For many homeowners, hardwood floors are an expensive luxury. Although you can get the look of hardwood at less cost thanks to laminates, they simply don’t offer the same feel as real hardwood, or the patina of age that develops over time. Of course, you can also save some expense by opting for reclaimed hardwood planks that have been removed from older homes, and these products allow you to get the beautiful patina you crave and spare some trees in the process.
But no matter where your hardwood comes from, you will have to put in the extra time, effort, and money to clean and maintain it appropriately. Whereas laminates are pretty easy to maintain, hardwood requires a lot more work if you want it to stand the test of time and continue looking fantastic. Here are just a few tips for cleaning and maintenance that will have your hardwood floor shining.
- Use the right products. When cleaning hardwood flooring it is important to use the right products. If you use harsh, chemical cleansers you’re sure to get your floor clean, but you’re also likely to strip away the finish on your boards, and eventually damage the wood itself. So procuring soaps, waxes, and conditioning products that are made for use on hardwoods is essential to protecting your flooring. You also need to make sure that you have appropriate equipment on hand for sweeping, mopping, and buffing your floor, including a soft-bristled broom or dry-mop for dusting, a damp mop for cleansing, and shammies for wiping up excess water or cleaning products.
- Clean weekly. As you probably know, your floor can get pretty dirty with people and pets tracking in outside detritus, not to mention the dust that seems to settle over everything in your home. And this can make your beautiful hardwood flooring look dull. So take the time to sweep/dust and mop on a weekly basis. This will keep your floors looking great and stop the damage that can occur when grit gets ground into the finish on your flooring.
- Condition monthly. Over time, even mild soaps can start to wear away your finish, or your cleaning products may cause some kind of build-up on flooring that dulls the shine. So monthly treatment with a wax, wood polish, or conditioner (often you’ll find all three in one product) can help to deep clean your floors and polish and protect the surface.
- Seal annually. Frequent cleaning and conditioning will help to prolong the life of your flooring, but you should still seal it annually to protect it from daily wear and tear and ensure longevity.
- Take precautions. There are certainly advantages of upgrading to hardwood floors in your home, aside from the rich beauty it brings to your interior. It is far more durable than carpeting, for one thing, and it can increase the resale value of your home in a way that few cosmetic changes can. But it can also be problematic if you’re not careful. You need to protect your flooring by padding furniture feet with casters, felt, or plastic sliders. And think about making your living spaces a shoe-free zone. Don’t forget to regulate your interior temperature and humidity, if possible, and inspect frequently for swelling and bulging that could signal a leak or other moisture problems that will irreparably harm your hardwood.