Hardwood floors add tremendous value and visible appeal to your home. However, they aren’t without their issues. While good hardwood floors can last a lifetime, they require ongoing maintenance and proper cleaning practices in order to keep them in good shape for decades to come. Here are some of our top tips for hardwood flooring maintenance.
Dust and dirt may seem like temporary problems for hardwood floors – just dust or wash them away every now and then, and your floors should be fine, right? Actually, dust and debris can cause major damage to hardwood flooring over time. Even very small particles can grind away the finish on hardwood floors when stepped on, eventually leading to scuffs and scratches. In order to keep your floors looking brand-new, quickly dust and sweep high-traffic areas daily. Lower traffic areas can be cleaned less often. Deep cleaning with a quality vacuum cleaner should happen each week, or more often for very high traffic areas, or those prone to dirt accumulation such as entryways.
Hardwood flooring needs special care taken when washing or mopping. Avoid washing floors with water, as it can be absorbed by the wood, warping it over time. Many soaps, waxes, and other cleaning treatments can leave residue or even damage your floor’s finish. Always wash your floor with cleaners specified for use with hardwood floors. Many manufacturers produce their own cleaning products, or recommend certain treatments for their floors. Speak with your installer or manufacturer and make sure you’re using the right cleaning materials. Never use steam cleaners or abrasive mops or cloths. These methods can damage the floor’s finish and reduce its lifespan.
Along with daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance, long-term maintenance is important to extend the lifespan of your hardwood floors. Applying specialized hardwood polish reseals your floors and fills tiny gaps in the sealant and finish, renewing their look and preventing more serious damage from occurring. Ideally, hardwood floors should be properly polished once a year to keep them fresh.
Sometimes, hardwood floors are left in disrepair. Many older homes have hardwood that has not been properly cleaned or maintained, and it shows. If you’re in this situation, don’t despair. Often, shabby-looking hardwood can be revitalized by fully refinishing them. This can be labour-intensive and expensive, but it’s a much lower cost than replacing floors. Unless the floors are significantly damaged (heavily warped, rotting, structurally damaged), refinishing provides a fresh start for your floors. The difference can be night and day.