Protecting Your Wood Floors From The Abuse Of Daily Life

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Protecting Your Wood Floors From The Abuse Of Daily Life

Protecting Your Wood Floors From The Abuse Of Daily Life

These elegant installations are very popular, being used in residential and commercial establishments alike. From all-natural solid wood flooring, to engineered wood floors – they enhance the ambience of the space, and bring enhanced durability to the establishment as they can handle high levels of traffic. However, the longevity of the wood floors is directly tied to how well they are taken care of. The measures required here are different compared to when dealing with concrete, ceramic tile or natural stone floors. Here is what you should know:

Avoid These On Your Wood Floor

  • Harsh Cleaners

Popular DIY cleaning agents around the house are not automatically suitable for wood floors. That vinegar that you use to clear the stains off the countertops will etch the surface of your wood floor, causing it to become dull. The ammonia-based solutions that are effective in dealing with stubborn stains on different areas of the household will damage the wood. Acidic cleaners should be avoided – including lemon-based solutions. After all, your goal is to get rid of the dirt and grime, not end up ruining your wood floor. 

  • Wax

While it doesn’t really threaten the structural integrity of the wood, the aesthetics of the installation will take a hit. This is because of the film that is left behind by the wax on wood, causing it to appear dull, discolouring the surface in the process. This takes away that elegant ambience that you had worked so hard to set up. 

  • Wood furniture cleaners

Just because it is a “wood cleaner” doesn’t mean it is suitable for the particular floor. The conventional household wood cleaners tend to leave residue on the wood, which makes it more susceptible to collecting dust and debris. Basically, the floor would end up getting soiled at a faster rate, making a mockery of your floor cleaning efforts. 

  • Wet mopping

While water is the ‘universal cleaning solvent’, using lots of it on the wood floor will result in more harm than good. This is all attributed to the hygroscopic nature of the structure, and where the wood floor will readily absorb the excess moisture from the surrounding. Depending on how much moisture gets absorbed into the wood, there will be varying kinds of water damage, leading up to issues like cupping and crowning. 

  • Steam cleaning

Water itself is already a threat to wood – so hot water just worsens the situation further. Methods like steam cleaning and hot water extraction that are used when working on materials like carpets and upholstery should not be used for the wood floor cleaning. They can cause the wood to warp, with the combination of heat and steam even resulting in the structure cracking.

Daily Care Of Your Wood Floor

Protecting the floor is a continuous process. Here are some issues that you should take note of in order to preserve the elegance of the installation, and protect its structural integrity:

  • Apply protective coats. This should be done immediately on new installations. From sealants and lacquers these have the critical role of protecting the wood floor from a wide range of issues. The sealer penetrates into the pores and prevents spills from being absorbed, which is handy in making future floor cleaning tasks easier. Finishes come in to provide a protective barrier, warding off everything from stains to wear effects from the friction that is generated by foot traffic on the surface. The choice of floor finish will be largely impacted by the level of traffic handled in the premises. For instance, a domestic setup can have a 1-component lacquer applied, while high traffic commercial establishments will need 2-component lacquers. Matching the type of finish to the level of traffic reduces the strain to the underlying flooring. 
  • Whenever there are spills, they should be cleared up as soon as possible. The longer that you allow spills to dwell on the surface, the higher the chances of staining, and even water damage. Use a soft cloth to blot up the spills. Having a floor sealer applied does not mean that you get to ignore spills. Sure, the sealers buy you time to have the spill addressed- but this will still need to be done quickly to avert any risks of damage. 

Extra tip: In case you have spilled some candle wax on the floor, or a piece of chewing gum is sticking stubbornly to the surface, you can use ice to harden them. This will allow you to easily scrape of the gunk with a plastic scraper. 

  • Frequently sweep or vacuum the floor. Those loose dirt particles contribute to the wearing down of the surface, especially when they are grinded against the floor under shoes. Vacuuming is part of the routine floor cleaning, where you should use a unit that has a hard floor attachment, and not the beater bar. 

Floor cleaning tools like microfibre dusting pads come in handy, allowing you to effectively lift the particles off the surface of the floor without requiring liquids to be involved in the premises. These materials are also soft on the surface, so you won’t have to worry about scratching the floor. 

Having protective mats in place – especially at the entrance of the building, will reduce the amount of soiling that gets transferred into the interior space. This reduces the risks to the wood floor, and has the welcome benefit of making the routine floor cleaning tasks much easier. Remember to give the mats a thorough wash regularly to remove the gunk that they will have collected. 

  • Routine restoration is part and parcel of the wood floor care. The finishes that were applied at the onset aren’t going to last forever. As they wear down, a retouch will be required. This will depend on the particular type of floor finish involved. Some will allow you to simply clean the surface, lightly sand it and add a fresh new layer on top of the existing coats. Others will call for a full sanding, where you get to the bare wood underneath, and then a new round of treatments is applied. 

Protecting Your Wood Floors From The Abuse Of Daily Life

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