Hardwood flooring can add grace and style to almost any home. For many homes on the market it becomes a number one selling point. Once you own a hardwood floor, you need to know how to take care of it. Care begins with preventing dirt and grime from getting tracked onto your beautiful floor. Add area rugs to the floor at all entry ways so that you can prevent most of the grime from being tracked into your home. The tiny dirt particles act like sandpaper and can scratch the finish of the floor.
It is also important to place mats anywhere that water could be splashed, such as in front of kitchen sinks.
One of the most important tools to keep your floor clean is a good quality broom. It will help to sweep up dirt that gets past the mats.
A vacuum cleaner that is set to the bare floor setting is also useful to pick up dirt that a broom might miss. In hard to reach places use the vacuum crevasse tool. When the dirt particles have been removed, use a buffer to restore the luster to the floor.
For deeper cleaning use a terrycloth flat mop. Cleaners should be specifically for hardwood floors. Use the cleaner on a rag to remove scuff marks and a damp towel to remove sticky spots.
For many years, oil soap was the standard for cleaning hardwood floors, however, with polyurethane finishes, oil soap is no longer recommended. It can dull the shine and make recoating of the floor impossible later on. Also avoid use of ammonia on hardwood floors.
Never use wet mops on hardwood floors. Excess water can cause the wood to swell which may result in warping, cracking or splintering.
Do not use waxes on polyurethane. Waxes may actually dull the floor rather than bring out the shine for which you are looking.
All hardwood floors eventually begin to show signs of wear. Polyurethane coated flooring can be screened and recoated. This process involves roughing up the surface of the polyurethane and then adding a new coat on top of the old. Any traffic wear will be in the polyurethane and not the wood flooring which, if properly cared for, will last for many generations.
If you wait too long between recoating or if your floors are finished with older varnish or lacquer, you may need to refinish the floors. This process involves sanding the flooring down to bear wood, restaining and applying new coats of polyurethane. Heavy orbital and belt sanders must be used in this process.
Sunlight will cause color changes in hardwood floors. To avoid having to sand and refinish, use window treatments to protect the floor from bright sunlight and do not leave area rugs in the same spot for long periods.
Protect your flooring by adding furniture pads to the legs of all furniture. The felt will help to prevent scratches. Be careful when moving heavy furniture that you do not scratch the finish on the floors.
Annie is an expert furniture and interior design writer. Her current area of specialism is furniture, home accessories and christmas gifts
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