When you look at a newly refinished hardwood floor, you might want to take a picture because it may never look as good again. Unlike linoleum floors or carpeting, hardwood floors definitely need TLC. The finish can wear out. The stain may bleach in the sun. The wood can even splinter and crack.
Tips to Maintain Hardwood Floors, Even Aging Ones
Some of that wear and tear will naturally occur. You can’t stop spills, but you can clean them up quickly. if the floor is a high traffic area or in direct sunlight, you may want to consider refinishing coats. Proper care can extend the life of that finish and the wood underneath.
Cover Your Windows During Peak Sunlight
Don’t want the sun to discolor your floors? Cover the sun, it’s just that simple. Okay, maybe that’s not simple, depending on how much light your home gets. You probably want the sun on your floor when you’re home. But if you can remember, shut the shades before you leave so sunlight isn’t beaming down on your floor when you’re not there to appreciate it.
UV light can damage the luster and color of the floors, making them look faded. Dark wood will become lighter with direct exposure to UV rays. Light wood can darken with the same exposure.
Add a Rug
You love a hardwood floor for the way it looks — why would you want to cover it? Well, if there are particularly high traffic areas, like a hallway or foyer, you may want to put down an area rug that will keep those sections from getting divots and splinters.
Use a Protective Lacquer
Not all hardwood floors are protected equally. Some are installed with a protective layer or a sealant that keeps water out, but that’s not always the case. Water can seep into the wood fibers and cause rot and decay. The right protection can extend the floor’s lifespan, but will likely breakdown over time.
Determine if your hardwood floor is properly protected. Inspect it to see if there’s a shiny layer over top of the wood. If not, add protective lacquer. Depending on how worn the wood is, you may even need to re-stain. Choose a quality lacquer that won’t need replacing for a long time.
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Not everyone will be able to follow this advice. If you can, change the positioning of your furniture so that spots underneath the table or couch don’t become major areas of wear.
Protection pads can also top the feet of your tables, chairs and couch from scuffing the floor.
Keep the Floor Clean
You might not think of dust as potentially damaging. It doesn’t look very attractive, but it can also hurt your floor. When you step on coarse particles, they create an abrasive force against the wood. This causes friction, which can scratch or scuff the floor.
Those scuff marks may be almost impossible to see with the naked eye, but imagine how bad the damage will be as you step on the dirty floor over and over in the course of a few months. You can avoid a lot of the damage that occurs to your hardwood floors by simply keeping them clean and wiping up spills quickly to avoid discoloration. Use soft cleaning tools like a broom or mop to get rid of dust, dirt, and other debris. If you use a vacuum to clean your floors, ensure you use a soft brush attachment that is designed for hardwood flooring.
This prevents scuffs and scrapes. Jackson with Chicago's Imagine Maids suggests that "You can hire a professional cleaning service to care for your floors as well, and they will know what works best to tidy the floors and protect them as they clean."
Choose the Right Flooring
Hardwood floors should last a long time, but some types of hardwood floor last much longer than others. When you pick out the flooring for your home, consider paying extra for high quality materials that will last longer and need less maintenance. Also use high quality finishes, lacquers, and other components to extend your floor’s lifespan and minimize the need for repairs.