Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How To Clean A Hardwood Floor

The character and elegance of a hardwood floor makes it a favorite among homeowners. And if you’ve come here you’re probably more than just mildly interested in hardwood.

The point of this section is that, if you’re seriously considering hardwood floor covering as a solution for the way you live, the way you treat that floor is important.

Wood is a natural, beautiful and timeless design and decorating element.

Caring, consistent and correct maintenance will insure it remains that way.
Frankly, we believe you wouldn’t have it any other way.

So check out the hardwood floor care tips below and be prepared to have your family and friends “check out” your new hardwood floor with praise. For years to come.

First off, think walk off.

Place walk off mats or area rugs 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 or rugs made especially for hardwood floors and remember to shake them out regularly.

cleaning hardwood floors

clean wood floors

In addition to entryways, remember to place mats in any areas where water may be splashed, such as near a kitchen sink.

These tools rule.

Buy a good quality broom and sweep your new floor regularly to pick up grains of dirt, dust 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 of your hardwood floor.

Bona fide cleaning suggestions.

Cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor.

For “Finish in Place” hardwood floors, we recommend using an 8”x14” terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards an easy task.

Spray a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by your retailer to safely remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your floor.

Manufacturers of “Pre-finished” hardwood floors recommend their own specific products designed for their floors routine maintenance. Be sure to check with your retailer as well about these cleaners.

Hardwood do’s and don’ts.

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 also affect the ability to recoat your floor later.

Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or 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.

Being a natural product, hardwood will expand and contract due to moisture level changes. Minimize water exposure to hardwood floors and clean up spills as soon as they happen.

hardwood floor refinishing

Beyond surface cleaning: deeper methods.

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. Then, fresh coats of urethane are applied. Screening and recoating will rejuvenate and prolong the life of your hardwood 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 sure to hire an experienced professional when having any work done on your hardwood floor.

hardwood floor repair

Finally, protect against Father Time, Mother Nature and active families.

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 to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

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 heels can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by your warranty. Love your pet but regularly trim their nails or claws to avoid scratches on the hardwood floor. The point here is to be cautious of sharp objects that may scratch or damage the floor. Tread carefully!

The regular cleaning and periodic professional maintenance of your hardwood flooring will insure a home and lifestyle of beauty and comfort for years to come

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