Wood floors are very popular with homeowners but they need to be cleaned and treated carefully, i.e. using rubber glides under furniture legs. Wood floors that aren't well maintained can become an eyesore and unfortunately we take our floors for granted as we don't really look at them, so it's easy to forget to clean and protect them.
When wood floors aren't maintained properly, re-finishing the floors is necessary to remove the many small nicks, ground in dirt and more. One of my customers knew they were making this trade-off with 2 small boys. When it was time to get their home ready to sell, this punch list included re-finishing the beautiful hardwood floors on the first floor of their home.
Here are tips to protect and maintain hardwood floors. These steps will allow you to enjoy your home more and save money long term.
Lifestyle Choices to Protect Your Floors
- Sweep or vacuum wood floors regularly based on use, i.e. homes with children might need more frequent 2-3 times/wk) cleaning.
- Protect high traffic areas by placing mats at doorways, both in front of the door and inside to help prevent tracking dirt and sand across the floors.
- Create an area near the most frequently used door, for family members to leave footwear (sports shoes with ground in dirt, spikes, high heels, etc) that will damage wood floors. Read Parent Tips to Protect Wood Floors
- In the kitchen, use a mat under the sink to absorb water from wet dishes, hands, etc.
- Clean up food and other spills immediately using a dry or slightly damp cloth. Wipe dry to remove remaining water.
- Never wet mop a wood floor as standing water will dull the finish, damage the wood and potentially leave a discoloring residue.
- Put plastic or fabric gliders under furniture to prevent scratching the floors. Check them 1-2 times a year and replace broken/missing glides.
- When moving heavy furniture, put the legs onto a thick cloth or place legs inside a heavy sock or milk carton to make furniture slide easier and protect the floors.
Cleaning/Maintaining Your Wood Floors
- Always buy products and get recommendations from a flooring store as they have the expertise. Ideally this should be the store and/or installer that supplied the flooring as they are most knowledgeable about the product(s) in your home.
- Most wood floors today have urethane finishes. NEVER wax these.
- For wax floors, buff to restore shine. Avoid was buildup by applying wax to lightly used surfaces (under furniture, difficult to access corners, etc.) every other waxing.
- Don't mix floor care products, i.e. only use wood products on wood floors as the wrong product may require sand and refinishing to remove a floor that is too slippery or has a dull appearance. We saw the results in my handyman business with a customer who's husband had applied an interior polyurethane product to a mahogony front porch. It took us 2 days, on hands and knees with a palm sander to remove the polyurethane finish.