Taking Care of Your Wood Floor
Whether you have a installed your hardwood floor yourself or were fortunate enough to have inherited it when buying your house, any type of real wood flooring is a definitive asset to any property. As such, it should be maintained in mint condition to ensure the continuation of your investment in the future and so that you can enjoy your beautiful floor for as long as you live in the property.
Ongoing maintenance is important
Regular maintenance is a key factor in keeping your floor in pristine condition. If your floor is in a high traffic area such as a hall or lounge area, then it is worth inspecting it periodically for scrapes, scuffs, heel marks, paw marks etc. Small grains of dirt, sand and gravel cause tiny scratches on the wood which will, over time, reduce the sheen and condition of the floor.
A simple method of dry dusting your wood floor is to wrap a duster around a dry mop head. The mop will get into crevices and corners and right up to the skirting. Alternatively you can sweep using a soft brush or vacuum using the wood floor attachment. You can safely dry dust for dustless floor sanding in this way two or three times a week, depending upon usage, without harming the floor.
When you are wet cleaning your hard wood floor, try not to do so more than once a month. Whilst dry cleaning can be done as required, avoid getting your wood floor wet more than is necessary. When you do wash it, use mop that’s been well wrung with the minimum amount of water and wipe up any spillage as soon as it happens. This is especially important if your floor has a ‘shiny’ finish such as varnish, silk stain or lacquer. Hard wood flooring which is constantly wet will tend to warp and shrink, leaving gaps between the boards.
When using a floor cleaner avoid all products which contain bleach or ammonia. Use only natural PH wood cleaning products or simply warm water on its own.
Be gentle with your floor
Other ways to take care of your real wood and parquet flooring is to use pads on the legs of furniture and avoid walking on the floor with stiletto heels. If the flooring is subjected to lengthy periods of bright sunlight then hang some nets or blinds to help preserve the colour of the wood. Ensure dogs and cats have claws neatly trimmed and keep their paws wiped clean when they come indoors.
If the veneer of the flooring is damaged by scrapes, stains or warping then it probably needs to be refinished. A good quality finishing lasts much longer if the floor is regularly maintained so it is always worth starting, and sticking to, a wood care regime to get the most out of your floor and the least out of your pocket!
Before any refinishing commences it is essential to remove the old veneer by sanding. Sanding wood floors is the base upon which your floor rests, so get that right and the whole floor will look great when finished. Get it wrong and no matter how hard you try, a perfect finish will not sit on an imperfect floor.
If the floor has no obvious stains or marks but you suspect it may need a refinishing then a reliable way to find out is to try this test: place ½ a small ladleful of water on to a part of the floor which does not get too much traffic. If the water soaks into the wood and leaves a stain then the floor needs a new finish.
For floors which have been wax finished, removing stains is quite simple; all you do is apply some steel wool with a little water on to the stain and reapply wax to the area when the mark has been removed.