Column: Maintaining your hardwood flooring
Because of its versatile style, natural feeling and durable structure, hardwood has remained one of the most enduringly trendy flooring options for generations. In fact, it’s so popular that homes containing hardwood flooring will often sell faster than homes without it. Choosing hardwood flooring is definitely a safe investment. But to get the most out of this investment, it’s extremely important to properly care for and maintain hardwood flooring. Water, pets, foot traffic and other environmental elements can all play a role in wearing down your hardwood flooring. Help your hardwood stay healthy by following these basic maintenance tips.
The key to maintaining hardwood happens before you even install it in your home. Be sure to inspect any rooms where you are considering hardwood. Try to figure out how much moisture and foot traffic the flooring will come in contact with. Certain types of hardwood are susceptible to moisture, which can cause the wood to splinter or bend. Additionally, excessive amounts of foot traffic can cause wear and tear to the planks. Scuffed and scratched floors can be refinished, but this process can get costly, especially if you choose a softer wood that needs frequent repair.
If you’ve decided the room is a good fit for hardwood flooring, you’ll want to keep your hardwood protected and shiny by cleaning it regularly with water-based solutions. Remember that hardwood is susceptible to water damage, so never use a wet mop or let spills soak into the boards. You may even want to invest in a steam-cleaning mop, which will clean the floors without leaving behind water residue. Pay attention to the type of cleaning solution you are choosing. Abrasive chemicals can damage the flooring, usually by stripping away the finish and leaving the planks looking dull and worn.
Wood can also be very susceptible to scratching or dents, depending on the type of wood finish that you choose. Dirt, sand or gravel that makes its way into your home could scratch the surface of your hardwood flooring. You’ll also want to sweep and vacuum your floor weekly to eliminate dust and particles. A few strategically-placed rugs and mats wouldn’t hurt either. Ask your guests to wipe their feet before entering a room with hardwood flooring.
Unlike other flooring trends that come and go, hardwood flooring has remained popular for over 200 years. Its popularity certainly isn’t going away any time soon. So if you want to keep your hardwood looking shiny and new, proper maintenance is vital. Consult the manufacturer’s guide or a flooring professional for cleaning techniques if you are unsure of how to care for your specific flooring.