Today, we’re talking about proper hardwood floor maintenance. Things that are meant to last more than a few years need to be taken care of, or there’s a price to pay. Your teeth, for example: Skip the floss and bi-annual cleanings, and you’re going to end up needing a root canal down the line. Neglect to change your oil for a few years, and soon enough, you’ll be in the market for a new engine.
Your hardwood floors are no different. Skip the essential hardwood floor maintenance now, and down the road, you’ll need to have your floor refinished or a new one installed. Root canals, engines, and hardwood floor refinishing all have one thing in common: They’ll cost you a lot of lettuce. The longer you can hold off entropy, the better: The better your teeth will look, your car will run, and your floor will resist wear and tear.
And that’s where proper hardwood floor maintenance comes in. Expertly installed and finished hardwood floors should only need refinishing every ten to fifteen years or so, on average. A well-maintained hardwood floor with a quality coating can last 20 years or more before it needs to be refinished. But treat your floors badly now, and they may need to be refinished or replaced in as few as five years.
Hardwood Floor Maintenance: How to Do it Right
The good news is that hardwood floor maintenance isn’t rocket science. Here’s what it takes to make your floor last 20-plus years, saving you a bundle on premature refinishing or replacement costs.
Wipe up spills immediately.
The cardinal rule of hardwood flooring is that you must wipe up spills immediately. Although the finish on hardwood flooring is water-resistant, it’s not water-proof, and liquid can discolor the finish and penetrate deep into the wood, causing serious problems with the appearance and structure of the floor.
Remove dust daily.
Dust and debris cause microscopic (and not-so-microscopic) scratches in the finish that dull the shine and make your hardwood floors look tired and worn out. Run a dust mop over your floor each day, and vacuum weekly to remove debris between the floor boards and along the baseboards.
Clean with appropriate products.
Periodically, you will need to clean your hardwood floors. However, using waxes, oil soaps, or floor cleaners that contain ammonia, silicone, oils, or acrylics can damage your finish and make it impossible for a new finish to stick when you re-coat the floor. Only use approved floor-cleaning products, and never, ever use a steam mop or damp mop on your hardwood floors. I recommend non-toxic Bona products. Lightly mist the floor with the cleaner, and wipe it dry with a microfiber pad. For a deeper, more thorough clean, choose a Lifetime Hardwood Floors Deep Clean, which removes dirt, grease, and other contaminants from your floor using a GreenGuard-certified cleaner.
Protect your floor.
Preventing scratches and other damage in the first place keeps your hardwood floors looking like new. Always wipe your feet before you enter your home to avoid tracking in debris that can scratch your finish. Install felt protectors beneath the legs of your furniture, and never slide heavy pieces across the floor. Avoid wearing high heels or cleats on your hardwood floors, which can scratch and dent them.
Maintain optimal humidity.
High and low humidity are both detrimental to your hardwood floors. High humidity can warp the wood, while low humidity can dry it out and cause shrinking. Changes in humidity cause long-term damage to your floors, so it’s important to keep the humidity in your home constant and stable. The optimal home humidity for hardwood flooring is between 38 and 42 percent. A hydrometer from the hardware store will tell you what your home humidity is.
Close the shades.
Repeated exposure to the sun can discolor your hardwood floors, which is especially evident when you use area rugs. The best solution to sun damage is to keep the shades drawn during the day to prevent direct sunlight from hitting your floors. If you don’t have shades, or if you prefer sunny rooms, consider installing a UV-blocking film over your windows. Doing so will prevent sunlight damage to your floors, and it will improve the energy efficiency of your home, according to the Department of Energy. If possible, periodically rearrange your furniture and rugs to make sure the floor ages evenly.
A simple hardwood floor re-coat negates everyday wear and tear on your hardwood floor. Re-coating your hardwood floor involves lightly abrading the surface of the floor and laying down a top layer of water-based coating. Re-coating replenishes the protective finish and restores the floor to a gleaming shine. Depending on how much wear and tear your floor gets, you should re-coat it every three to five years, according to the National Wood Flooring Association. Lifetime Hardwood Floors offers LED and UV curing for re-coats, which eliminates odor, emits zero VOCs, and offers a walkable surface in a matter of minutes.
Professional Hardwood Floor Maintenance You Can Count On
Like well-maintained teeth, your hardwood floors can provide you with a lifetime of beauty if you take good care of them. Lifetime Hardwood Floors has 30 years of experience and expertise in re-coating, refinishing, installing, and maintaining hardwood flooring. Contact us today for a free estimate for a deep clean, re-coat, refinish, or new install, and enjoy the lustrous beauty of a Lifetime Hardwood Floor.