Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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Caring for your Hardwood Floors

12 Tips for Maintaining Hardwood Floors

Caring for your hardwood floors is the easiest way to make sure that they last for the longest time possible. Making sure your floors are taken care of allows your home to remain appealing and presentable. Here are 12 tips for effectively taking care of your hardwood floors.  A guest post by George.

1. Get Information


Follow the directions and recommendations for the care of your wood flooring. Ask for information on the ease or difficulty of care from the manufacturer or retailer before purchase. Make sure that your ability to care for the flooring matches the type of wood floor you’re considering.

2. Use The Right Cleaner


Remember that when caring for your wood flooring, you are actually caring for two surfaces – the wood and the finish on top of it. Always use the correct kind of products for cleaning your floor. Tile-cleaning products and vinyl-cleaning products should never be used on a wood floor. If you want to use a wax on your wood floor, be sure the product specifically says that it is safe for hardwood. Some wax products can damage wood flooring so badly that the material has to be sanded and refinished. Be sure to clean your floor before waxing. Never use wax on a sealed wood floor, as this can create a surface that is extremely slippery. It can also cause problems if the floor ever needs to be resealed. Avoid oil soaps altogether.

3. Try Throw Rugs


Use throw rugs and mats in high traffic areas, in doorways, and where furniture with hard feet will rest. Placing a large throw rug where children will be playing is also a good idea.

4. Prevent Your Furniture From Causing Damage


Put plastic-faced or fabric-faced gliders under the legs of furniture to prevent wood floors from being scratched, especially when rearranging furniture. These are also a good idea for dining chairs, where a great deal of movement is to be expected. When moving particularly heavy pieces of furniture, get help to lift the piece, instead of scooting or sliding it.

5. Clean Regularly


Vacuum, sweep, or mop your wood floors with a very slightly damp mop regularly. However, never wet-mop it. A large amount of water will dull finishes, damage the wood with warping, or leave discoloring behind. Wipe up drink and food spills right away. Place a throw rug in front of kitchen sink area to keep water from standing on floor.

6. Avoid Hard Bottomed Shoes


Any kind of cleats, high heels, sports shoes, or other hard-bottomed shoes can damage the floor surface. Try to avoid heavy traffic in these types of footwear. Shoes with deep treads can hold dirt and pebbles that could cause gouges in your hardwood flooring. Have an area near your door where you or visitors can leave dirty or hard-soled shoes upon entrance.

7. Use A Specialized Vacuum


Use a vacuum with a brush attachment or special attachments for bare floors. Never use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar on a wood floor. A dust mop with a wide, cotton head is also useful for everyday care. When using a broom, don’t use one with hard or abrasive bristles. Use a soft, fine-bristled broom with exploded ends to catch dust. Wood flooring should be cleaned twice a week to remove dust and dirt, to prevent it from building up and scratching with regular traffic.

8. Get Help With Scratches Or Dents


If your hardwood floor acquires any scratches or dents, consult the manufacturer or retailer on how to repair them. Some flooring can be easily replaced in small pieces, but there are some forms of damage that can be buffed out with less expense.

9. Clean Your Rugs And Mats


Be sure to clean beneath any rugs and mats – dirt and dust filter down and can scar the wood underneath, acting like sandpaper between the rug and flooring. Rugs and mats should also be washed, cleaned, or shaken outdoors regularly to remove any buildup that could cause damage.

10. Prevent Long Exposure To Sunlight


If the windows in the room with your wood flooring get large amounts of bright light during the day, add sheer drapes or close the blinds or curtains completely to protect the floors. Long periods of bright sunlight will discolor a wood floor with UV damage.

11. Clean Up Right Away


Immediately clean up tracked-in dirt or mud before it has the opportunity to scratch, seep between panels, or otherwise damage the flooring.

12. Control The Humidity


Take care with how humid the environment inside your home is. Keep it between 45% and 55%. Too humid an environment can cause the wood to swell, crack, and warp. If your home is too dry, the wood can separate. Buying a humidifier or dehumidifier is an easy way to monitor this.

George assists his employers with their vacuum cleaner bags as he mainly writes about Numatic vacuum bags for a living.