniture in one place for too long, your floors can start to become uneven and discolored.
Rearrange your furniture regularly to keep your floors healthy and to maintain a consistent look.
Maintain Humidity Levels
Water isn’t the only moisture that can damage your floors. Too much humidity can also cause the floors to warp. Too little humidity can interrupt the natural expansion and contraction of the floors, causing them to shift too far in one direction.
Maintain humidity levels between 35 percent and 55 percent. Use humidifiers in the winter and dehumidifiers in the summer.
Proper maintenance can help you keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful for many more years to come. You’ll maintain the value of your home and you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars on repairs or replacement.