Wood Floor Care & Maintenance

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Wood Floor Care & Maintenance

Wood Floor Care & Maintenance

Despite being one of the most durable flooring options, capable of taking a beating under heavy foot traffic and still holding strong, wood floors are really sensitive when it comes to the cleaning processes used on them. The wrong measures can easily ruin the wood floor and cause irrevocable damage. In such cases, the floorboards end up needing to be replaced. In other scenarios, you wind up with stains or unsightly scratches on the surface that negatively affect the décor of the premises – which is not what you had in mind when you had the wood floor installed. Here, we will delve into what you can and can’t use for the floor cleaning, and extra factors to consider to get you the most out of your installation. 

5 Things To Avoid

  1. Wet mopping

This is one of the leading causes of damage to the finishes on hardwood floors. Using that soaking wet mop on your floor in an attempt to clear as much soiling as possible quickly will lead to more harm than good. It also brings about the risk of water damage to the wood itself. Mops used for the floor cleaning should be properly wrung out, and used while they are just damp. 

You can take the extra step to incorporate spray mops into your floor cleaning arsenal. This innovative equipment gives you more control over how much of the cleaning liquid gets to the floor surface. The solution is housed in a cartridge on the mop, and you then press a trigger on the structure to mist out just a little bit of the solution at a time. That way you avoid the risk involved with overwetting the surface, while also being more economical with the floor cleaning product. Additional features like a microfibre mop head add to the cleaning action, since this reduces the amount of solution needed for the task. 

  1. Vinegar

While it is a popular cleaning product for other surfaces around the home, its acidity can result in the wood’s surface getting etched. In fact, the manufacturer or floor installation crew should have already given many warnings about the use of acidic products for the floor cleaning and maintenance. 

  1. Ammonia

That elegant finish that you have had the floor treated with will be the first casualty when you use ammonia for the floor cleaning. It dulls and discolours the treatment, and also deteriorates the very protection that you had sought to have in place. This essentially means that the floor will wear down faster, and more resources will need to be pumped into restoring the surface. 

  1. Soaps and all-purpose cleaners

Given the sensitivity of the hardwood floor to the pH of products used on it, it is advisable to steer clear of products used when cleaning other areas of the household. Other soapy solutions will leave behind a film of residue on the floor surface, which basically causes more dust to stick onto the floor – meaning that the cleaning will need to be repeated much sooner than had been anticipated. 

For the routine care of your wood floor, you should use cleaning products that have been particularly developed for such installations. Wood cleaners typically have a neutral pH, where they enable you get rid of the dirt and grime without posing a risk to the installation. Sure, stubborn spots will call for more potent action. There are mild hardwood floor cleaners for this as well, where you will also need to follow the dilution ratios strictly, in order to get optimal results. There are different brands offering these products. Here, your choice should factor in the credibility of the brand, such as how long it has been in the business of floor care, the diversity of its solutions, as well as the reviews that other customers have left behind on different areas – from online stores, social media platforms, to business directory listings. 

If you’re uncertain about the suitability of a particular formulation for your wood floor, carry out a test on an inconspicuous area. Assess how the treatment reacts with the surface before proceeding to use it on the rest of the floor. 

  1. Steam cleaners 

These are meant for carpets and upholstery – not the hardwood floor. Water is a problem, hot water is worse. It will cause instant damage to the structure, from cloudiness and peeling of the finish, to warping and cracking of the wood floor. 

Restoring Your Wood Floor

Every wood floor gets to a point where no amount of cleaning will restore its original shine. This typically takes over 3 or even 5 years to occur if the existing maintenance measures are properly carried out. At this stage, the accumulated effects of daily wear cause the existing finish to lose its appeal, such that a whole new treatment is needed. There could also be lots of scratches on the floor, as well as issues like gaps that have been broadening and becoming more permanent. Here, a round of floor sanding and refinishing will be required. One of the benefits of wood floors compared to other kinds of installations is that you get a chance to breathe new life into the installation. 

These restoration measures entail the existing finish being abraded off the surface, to expose the bare wood underneath. The existing defects on the floor – such as the gaps and deep scratches, are resolved at this point. Here, the sanding dust from the floorboards is mixed with filler product, and the resultant paste applied in these sections of the floor. This is to give the paste similar properties to the surrounding floorboards. The new treatments are then applied, from the primer to the lacquers, depending on the aesthetic needs of the property owner, and the desired levels of protection. 

This kind of floor restoration is a labour-intensive process, requiring high-capacity machinery and skill level in order to carry it out appropriately. It’s a multi-stage process, and mistakes made anywhere along the way will be amplified by the new finish coats that are applied. As such, it is recommended that you hire a professional for the task. 

Wood Floor Care & Maintenance

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