The character and elegance of a hardwood floor makes it a favorite among homeowners. By following these maintenance tips you will enhance its timeless, natural beauty.
Place walk off mats at each entryway to collect dirt and grit that might be tracked in. These tiny particles act like sandpaper and will scratch your floor. Be sure to avoid using rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs as they can damage your floor instead use mats made especially for hardwood floors and remember to shake them out regularly. In addition to entryways, be sure to place mats in any areas where water may be splashed, such as near a kitchen sink.
Sweeping your floor regularly will pick up grains of dirt and other particles. A vacuum cleaner, without a beater bar, can be helpful in between planks and other hard to reach areas. Once dirt and grease are gone buffing can help restore the luster.
Cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor. For Finish in Place hardwood floors, a BonaMop and Bona cleaner are recommended. The BonaMop is a 8x14 terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards an easy task. Spray on the Bona Cleaner to safely remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish on the floor.
Manufacturers of Pre-finished hardwood floors recommend their own specific products designed for their floors for routine maintenance. Be sure to check with your design consultant for these cleaners.
All floors with a urethane finish should never be waxed and require cleaners that won't leave a film or residue. A hardwood floor cleaner is useful in removing occasional scuffs or heel marks. Merely spray some cleaner on a cloth and lightly rub the stained area. Sticky spots can be cleaned with a damp towel or sponge. Do not use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor, as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These products will affect the ability to recoat your floor later.
Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.
If your floor is showing excessive wear beyond normal cleaning you may want to consider screening and recoating. Screening is the process used to abrade the polyurethane finish that is currently on the floor. Next, fresh coats of urethane are applied. Screening and recoating will rejuvenate and prolong the life of your floor.
If the damage to the floor is severe and has gone through the stain of the boards down to the bare wood, you can sand and refinish. This should only be done if a screening and recoating does not solve the problem. This is an extensive process where the floor is sanded down to the bare wood, restained and then refinished. If the damage is only in a small area you may want to see if replacement boards are available to alleviate having to refinish an entire area.
Be certain to hire an experienced professional when having any work done on your hardwood floor.
Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage. Take care when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing. Stiletto heals will cause dents and scratches which are not covered by warranty.
All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process. Window treatments are recommended as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly allowing floors to age evenly.