Wood Floors and How to Look After Them
Most homeowners understand and appreciate that hardwood floor sanding is a real asset to the aesthetics of the home, as well as to its value. So after having gone to the expense of installing wood flooring, it is only sensible to make sure that it is maintained correctly to ensure years of guaranteed beauty and sparkle.
There are some helpful hints and tips on keeping your wood looking good which don’t cost a fortune or take up too much time and effort. Read on and find out what you need to know to keep that wood floor looking young and beautiful for many years to come.
What type of wood do you have?
Depending upon the type of wood, whether it is hardwood (oak, beech, mahogany) or softwood (pine, cherry, fir) there will be specific manufacturer guidelines in cleaning, polishing and otherwise maintaining your wood floor.
The best type of maintenance is always preventative, so wherever possible use furniture protectors, avoid wearing heels in the house, keep pets’ nails trimmed and install rugs and mats in children’s rooms to avoid scratches and dents caused by toys. Enhance the appearance of hard wood floors by vacuuming twice weekly, making sure to catch any dust lurking between the boards and in the corners.
If your floor is situated in a sunny room then protect the wood from sun bleaching by installing blinds or having a UV coating applied to the window. Walnut flooring in particular is susceptible to discolouration if it is exposed to prolonged sunlight.
Pooling water is another big no-no. Spillages are often unavoidable, but always mop up liquids as soon as possible, drying off with a towel or rag afterwards. Avoid cleaning the floor with a sopping wet mop, as water puddling on a wood floor sanding will seep through the boards to cause rot from underneath. It can also cause wood to warp which, if left untreated, will eventually damage your floor beyond repair.
Do some research
Whether you inherited the floor or installed it yourself, it is worth checking out the type of wood you have and how best to maintain it. Most floors installed within the last 5 years have been finished with a polyurethane product. If this is the case then never use wax as it will simply slide off the floor. If you feel you want a wax finished floor then the polyurethane coat will have to be stripped off, the whole floor sanded back to bare wood and then an alternative veneer applied.
Whatever the kind of floor, familiarise yourself with its type and how best to treat it. However in all cases, wood floors should be kept regularly swept or vacuumed and swabbed with a damp mop twice a month. Stains and marks should be removed as soon as they are spotted.
Keep cleaning pure and simple
Wherever possible use only plain water for mopping floors. If stains are particularly stubborn the use a little mild soap and some elbow grease. Under no circumstances use any cleaning product that is oil or bleach based, and avoid using abrasives. Oil based products will, through time, build up an undesirable residue on the floor that will dull the wood. Bleach products will weaken the wood, causing discolouration and warping, while abrasive cleaners will cause scratches and scores on the wood surface.
For floors that have been finished with a wax product, buy or hire an industrial buffer to bring up a healthy shine. If your wax finished floor has a stain that just won’t shift you can rub very gently with a steel wool pad until the stain disappears. Reapply the wax to the area of the stain.
Use products which have been specifically created for real wood flooring only.