Start with Prevention
Keeping your hardwood floor looking great takes a minimum amount of effort. Just follow some basic, common sense guidelines and you could avoid any major renovation or restoration such as recoating or refinishing, or at the very least lengthen the interval between such projects. And if despite your best efforts, your floor does get damaged, keep in mind that one of the benefits of wood flooring is that as a natural flooring material, it can usually be repaired, refinished, and restored to like new condition.
Rugs and Mats
Doormats at all entrances will help prevent dirt and grit and other substances such as oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer from being tracked onto your floor. Keep doormats and rugs clean, and avoid rubber- or foam-backed plastic mats that can discolor the flooring.
You can avoid or minimize scratching or damage from furniture by placing felt furniture pads or other protective pads such as rubber non-marking casters on chair and table legs, or by using wide-load-bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize indentations and scratches from heavier furniture or possibly appliances.
Check Your Shoes
All athletes, stop outside and remove your spikes or cleats. One walk across a wood floor with shoes like that and damage is a certainty. But the heels of your regular shoes are also a potential danger if not in good repair—especially high heels. Heels missing their caps or worn through to the point of exposing metal or other abrasive surfaces can cause scratches and dents on any floor's surface.
Pedicure Your Pets
Keep your pet's nails trimmed to keep them from scratching your flooring.
Keep Water Off the Wood
Water can cause damage to the wood's structure and to the finish. Don't pour water on your floor and always wipe up water or other liquids immediately.
Move Area Rugs and Furniture Regularly
Exposure to sunlight can cause the color of your floor and finish to change over time, taking on an age-worn patina. This effect can be very beautiful, but you want it to be consistent. Blinds, shades, and curtains or drapes can protect against sun exposure, but no one wants to live in darkness, so rearrange area rugs and furniture regularly to allow the flooring to age evenly
Maintaining a relative humidity level between 45 and 65% in your home throughout the year will minimize the natural expansion and contraction of wood.
- During heating season, the air inside is dry and the wood will contract /shrink. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.Use of a humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels.
- When it’s hot outside, the air is typically humid. An air conditioner or dehumidifier can lower humidity during the summer months to prevent swelling and expansion.
Regular Care Tips
- Sweep, dust, or vacuum the floor regularly to remove dirt or grit that can scratch or dull the floor finish.If you vacuum, use the hard floor attachment – a beater bar or rotating brush can cause more damage that it prevents.
- Occasionally wipe the floor with a damp mop or cloth.
- Use a damp cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. For tough spots, such as oil, paint, markers, lipstick, ink, tar, or cigarette marks, use acetone/nail polish remover on a clean white cloth, then wipe with a damp cloth.
- For sticky spots such as candle wax or chewing gum, chill the spot with ice and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper, such as a credit card. Wipe clean with a damp cloth
- Avoid oil based, wax, polish, or strong ammoniated or abrasive cleaners.
- Never use steel wool or scouring powder.
- Do not wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, or any other liquid cleaning material. Swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation are likely results.
- Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your floor.
- Don't use any type of buffing machine on wood floors.