Care Over Time Sustains Hardwood’s Timeless Look
Hardwood floors are one of the easiest floors to maintain and, if proper care is taken, will last for generations. In fact, many of the hardwood floors we refinish are up to 100 years old. Few things in a home can hold their look, and just as important, keep their value.
Use rugs in heavy traffic areas and areas of entry to the house.
Rugs help trap dirt and grit and help prevent premature wear in high traffic areas. At areas of entry, they give people a place to wipe their shoes. This will help prevent water damage by entry doors.
Vacuum when needed.
Preventing the floor from accumulating large amounts of dirt and grit will greatly increase the longevity of your floor. Avoid vacuums with beater bars as they can scratch the floor.
Sweep your floor with a microfiber mop.
This is a quick and efficient way to keep your floor from accumulating dust and small debris. Even 10 minutes, two to four times a month, will help keep your floors dust free.
Use proper cleaners.
These cleaners leave no residue and don’t dull the floors sheen. This should be stated clearly on the bottle. They can be spritzed on the floor or on the microfiber pad before giving the floor a quick sweep. The use of proper cleaners will allow your floor to be recoated when signs of wear start to show.
Help the floor color evenly.
On woods that change color over time, take up rugs from time-to-time or when on vacation to let the floor underneath “catch up” in color. Try to protect areas that have high exposure to UV light with blinds or drapes.
Always use felt pads and be very careful when sliding furniture.
Always use felt pads under pieces of furniture that move. This includes beds, chairs, tables and anything else that can wear on your floors’ finish. However, even if the feet are protected with felt, a small piece of grit can get caught underneath and scratch the floor. Also, if you slide something heavy very quickly, you can give your floor “carpet burn” which can leave a shiny sheen streak.
Have your floors recoated when needed.
All floors will eventually show wear and scratches over time. This can be anywhere from one year in commercial settings, to 15-20 years in light residential settings. When signs of wear are noticeable, have a professional come and recoat your floor by buffing the floor and applying another coat of finish. This small investment will keep your floors from needing a more costly refinish for many, many years.
There are a few things that need to be kept in mind when taking care of your hardwood floors. Some of these rules go against public perception, but always trust your professional over a DIY website or your all-knowing neighbor.
Never allow standing water to sit on your floor.
Water is woods number one enemy. This means NO wet mopping the floor and always be diligent about protecting entry ways where wet shoes may bring water in the house.
Never use products on your floor that leave a residue.
This means absolutely NO wax, Murphy’s Oil, Pledge, Orange Glow, or any other product that will leave behind a residue. These products not only dull the floor, but will not allow the floor to be recoated in the future.
Never allow high heels on the floor.
A 100-pound women walking in high heels exerts around 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi). If the nail is exposed in the heel she can exert well over 5000 psi. To put it comparison, a 3-ton elephant only exerts around 75 psi. In other words, a petite woman in high heels puts 20 times more pressure on your hardwood than an elephant. Not even a metal floor will stand up to that.