Taking Care Of Your Hardwood Floor

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Taking Care Of Your Hardwood Floor

Taking Care Of Your Hardwood Floor

Remember that lustre that was there on the freshly installed wood floor? How do you get your wood floor to look all bright and new? The cleaning and maintenance measures carried out over time are directly responsible for the state of the floor. Dirt and grime accumulating on a daily basis, wear effects from foot traffic as people walk up and about the premises, all through to the kind of footwear used, effects of the sun on the floor, those occasional spills – they all impact the aesthetics of the installation. 

Wood Floor Care Tips

  • Prevention measures

The first step is keeping the dust and dirt levels to a minimum by reducing the amount of soiling that gets transferred into the indoor space. This can be achieved in different ways, including:

  • Having a welcome mat or washable rug at the entrance into the building will trap the outdoor dust and dirt that would have ended up being tracked into the indoor space. In addition to functioning as the first line of defence against these agents that would have damaged the wood floor, the welcome mats will be a soft landing spot for the shoes as your guests come in. This brings us to the next point. 
  • Preventing shoes from being worn inside the house will go a long way in keeping that debris from getting to the rest of the surface. Here, have indoor sandals or flip flops that your guests and family members can switch to once they come into the house. Position these at the entrance, to make that switch easier. 
  • On those high traffic areas like the hallways and at the dinner table, having an area rug will reduce the wear and tear effects on the floor. That way cases of scuffs and scratches are minimised. Note that you should avoid having a rug that has a latex backing. The latex here will trap moisture, which can result in the hardwood floor finishing getting ruined. Instead, go for alternatives like wool rugs, which allow airflow through the material courtesy of the breathable construction. 
  • If you have pets, keeping their nails trimmed will minimise scratches on your wood floor. Cats and dogs running around the household, with their claws digging into the wood floor, are a common cause of scratches, which end up ruining the beauty of the installation. Have the nails worked on during the routine grooming sessions to protect your floor. 

  • Floor cleaning

Now to deal with the dirt and grime that does get to the floor. Regular dusting or vacuuming to get rid of the loose debris is key. You can use a dust mop – preferably one with a microfibre pad. This is as the material is particularly effective in picking up the dirt particles and locking them within its structure – instead of redistributing them over the surface as is the case with conventional brooms and yarn mops. The brooms used on the garage floor and sidewalks should not be used here. If you’re vacuuming, ensure that you use a vacuum with a hard floor attachment. Beater bars and rotating brushes will ruin your wood floor. 

The floor cleaning should be carried out with a cleaner that has a neutral or mild pH. Preferably, stick to formulations that have been developed purposely for wood floor cleaning. You also need to be very keen on the amount of moisture involved during the mopping. Here, use a damp mop. Wring out the excess liquid. Speaking of which, string mops are reducing in popularity nowadays, with cleaners opting for the microfibre cloths and mops when dealing with wood floors. There are also tools like spray mops available, where you get greater control over the amount of liquid involved since you can simply mist out a little product onto the floor as you manoeuvre the mop over the surface. 

 

While many DIY home cleaning approaches involve the use of vinegar or baking soda, these should not be applied to your wood floor. They will dull and damage the polyurethane finish that has been applied. 

Extra issues to note include:

  • Any spills that occur should be dealt with immediately – even when it is just plain water. Those puddles of water cause moisture to seep between the floorboards, getting absorbed by the wood tissue. Over time, cracks can develop, or there can be other signs of water damage such as cupping or warping. 
  • Steam cleaning should be avoided. There is already a threat of water damage when exposing the wood floor to excess moisture. Using hot water makes things exponentially worse, with immediate ramifications for the installation. 
  • Avoid soaps and waxes for the floor cleaning. The soaps will leave behind residue on the floor. Wax on the other hand can even cause the surface to become slippery – and it also interferes with future recoating measures that could be carried out on the floor. This is not an all-out ban on wax for your wood floor. You should simply ensure that it is compatible with the finish coats that have been applied, so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to apply additional finish coats later on. 

Even with the best floor cleaning programs in place, eventually you will need to sand and refinish it to breathe new life into the installation. Here, the existing finish coats are abraded off, and those scratches, dents and gouges evened out. The wood floor is left bare, after which a new round of treatments can be applied. The options selected here will depend on the needs of the particular establishment. For instance, domestic environments can do with 1-component lacquers, while busier commercial environments will require 2-component finishes. Aspects like the kind of aesthetics required – from the colour that results, to the gloss level that is obtained, will all factor into this. Also note that the floor lacquer selected will have its range of compatible cleaning products that should be used on it – which is usually included in the product label. Sticking to the product application and maintenance instructions will enable the new treatment applied to last for longer – and remain in elegant condition all through. 

Taking Care Of Your Hardwood Floor

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