Hardwood floors are gorgeous and versatile, timeless and durable. If you take care of them properly, they’re economical and will literally last a lifetime. All hardwood floors need periodic recoating to replenish the protective layer of finish — typically every five years or so — but the better you care for them, the longer you can go between recoats and the longer your floor will last before it needs refinishing. These high-tech hardwood floor maintenance solutions can help you maintain your hardwood floor on a day-to-day basis and over the long-term.
When wood is exposed to air that’s more humid than it is, the wood absorbs moisture from the air until it’s in equilibrium with the surrounding moisture level. When it’s exposed to drier air, it loses moisture until it’s in equilibrium.
In high humidity, wood can swell, causing warping, buckling, crowning, or cupping. In low humidity, it can splinter along the grain or shrink, leaving wide gaps between the boards.
You can watch for signs of high or low humidity in your home, or you can simply head to your local hardware store and get a humidistat or hydrometer, which will tell you the humidity level. For the healthiest hardwood — and for your own good health — keep your home’s humidity level between 38 and 43 percent.
Whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier
If you live in a very humid or very dry climate, it may be tough to keep humidity levels within the ideal zone, especially if you have a home on the larger side. That’s when it might be time to install a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier. These are built into your HVAC system and work to add or remove humidity without the need for filling or emptying a bucket, as is necessary with portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
Maintaining a fairly consistent temperature in your home is important if you have wood floors, because just as wood responds to changes in humidity, it also reacts to wide changes in temperature by expanding or contracting. A smart thermostat can help you manage both temperature and humidity over time to keep your floors in excellent shape. Smart thermostats are fairly inexpensive high-tech hardwood floor maintenance solutions, and they’ll save you money on your utility bills to boot.
A smart thermostat reads the temperature and humidity in the house and makes adjustments as necessary. Some varieties “learn” your cooling and heating routine and maintain the right temperature and humidity based on how you use the thermostat in the beginning. You can connect your thermostat to your phone and manage humidity and temperature in your home while you’re at work or even on vacation.
Microfiber technology is truly amazing. Each microfiber cloth has millions of hook-shaped microfibers per square inch that grab onto dust, debris, and even germs, removing these things without damaging your floor. Microfiber mops are super soft and durable, and they beat other mopping systems with disposable pads by leaps and bounds. The best way to clean your wood floors is to run a damp or dry microfiber mop over high-traffic areas each day, and damp-mop the entire floor weekly. The great thing about microfiber is that you don’t need to use a cleaner with them.
Dust and debris on your wood floors cause microscopic scratches that, over time, dull the finish and make your floors look worn. While the best thing you can do to maintain your hardwood floors is run a microfiber mop over them each day. But if that’s just not in your cards, a robotic vacuum cleaner may be the answer. A robotic vacuum is a high-tech hardwood floor maintenance solution that runs on a program you set, so it can vacuum your home daily, every other day, or however often you want.
But not all robotic vacuums are good for wood floors. For example, the Roomba, one of the most popular models, has a hard plastic pivoting wheel, which can scratch your floor. Choose a vacuum with soft rubber wheels that won’t harm your floor. Avoid robotic vacuums with a traditional bristle brush, which can scratch your finish over time, and they can trap dust and particles that then scratch your floor as the bristles turn. Instead, opt for safer rubber brushes, which are softer on your floor and don’t get debris caught in them as easily. Super-soft nylon bristles are also safe for hardwood floors.
If you opt for a robotic vacuum over microfiber, pick up large debris before your vacuum goes on its rounds. Once the vacuum is finished, check the beater bar and wheels for debris, and make sure the wheels are wrapped up in hair or other fibers that can prevent them from spinning.
High-Tech Hardwood Floor Maintenance for Floors that Last a Lifetime
Even high-traffic wood floors — including those that see a lot of action from kids and pets — can last a lifetime if you take care of them properly. These high-tech solutions go a long way toward protecting and maintaining your floor, and the better you take care of them, the longer you’ll be able to go before you need to have them recoated, and the longer they’ll last before they need to be refinished.
For all of your burning questions about how to maintain your hardwood floors, contact us at Lifetime Hardwood Floors. Just as you probably have a favorite hairdresser, doctor, and plumber, we want to be your favorite go-to for all of your hardwood flooring needs for the life of your floor.
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