hickory floors

Hardwood Floor Maintenance 101: How to Keep Your Floors In Good Shape

Installing hardwood floors often requires a pretty sizable investment on your part. While the cost of hardwood flooring varies depending on everything from the size of your home to the type of wood that you choose, the average American pays more than $4,300 to have hardwood floors installed.

As a result, it's extremely important for you to maintain your hardwood flooring the right way once you get it in place. When you make hardwood floor maintenance a priority, you can keep your floors looking like new and ensure that they last (nearly) a lifetime.

The good news is that hardwood floors are a lot easier to maintain than other types of flooring (like carpeting). However, there are some things you'll need to do to preserve their appearance.

Check out our 9 tips to help you maintain your hardwood floors and keep them in perfect condition for decades to come!

Sweep Regularly

Just as with other types of flooring, if you fail to sweep on a regular basis, you’ll be able to see all the dirt and debris on the surface of your home's hardwood floors (which drags down the aesthetic appeal and make your floors look dingy).

Get into the habit of sweeping your hardwood floors on a regular basis ― if possible, a couple of times per week. It will extend the life of your investment and keep your floors looking brand new.

Clean Up Spills Quickly

Moisture is your hardwood flooring's worst enemy. If your floors get wet for any reason and you allow moisture to sit on the surface for an extended period of time, it won't be long before issues arise.

If you spill something―anything―grab a roll of paper towels and soak it up ASAP.

Moisture and liquid can lead to a whole host of problems including discoloration, cupping, warping and mold. And once you notice these types of issues, you are likely going to need the help of a professional to assist in replacement or restoration.

Don’t Mop With Water

Water is the enemy (see the above paragraph). It should go without saying that your hardwood floors SHOULD NOT be mopped with water, however, you’d be surprised by how many people attempt to do it!

You should not, under any circumstances, break out a mop and a bucket to mop your floors like you would with vinyl or tile. It'll leave water sitting on top of the entire surface of your floor and will cause major problems if you make it part of your regular routine.

Use the Right Cleaning Products

There are dozens of hardwood floor cleaners out there, all designed to make your floors as shiny as they can be.

But word to the wise: try not to use any hardwood floor cleaning products that contain acrylic wax. The wax can build up over time, making your floors appear dull as opposed shiny.

Also, be sure to keep furniture polish ONLY on your furniture. Polish meant for furniture makes hardwood flooring dangerously slippery and can easily lead to falls.  Here's a list of tips that will save you time, money and trouble.  

Keep Them Cool

There’s a reason why you don't often see beautiful hardwood floors in bathrooms―they have too much humidity for hardwood flooring to survive.

If you have hardwood floors in your home, it's best to keep your thermostat set to somewhere between 60 and 80 degrees. You should also keep a close eye on the humidity level in your home—stay between 30 and 50 percent, if possible (the closer to 50 percent, the better).

Taking these steps will prevent gaps from forming between the wooden planks. It'll also prevent the planks from buckling because of the heat/moisture.

Occasional fluctuations in temperature shouldn't cause too much harm, but when your humidity goes up and stays up, it's not uncommon to see hardwood flooring problems.

No High Heels or Cleats

Many homeowners ask people to not wear shoes inside their home after hardwood floors are installed, and this certainly isn't a bad approach if you want to make sure that you don't ruin your investment.

But if you're going to allow people to wear shoes in your home, make sure they're wearing the right kind of shoes. Tennis shoes, flip-flops and regular flats are fine, but watch out for stones stuck in the treads of shoes, as they’ll cause scratches.

High heels should be a “no-no.” Cleats are a definite “no way!”

Use Mats Near Doors

Do you have exterior doors in your home that lead right into rooms that have hardwood floors? If so, you’ll want to run out and invest in some heavy-duty mats (for both the inside and the outside).

The outdoor mats should catch most of the dirt and mud that people tend to track inside, and the indoor mats will pick up anything that the outdoor mats aren't able to catch. (It'll also give those wearing high heels and cleats a chance to step inside before taking their shoes off.)

The doormats that you buy for your exterior doors don't have to be anything fancy. They just need to be able to clean the bottoms of people's shoes.

For the inside, get a mat with a non-slip grip on the bottom.

Don’t Drag Furniture

If you have to move a heavy piece of furniture from one side of a room to the other, it can be tempting to simply push it across the floor...but don’t!

Dragging and pushing heavy items can scratch the wood, sometimes so deep that it’s nearly impossible to erase it without the help of a professional.

If you absolutely must drag an item due to its weight, make sure you have felt pads under the legs and feet of all furniture. You can also add furniture movers under the legs to prevent major damage and then remove them when the move is complete.

Refinish Them Occasionally

Some hardwood floors can last for more than 100 years when maintained properly. And while not all hardwood floors are the same durability-wise, in general, hardwood flooring is one of the most long-lasting flooring options available.

Throughout the course of its life, though, you'll need to refinish your flooring every so often. Unless you have extensive experience refinishing hardwood flooring, your best bet will be to call on hardwood flooring professionals to do it.

A professional will sand down your floors to remove the very top layer of wood, apply stain and refinish them to have them looking like new.

You shouldn't have to do this often, but you’ll get more life out of your flooring and keep it looking polished at all times.

Start Doing More Hardwood Floor Maintenance

As you can see, there are quite a few things that you'll need to do as part of your hardwood floor maintenance plan. But the good news is that most of these things shouldn't require much effort on your part.

As long as you maintain your hardwood floors, they'll prove to be a worthwhile investment for your home. They'll stand the test of time and outlive just about everything else that you have in your home right now.

Contact us today if you’re looking for superior flooring products or want to install hardwood flooring in your home.

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