How To NOT Hurt Your Wood Floor

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How To NOT Hurt Your Wood Floor

How To NOT Hurt Your Wood Floor

On one hand, hardwood is a very sturdy flooring material – in fact so much that it is a top choice in high traffic environments, from malls to airports. On the other hand, it can be easy to hurt the wood floor by using the wrong cleaning measures. Whether they are for homes or commercial spaces, hardwood floors share similar requirements with regards to taking care of them properly.

  • Avoid wet mopping

This can cause the floor to swell – risking more water damage. Wood is hygroscopic. Basically, it will act like a sponge, soaking up all that excess water on its surface. This leads to it expanding. The reverse also applies, where a dry environment causes the boards to shrink as they lose moisture. These fluctuations are witnessed with the seasonal changes in the temperature and humidity. This is expected, which is why the wood floras are allowed to acclimate before they are installed, and why tiny gaps are left in the installation to allow for that cyclical expansion and contraction. 

The problem with wet mopping is that the moisture gradient will be higher than usual – causing the wood floor to take in much more liquid than normal – and the expansion will be more than there had been allowance for. This causes issues like cupping, which is one of the most common signs of water damage. Wring out the mops that you use while working on the floor. Better yet, work with a microfibre mop – where the very construction of the material reduces the amount of floor cleaning solution that is needed for the task. 

In this regard, don’t allow any kind of moisture to sit on the surface. From accidental spills to ice cubes left on the surface- these can all lead to situations where more moisture will seep in between the floor boards, increasing the chances of water damage. 

  • Stay away from steam cleaners

Wood and water already don’t mix. Using superheated water will just wreak havoc. Injecting this heated water in between the floorboards will damage the structure, easily causing warping and cracking of the floor. 

  • Humidity and temperature control

Given that the atmospheric condition within the premises will impact the floor, you should not allow extreme fluctuations in the temperature and humidity. This is to prevent excessive expansion and contraction of the wood floor. This calls for investing in a quality air conditioning system, as well as dehumidifiers to use as needed. 

  • Caution when vacuuming

Vacuuming is a core part of floor cleaning and maintenance. After all, those dust particles and loose debris that are on the floor are part of the reason why the surface wears down – especially when the gritty particles are walked on by people, being grinded against the floor surface. The vacuums suction up the dirt easily, but can also cause two main problems. First, vacuums that have hard plastic wheels can cause scuffs and scratch marks on the floor. Secondly, the beater bars can ruin the finish and scratch up the floor as well. As such, when vacuuming, ensure that the unit that you’re working which has smooth rubber wheels, and that the beater bar or brush have been turned off. 

  • Only use wood floor cleaners

Not every soap product is suitable for your wood floor. For instance, conventional soaps and detergents on polyurethane-treated floors cause there to be a hazy build-up that develops. These tend to leave behind a film of residue on the surface is also problematic, since this causes there to be a faster accumulation of dirt and grime. 

Solutions like vinegar and ammonia, while being effective treatments for other kinds of surfaces, will be too harsh for the wood floor. They slowly strip away the finish and cause the floor to become dull. If they get to the wood itself, they will cause a breakdown in the structure, such as by dissolving the lignin – which reduces the lifespan of your wood floor.

Getting a professional to carry out the occasional deep clean for your floor will enable those stubborn stains and grime spots to be dealt with without putting your installation at risk. Here, ensure that you’re dealing with a licenced company whose personnel have the experience needed to work on your floor, with a track record to prove it. Be sure to raise any concerns about the installation, as well as get a written quotation detailing the kinds of services to be offered. As an extra benefit, they can work on other surfaces around the home, with some even providing appliance cleaning services for equipment like ovens that are long overdue for an in-depth clean. 

  • Avoid abrasive equipment 

These range from scouring pads all through to that hard-brush broom that is used for cleaning outdoor surfaces. They can scratch the wood floors, ruining the appeal of the installation. Stick to brooms with soft-bristled brushes, all through to materials like microfibre mops for the dust mopping. They allow you to clear the dust particles without leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

Despite their strength and durability, wood floors are not invincible They will get to a point where the existing finishes will have gotten so worn down, that the only recourse is clearing them off and applying fresh new treatments. Here, the existing coats are sanded down to the bare wood, blemishes like gaps and deep scratches that are on the floor are dealt with, and then new finishes are applied. The treatment will vary depending on the needs of the property owner. Core factors to consider include the level of traffic involved – such as when deciding between a 1-component and 2-component waterborne lacquer, the gloss level of the finish, where these range from matte to high gloss, as well as the colour – whether you want to enhance that natural look and feel of the wood, or change it to a different colour in line with your décor preferences. The floor sanding and refinishing is one of the most labour-intensive maintenance tasks, and for this it is recommended that you hire a professional to carry it out. 

How To NOT Hurt Your Wood Floor

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