There are a lot of great things that go hand-in-hand with installing a hardwood floor in your home. For example, Hardwood flooring will last a long time and it will stand up well against the rigours of everyday life. Hardwood is also a timeless investment that will heighten the aesthetic of any room in your home and, let’s face it — it’s a given that it’ll be a great reselling feature when the day comes. With all that taken into account, it’s important to remember that hardwood is a natural material and as such protecting its beautiful finish from the tell-tale signs of wear and tear will be more challenging than caring for a synthetic or manufactured material.
Let’s take a look at a few to do’s and don’ts for maintaining your home’s hardwood flooring.
Consider the Relationship Between Hardwood and Moisture
For those who don’t know, wood and moisture compliment each other about as well as oil and water or, to deviate from that overused cliche, about as well as drinking a glass of orange juice after brushing your teeth. The point is, wood reacts poorly to fluctuating levels of moisture, so it is important for homeowners to consider where they will be placing hardwood flooring in their home and how likely it is that it will come into contact with an irregular amount of moisture. For example, it might seem obvious that the areas most often associated with elevated moisture levels include bathrooms and kitchens, but other rooms may be excessively humid or dry from one home to the next.
Obviously, you won’t let standing water pool on your hardwood floor, but how can you combat high humidity levels? One way to do that is to make sure that your home’s ambient temperature is maintained at a reasonable temperature during arrid summer months. As tempting as it might be to crank the A/C during a heatwave, doing so can alter the delicate balance of humidity in your home and in extreme cases, can cause your hardwood floorboards to swell with moisture and expand. Alternately, winter air tends to be much dryer and if the air is insufficiently humid, it can cause the flooring to contract. Excessive swelling and contracting can cause wooden flooring to warp and/or cup so it’s important to keep humidity levels as constant as possible no matter the weather.
Don’t Use Wax On Its Own to Clean Your Floors
Sure, regularly applying a high-end floor wax will help maintain its sheen and lustre, but it is not recommended as a proper floor cleaner. Moreover, many experts believe that applying wax is not really all that beneficial when it comes to actually care for the wood. If your hesitant about trying out an off the shelf all-purpose cleaner on your floors, consider a few of the more natural alternatives. For instance, many homeowners (and experts) feel that a simple water and vinegar solution is enough to keep your hardwood floors clean and is mild enough to avoid stripping the surface, while others prefer to use olive oil. Whatever you decide to do, the general rule of thumb to follow before you begin is to test the solution on a small area of the floor (preferably in an out of the way spot) to see how the wood reacts to it. That way, any adverse effects can be mitigated and you can avoid an expensive refinishing project.
Keep Maintenance Top Of Mind By Strategically Placing Mats and Rugs
Granted, you don’t want to hide your beautiful hardwood floor beneath a ridiculous number of rugs, but you can use them strategically in high volume areas to significantly lessen the wear and tear in highly visible places.
Small area rugs placed at entryways like the front, side, or back doors help to prevent moisture and dirt (don’t forget salt, during the winter months) from permeating the floor’s natural surface. Over time, these outdoor factors can wreak havoc not only on the visual aesthetic of the flooring but also on its composition and structural integrity.
Placing a rug beneath your dining room table is also a great way to reduce wear and tear as it will protect the floor from the friction caused by chairs repeatedly being moved in and out before, during, and after each meal.
Finally, adding an area rug in a child’s playroom not only reduces the likelihood of unsightly scratches and marks on the floor, but it’ll also make the space much more comfortable to play on.
Don’t Leave Furniture In The Same Place For Too Long
Even if you love your furniture where it is and don’t really have any stylistic reason to rearrange it, it’s a good idea to move furniture and rugs around every once in a while. Doing so will allow the wood to age evenly and reduce the likelihood of premature aging and scuffing in high traffic areas. While many people enjoy the natural wear that accompanies decades old hardwood flooring, it tends to look best when the aging is more or less uniform throughout the entire room rather than concentrated in one spot.
Yes, hardwood flooring is a great option for any home. But as with anything else that radiates great beauty, a significant amount of care and consideration must be made in order to maintain it. Maintaining your floors doesn’t have to be a daunting task, provided you have an idea of what you need to do — use these do’s and don’ts to help you take care of yours. If you have additional questions about caring for hardwood flooring or you’d like to install hardwood flooring in your home, contact Sarana Tiles for more information about hardwood flooring.