How to care for your floor

The beauty of real hardwood is unmatchable. If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood throughout your home, or if you’re installing hardwood, taking care of the floor properly will ensure years of durable warmth and beauty. These top 10 tips for wood floors are your insurance policy against premature aging or damage.

1. Keep the floor clean.

The most important aspect to maintaining hardwood flooring is keeping it clean. Sand, dirt, debris and water will harm the finish of your floor and scratch and scar the wood below. Regular sweeping, vacuuming and cleaning will limit the amount of abrasive material coating your floors.

2. Buy throw rugs for high traffic areas.

If you’ve ever had wall-to-wall carpeting, you are familiar with the flattened and crushed wear patterns that can develop over time. Wood floors also suffer from foot traffic. A few throw rugs in front of doors, stairs and any high traffic area will not only add visual interest, they also will save your wood floors unnecessary wear and tear.

3. Minimize water exposure.

Keeping wood dry is crucial to keeping it longer. Water can weaken the strength and durability of wood. Once the water seeps into the wood, it becomes absorbed and can also cause stains that are unsightly and impossible to remove without refinishing.

4. Use floor protectors on furniture.

Dragging chairs and tables across the floor is a quick way to ruin its finish and will dig ruts and scratches into the wood itself. Felt protectors can be purchased in many hardware and grocery stores. They install quickly and protect the wood from being scratched. Remember to replace them as they wear out.

5. Follow manufacturers' guidelines.

There are different techniques for caring for hardwood depending upon the type of finish and product used to seal your hardwood floors. All sealant manufacturers will have a set of guidelines they recommend, which, if not followed, can void any applicable warranties.

6. Avoid sun damage.

Your floors can become sun damaged just like your skin. Ultraviolet rays will discolor wood flooring finish. Simply using window coverings like shades or sheers will filter much of the sun's damaging rays.

7. Maintain home humidity levels.

According to Lumber Liquidators, keeping the humidity levels in the home at a constant will prevent the dramatic expansion and contraction that occurs with the changes of the seasons. A level of 30 percent to 50 percent is recommended.

8. Change it up.

Moving throw rugs and furniture around will allow for a more even wear pattern and prevent UV light from focusing on one particular area more than another.

9. Pay attention to feet.

Many people with hardwood floors request you remove your shoes in their home. While this may be an annoyance for visitors, the intention is sound. Pets with long nails and high-heeled shoes can be very damaging to wood.

10. Avoid harsh cleaners.

Never use steel wool and abrasive pads to clean your wood floors. Also steer clear of ammonia-based cleansers or abrasive cleansers. Use the mildest cleaner possible to get the job done.
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