Hardwood Floor Care and Maintenance Tips

The biggest challenge in having hardwood floors is not the installation process but the maintenance. The responsibility of the owner does not end after finishing the installation process. If you have decided to install wood floors, then you must also be ready with floor repair as well as various cleaning processes that it entails.
The first thing you need to know is that, water is the biggest enemy of wood floors. From hardwood floors such as Brazilian Cherry and oak, to softwood types such as pine flooring and bamboo; wood species swell when exposed to water. We learned from our science classes in grade school that water exists in three phases: solid, liquid, and vapor. Of these three, liquid and vapor phases are the ones that cause problems to this type of material. Between the two, the liquid phase is easier to control because we see it, therefore, attend to it immediately. However, in the case of water vapor, the damage can be widespread because it’s unnoticeable.
This knowledge has impact on the way we clean our hardwood floors. We should never use water when cleaning them because sooner or later, we might be faced with costly refinishing jobs or overhaul repairs. In addition using mops immersed in soap and wax removers easily harm this type of floor material. Even self-polishing waxes sometimes contain water. So if you really want to wax your floor badly, consider waxing the traffic areas only. If your kitchen has wood floors, it is best that you place area rags near sinks and dishwashers. This is a cheap and simple system we can employ to pick up leaks and drips. Also, remember that you should not wax floors with varnish. Vacuuming frequently keeps dust and grit off of them so do this at least once a week. These are simple and cheap preventive measures to maintain them and avoid unexpected repair costs.
As part of maintenance and repair, consider doing a comprehensive check up of the state of the flooring. This should be done every year so that you know whether it is already time recoat or refinish your hardwood floors. To determine if you need to refinish, pour one to two tablespoons of water onto the household’s high traffic areas. If the water soaks in immediately and leaves a darkened spot, the finish is worn and water can damage the wood. If the water soaks in after a few minutes and darkens the wood only slightly, the finish is partially worn. If the water beads on top, the surface is properly sealed.
If the floor finish happens to be damaged, other troubles such as stains, burns, cuts, gouges, holes, cracks, and warped boards may arrive in the future. If you sense that the wood has been totally wrecked, repair or replacement might be necessary.
Hardwood prices are relatively high compared with other home projects. It is an investment we need to protect. Proper maintenance, knowledge, and attitude are important in the lifespan of our precious hardwood floors.

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