A Small Hardwood Flooring Maintenance Guide

As elaborated in previous articles, hardwood flooring is very versatile, comes in lots of colors, shapes, wood species and patterns and is usually a great fit for any home. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need to care about your floor anymore as soon as it’s been installed.

Actually, before installing it, a wise thing to do is to measure the moisture and humidity in your home – preferably, your home is as dry as possible because even with pre-finished hardwood flooring boards, moisture can still be soaked in and lead to swelling and deformation of the wood, which in turn can lead to a loud and squeaky sounding floor.

To prevent moisture from the beginning, make sure your home has a very good isolation installed below the floor and that the hardwood flooring boards aren’t installed “below grade”, meaning below ground level. Over time this could lead to fungi growth, an eroded foundation and overall damaged flooring. This is especially true for hardwood, cork, bamboo and unsealed cement but not as important for chemical or stone flooring.

A last tip for preventing humidity from damaging your beautiful hardwood floor: Install a central air conditioning unit to keep the rooms dry and humidity at a low level at all times.

Damaged Hardwood Floor

This is what happens to hardwood if not cared about… 1

However, humidity and moisture aren’t the only enemies of your hardwood floor. It is important that you clean it properly once a week – either via a vacuum cleaner (make sure it has an anti-scratch protection) or via mopping the floor. This will get rid of dust, particles, little stones, sand and similar things that will lead to scratches and small degrees of wear that increases over time and makes your hardwood look blunt and lose color.

When using certain cleaning products with your mop, make sure to use those from your hardwood manufacturer or at least ones that are generally approved for use on hardwood flooring. It’s important to do this – by using the proper cleaning chemicals you can get rid of stains and spills without ruining the finish of the floor (which actually happens with agressive chemicals not approved for cleaning hardwood).

Dog on a well maintained hardwood floor

Even dogs enjoy a well maintained floor!  2

It would also be wise to purchase a few floor mats, put them at the entry door and ask visitors to wipe their shoes off before entering – this will keep most of the dirt and particles out right away.

Make sure these mats are made specifically for hardwood floors – there are rubber-baked mats and non-ventilated ones that could cause damage to your floor, too.

Nevertheless, whatever you do, over the years your hardwood is going to look more and more dull, blunt and lifeless.

It’s a scary thought but fear not, there is a solution to this and it doesn’t go by the name of “reflooring”! What you need to do is screening and recoating. In simple terms, screening means to grind down the polyurethane finish of the floor and afterwards re-applying fresh coating. This is a lot easier and cheaper to do than it sounds. Your floor is going to look like the first time it was installed!

However, there will be times where either the damage to your hardwood floor are so severe that even screening and recoating didn’t help. The last resort in this case is to sand and re-finish the floor again – pretty much what you did when you installed your floor for the first time, assuming you didn’t go for pre-finished hardwood boards. If your floor is only damaged in a certain area, make sure to get in touch with your hardwood manufacturer, since he will have replacement boards available that are going to cut down on the time you need to spend on sanding and re-finishing.

I’ve covered a lot of things this time and hope that I covered every and any situation possible. Do you have any tips to share on how to maintain and keep your hardwood floor in good shape? Please share them below in the comments!

  1. © Flickr, anyjazz65 

  2. © Flickr, clover_1 

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