Maintaining and Changing the Look of Wood Floors

wood floor photo

Photo: Bona

How should I maintain my wood floors?

Routine maintenance for wood flooring is really very easy. Simply sweep, dust mop or vacuum with the beater bar turned off to remove dirt and grit from between the floor boards. Wet mops and steam mops should be avoided because excessive water and steam can dull the finish or even damage the wood. When spills occur, clean the area immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth.

If the floor begins to look a little dull, using a wood flooring cleaner recommended by the installer or manufacturer will help renew luster. Avoid mass-market rejuvenators, polishes or restorers. If you are not sure which cleaner to use, visit a reputable flooring store like MODA Floors & Interiors for a recommendation.

Will I be able to change the look of my wood floors?

One of the advantages of wood floors is that they can be refinished, which makes them a great long-term value. A wood flooring professional will clean the floors to remove all contaminants and then lightly abrade the floor and apply a new coat of finish. If scratches are deep in the wood, or if there are large dents or damaged boards, trained refinishers will be able to repair the damage without affecting the rest of the floor.

The numbers of times a floor can be refinished will depend on the floor itself, the degree of repair needed and the skill of the refinisher. A professional refinisher will remove very little of the wood to make repair – generally 1/32” or less – while those without proper training or equipment might remove much more wood than that, which generally reduces the life of the floor.

Source: National Wood Flooring Association

Maintenance Tips for Hardwood Floors

When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost. Here are some maintenance tips to help you keep your floors looking great.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened cloth.
  • Use breathable throw rugs at doorways to help prevent debris from being tracked in and scratching the floor.
  • Sweep with a soft bristle broom or dry microfiber mop. A wet mop and steam mop are not recommended because water and steam can damage the finish and the wood.
  • Follow a regular cleaning schedule to ensure a better performance of the floor. Sweep or dust mop as needed, vacuum weekly using the bare floor setting and clean with the appropriate wood floor cleaner monthly.
  • Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to minimize gaps between the floor boards.
  • Ask a wood flooring professional for a recommended maintenance schedule. Schedules vary depending on use, finish wear and tear and lifestyle.
  • Ask a professional if your wood floor could use a new coat of finish. Most scratches in wood flooring will occur in the finish, not the wood itself. A professional may be able to lightly abrade the finish and apply a new coat to restore the floor.
  • Consider new finish options to give an updated look and style. There are wood floors in excess of 300 years old that are still in service today, but have gone through numerous style changes.