Wood Floors – How to Look After Your Wood Floors and Prevent Damage
Real wood floors give a sense of timeless elegance and class to any home or office. Read the essential dos and don’ts of how to look after your wood floor, prevent damage and make it last for a lifetime.
WHY DO WOOD FLOORS CRACK?
Wood expands and contracts depending on the humidity and this causes a solid wood flooring to either shrink or over expand and crack. So try to keep the humidity in the house at 45 to 50 percent. Even a small change of 4 percent in the relative humidity can cause a ten-foot area to expand by as much as one inch which may cause cracks or buckling. An engineered hard wood floor has a three-layered flooring system designed to reduce contracting. You can reduce humidity by using a dehumidifier or humidifier and by controlling the temperature within your room with blinds, curtains or transparent window films.
MAKE SURE YOU PICK A SUITABLE HARDWOOD FLOOR IN THE FIRST PLACE
You should think twice before installing hardwood flooring in an area that might be exposed to excessive moisture or get wet frequently e.g. a bathroom or basement.
And if you are unable to maintain the humidity all year long e.g. in a summer cottage, then your wooden floor is at more risk of damage.
Plus, pick a professional, experienced floor installer to make sure the floor has been properly laid in the first place. A floor specialist will allow your wood to ‘acclimatize’ or settle before installation and will pick an appropriate finish and moisture barrier.
WIPE UP SPILLS IMMEDIATELY
Wipe up spills immediately with a dry mop, paper towel or cloth. If the stain is stubborn, you might have to use a damp cloth but let the floor dry as soon as possible.
DON’T USE A WET MOP OR EXCESSIVE WATER WHEN CLEANING
Use a dry mop, cloth or vacuum cleaner to clean your floor. You do not need to invest in any specialist floor cleaners and do not use detergents or wax-based cleaners.
PROTECT YOUR FLOOR FROM HARSH SUNLIGHT
Excessive sunlight may cause colors to fade or finishes to tarnish. Keep your curtains closed during the summer afternoons or consider window tinting or laying down rugs in appropriate places.
KEEP FREE FROM GRIT OR DIRT
Keep dirt, especially gritty soil or sand out of the house. Lay down a welcome mat outside the door and add a throw rug just inside to catch out any dirt.
If you have pets with sharp nails, think about laying rugs in areas where they tend to hang out. Try not to walk on the floor with sharp stiletto heels or spiky sports shoes.
STICK FABRIC GLIDES AND PROTECTORS ON YOUR FURNITURE
Put fabric glides (protective padding) on chairs, tables, ottomans, sofa and other furniture legs. Replace them once they are worn.