The Do’s and Don’ts for Your Hardwood Floors

Beautiful hardwood sure classes up a joint. It’s an elegant choice that feels right at home in any decorative style. Hardwood floors can make rooms appear larger, are easy to clean, are durable and long lasting, add a warmth that tile can’t, and can help to improve indoor air quality.

Unfortunately, if not properly maintained, floors can go downhill fast. Wood can easily become discolored, ratty, or even cup and crack. It’s not hard to treat your floors well, so they in turn will treat you well for years to come. Here are my tips:

Do identify the right cleaning product for your floor

Hardwood floors can be finicky and it’s important to use the right product for your type of wood floor and finish. This information can be found on product packaging. The wrong product can dull, stain, scratch, or even permanently damage your hardwood floor. For some floors and finishes, though not all, it’s possible to use a DYI mixture of a few drops of pH-neutral soap added to a bucket of water.

Don’t walk on your floors in high heels

You might be lucky and have gotten away with heels on hardwood, but more likely than not, this is a recipe for marks and denting. With other shoe ware, one’s bodyweight is displaced through the sole, however, this is not the case with high heels.

Do clean regularly

The best way to keep hardwood floors looking their best is to follow a regular cleaning schedule. Dirt and grime can easily get worked into the finish, and most experts suggest to dry mop or dust every day, vacuum at least once a week, and wet mop twice a month. 

Don’t use the wrong area rug

Rugs are great for adding interest and softening a feel of the room. Not all are right for hardwood, though. Some have backing that can damage or discolor wood, and others trap gases and don’t allow a floor to breathe. Check the usage and care instructions to ensure your rug is meant to go on hardwood floors.

Do use a doormat

Outdoor mats are a home’s first line of defense. Doormats encourage guests to wipe their feet, ridding dirt, rock chips, and gunk from entering your house and making their way onto and being rubbed into your hardwood. 

Don’t use a vacuum with stiff bristles on hardwood

Many standard upright vacuums are not designed for hardwood. Though they may be great for pulling dirt and debris from carpet, they can wear and scratch wood flooring. Before purchasing an upright vacuum, ensure it has soft bristles and has a setting designed to be used on wood. Other vacuum options include stick, canister, handheld or robot, many of which are designed or have certain attachments designed for hardwood.

Do use felt pads under your furniture

Felt pads are a simple and cost-effective way to protect your hardwood from furniture scratches. One disadvantage is that they may collect pet hair and dirt so you may pay particular attention to these areas when cleaning. Before moving or sliding furniture, ensure that the felt pads have not lost their adhesion.

Don’t wait too long to reseal

There are many different finishing options for hardwood flooring, including polyurethane, wax, penetrating oil sealer, etc. Each provide their own look, and offer varying levels of durability and protection. Recoating is often much easier and much less expensive than a full refinish, so keep on top of maintenance to prolong the life of your hardwood. A general rule of thumb is every 3-5 years.

Do wipe up spills or excess liquid immediately

Water damage is the number one enemy wood flooring. It can happen quickly when liquid saturates the wood, and result in swelling and cupping. Follow care instructions on your cleaning product to use only the necessary amount of liquid, and should water or other liquid spill on your floor, wipe it up immediately.

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