Proper Hardwood Maintenance

Hardwood floors add warmth and luster to homes that set them apart from other types of flooring. They are solid under foot and generally very long lasting. But like any flooring product, hardwoods require routine care and long-term maintenance to keep that special glow.

Routine Care

Your hardwood floors are more likely to last longer and need less large-scale treatments if you stay on top of the little things that protect them from minor wear and tear. These things include:

• Sweep or dust mop often

• Vacuum weekly

• Use a recommended floor cleaner monthly

• Strategically place rugs near doorways, sinks and high-travel areas

• Do not clean with steam or water

• Place felt protectors under chair legs and other furniture and replace regularly

• Do not slide heavy objects or furniture across floors

When it comes to hardwood care, think in terms of small, everyday nicks, scratches and things that may discolor or damage the protective coating on your floors. Those things add up and can detract from its natural beauty.

Long-Term Hardwood Maintenance

Hardwood flooring shoulders the brunt of foot traffic day in and day out. And despite all that wear and tear, they absolutely complete an interior design. Although hardwood flooring is more durable than many products, it does require treatment and care.

• Waxing: Some floors are not protected by a polyurethane coating. These will need to be waxed and buffed every 12 to 24 months. This should restore the attractive sheen. Over time, repeated applications of waxing and buffing will leave a buildup that detracts from the floor’s luster. Use mineral spirits to remove the buildup. After it dries, reapply a new wax coating and buff. They should look like brand new again.

• Humidity: An ideal humidity range is between 35 and 55 percent for hardwood floors. You may want to run a humidifier during dry weather and a dehumidifier during the muggy months.

• Maintenance Coats: Floors that have a polyurethane protective coat generally require another application every 3-5 years, depending on the amount of wear and tear they endure. Remember to clean the surface thoroughly before applying a new coat.

• Refinishing: You can only add to a floors finish so many times before the past needs to be stripped away. Every 20 years or so, it will be time to sand your hardwood floors down and refinish them. It could be sooner or later depending on the condition of your floors. For instance, spills, moisture or excessive wear could prompt you to sand and refinish sooner. A good rule may be to decide whether you are happy with the floors look after a recent wax or poly update. Good sand and refinish work is like hitting the reset button.

Hardwood floors are an exceptionally important aspect of interior home design and everyday beauty. With proper, long-term hardwood care and maintenance they will provide you with a lifetime of familiar warmth.