How to Properly Care for Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is a beautiful addition to any home — but keeping it in great condition takes work and planning. Whether your wood floors are newly installed or historic, follow these tips to help them remain attractive and last for a long time to come.

Set a cleaning schedule

Proper care for your wood flooring starts with regularly scheduled cleaning. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, it’s best to sweep or apply a dust mop every day. On a weekly basis, run the vacuum cleaner over your flooring — and remember to use the “bare floor” setting so as not cause any scratching. Once a month, clean your floors with a damp mop and a product designed for wood. These combined steps will help preserve the wood and keep it from being scratched by debris.

Choose the right cleaning products

For routine monthly cleaning, make sure you’re using a soft cloth and a product that’s recommended for wood floors. Real Simple notes that the type of product you need will depend on your floor’s finish, which may be polyurethane, oil, or wax. The NWFA warns against using a wet or steam mop, as moisture can seep into cracks and harm the wood and finish over the long term.

Take steps to prevent damage

Any time there’s a spill, make sure you act to protect your wood flooring right away. Puddles or sticky messes can wreak havoc on the finish if you don’t wipe them up quickly. You’ll also want to protect against scratching. To do this, attach floor protector pads to furniture legs. If you need to move a piece of furniture, always get help to lift it instead of sliding it across the floor. The NWFA also suggests removing high-heeled shoes or cleats before walking across a wood floor. If your floor does sustain minor scratches, touch-up kits are available to help you fix the damage.

Control temperature and humidity

Even if you take all the right steps to keep your wood floors clean, drastic changes in humidity can cause problems. Per the NWFA, wood swells as it gains moisture and shrinks as it dries out. Too much moisture can cause cupping around the edges, while too much moisture loss can cause splitting and gapping. To protect against these types of damage, make sure your home’s atmosphere remains at around 30-50 percent humidity and 60-80 degrees.

Don’t forget long-term maintenance

Along with routine maintenance, your wood flooring will also require some less-frequent care. Every three to five years, the NWFA recommends applying a new coat of finish. This is also a great opportunity to deep-clean your floors. The NWFA also points out that wood flooring should be sanded and refinished every 20 years or so. If your home’s flooring was already wood when you moved in, it’s worth checking with a professional to find out if you’re due for this step.

Wood floors are a tremendous asset and a valuable investment, so make sure you put in the effort to protect and care for them. No matter what shape your floors are currently in, these steps are a great place to start.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply