Hardwood floors can make any home look stunning, but they aren’t cheap, so you shouldn’t throw away your money by not taking care of them. You shouldn’t have to put forth additional funds (and time) refinishing, fixing or replacing them. While hardwood floors normal wear and tear can be taken care of fairly easily through repairing, refinishing and recoating, it’s still important to extend their lifespan by preserving the shine and preventing possible damage.
The temptation might be high, and it may seem obvious, to choose the cleaner that guarantees to restore the shine and glow in your hardwood floor. Truthfully however, the beauty is temporary and only leaves more work in the long run. Cleaners like that are saturated with waxes and oils which means more sanding and refinishing down the road. Whether your wood floors are solid, engineered or reclaimed wood, opt for a cleaner that is formulated to remove dirt and is gentle with a non-toxic formula. These types of cleaners are safer for kids and your furry friends, too. It is worth noting that different finishes require different treatments, so ask your installer.
Don’t underestimate the power of a dependable broom, vacuum and dry dust mop. If possible, sweep daily to keep debris from spreading and eventually scratching the floor. Conversely, don’t solely depend on sweeping because while helpful, sweeping can ultimately spread dirt further since it settles into the floor after flying into the air. Regularly vacuum to get the dirt brooms cannot. But, don’t forget about the beater bar- the part of the vacuum that’s covered in bristles and spins around and can scratch the polyurethane coating or damage the actual wood. Select a vacuum that either comes without the beater bar or allows you to disable it. The flat attachment will also protect the floor from the bristles, and provide strong enough suction to pull anything and everything from every crack, crevice and plank. Top off the cleaning with a dry microfiber dust mop to get the corners and hard to reach places.
As an extra preventative measure, keep soft cloths nearby to clean up spills immediately to avoid liquid contact with your floors. Moreover, refrain from using wet or steam mops; the water vapor can enter small spaces and shrink or swell the floors. Keep your home between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit because if floors are too dry they gape, crack and split. As you prevent moisture, you should equally be preventing dirt and debris as this can get trapped in hardwood like carpets. As a rule of thumb, shoes should not be allowed in the house. They track in grime, but also lead to discoloration, scratches, scuffs and depending on the shoe, can dent the floors. Place a mat outside and inside of the front door to trap as much dirt as possible before shoes make their way into the house. Invest in rugs, mats and runners for areas with high foot-traffic or where food and drinks have an increased chance of being spilled like kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms.
When the floor eventually does show wear and tear, apply a new coat of wood floor finish on top of the old floors to bring back the luster. Experts recommend doing this every 3-5 years because you don’t have to go through the sanding process and it adds a layer of protection each time. Of course, you can do this more or less depending on your lifestyle or preference. To fix scratches, use a stain marker from a wood furniture touch-up kit. Adhesive felt pads or gliders on chair or table legs or snap-on felt glides for larger furniture will also protect your floors and make it easier when moving or rearranging furniture.
We know life happens and your hardwood floors won’t always look like they did the day they were installed, but with these tips, they’re guaranteed to last and maintain or increase the value of your home.