Loving Your Hardwood Floor
There is nothing worse than spending hours polishing and cleaning a hardwood floor, only to find it as dull as it was before you started! But before you feel as though you are wasting your time, the following advice may help determine where you are going wrong.
Before you set mop to floor the first thing you need to do is to find out what type of finishing is on the floor as this will always determine the method of polishing and general maintenance required.
If the floor is new it is probably polyurethane sealed which makes the floor water resistant and very easy to maintain in terms of routine cleaning and polishing. This type of floor will require a soft brush, light mopping with a well wrung out mop and polishing with a duster tied around a dry mop head.
Oil finished floors
This type of finish is best protected by wax polishing.
Wax, shellac and varnish finished floors
These floor finishings can also be safely treated by light washing and additional wax polishing when the floor starts to look a little dull.
The mystery finish
If you have inherited your floor and are unsure how it has been finished then carry out the old tried-and-tested smudge test. Rub your hand across the floor and if your fingers leave a smudge mark then the floor has been finished with oil, lacquer, varnish or shellac. If you leave no smudge then your floor has been surface sealed.
Treating surface sealed flooring correctly
Don’t try to polish a surface sealed floor with wax, oils or any type of polishing spray. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners and any kind of alkaline products (supermarket gels, creams etc.).
The best option is to use a product which has been professionally recommended, but if that is not an option then resort to good old-fashioned soap and water. Make sure the soap is pH neutral (washing up liquids or similar).
High traffic rooms like hallways, kitchens and dining rooms require daily soft brush sweeping and mopping once or twice weekly. Less used rooms can be cleaned on a monthly basis.
When mopping your floor never use a dripping wet mop as this will certainly cause your floor to buckle and warp. Always use a mop which has been well wrung out and mop along the grain of the wood. It is always a good idea when you have finished to refill the bucket with plain tap water and mop again. This removes any residual cleaner and works well as a rinse for the floor.
Scuffs and scrapes can ruin the look of an otherwise beautiful floor. The best way to deal with these miscreants is to attack scuff marks as soon as you spot them. Use a dab of baking soda on a damp sponge and work it into the scuff mark to remove it. Greasy stains, food marks and water spots look ugly, but they can be eradicated fairly easily with any brand of non-abrasive cleaner and a bit of good, old-fashioned elbow grease!
If you spot tiny cracks on your floor don’t immediately reach for the filler. Central heating will cause all types of hardwood flooring to contract and in the main these little fissures will disappear during the summer when the floor expands again. If however this does not happen and the cracks remain or become larger then is the time to call in the professional wood floor sanding experts and have then filled.
Love me love my floor
A little regular attention (with the emphasis on ‘regular’!) for your flooring will ensure it gives many years of pleasure. There is no better room enhancer than a beautiful hardwood floor, so it is always worth keeping up with routine cleaning and regular maintenance. Love your floor in this way and it will love you back with many years of faithful service.