Wood floors are many things: beautiful, durable, strong. They’re also a long-term investment, both of money and time. It’s true; your hardwood floors require regular maintenance to make the finish last and keep scratches at bay. How often the finish lasts is up to you; a wood floor in a home with two adults can last longer because there is less traffic than a hardwood floor in a home with kids, adults and pets. So what can you do to get a long(er) life out of your hardwood floors? How can you protect your wood floors from excessive wear and tear?
Rugs by all the doors
An ounce of prevention goes a long way to keep your wood floors looking their best. Make sure you have rugs by all your exterior doors to keep the dirt, sand, water and other daily grit off your floors. That daily grit can scratch your floors or wear down the finish, making your job of keeping your wood floors (especially the finish) in peak shape.
Rugs have another way of protecting your wood floors: they protect against water on your floor from snow and rain. Water can cause your hardwood floors to warp, so wipe up water and spills immediately. Keep paper towel or a rag handy so you can get that puddle of water cleaned up immediately. If you have a dog, clean off the pup’s paws before they enter the house.
Chair & furniture protectors
Felt pads are one of the cheapest, and most important, ways to protect your wood floors. Make sure you have felt pads on the bottom of your chairs and furniture. Use caution (and soft padding underneath) when moving anything around to prevent scratches. These pads do wear down with time, so expect to have to replace them on the bottom of your furniture biannually, especially on items that get moved frequently (such as dining room chairs).
Wait before you put an area rug down
As eager as you may be to put down that designer area rug, wait. Don’t put that new rug over your new or refinished hardwood floors immediately; the finish on your floors need time to cure. Putting an area rug down too soon can damage the finish. So how soon is too soon to put down an area rug? Contact one of our flooring experts at Y’s Way because the answer depends on how long since your wood floor was installed or refinished.
Sweep your floors
The gravel and sharp small objects that you track in on your shoes are your wood floor’s enemy. Sweep, dust mop or vacuum (most flooring manufacturers recommend using the wand attachment or a gentle vacuum) to clean up the small particles that can scratch and damage your floor.
Know how to clean your hardwood
Wood floor cleaning is not a time to experiment. Some cleaners—even with common household ingredients—can damage your wood floor finish or the flooring itself. You’ve invested too much into your wood flooring to harm it on a whim. A few minutes of research can save you a lot of time, money and heart ache. If you don’t what kind of wood floor cleaner to use, ask the experts at Y’s Way via email, phone or through their Facebook page.
Be VERY cautious when using a steam cleaner on your wood floors, or don’t use one at all. You can void the warranty on your floor; we checked three of the most common wood flooring manufacturers and found that Armstrong, Mohawk and Shaw do not recommend that their customers use a steam cleaner of their wood products. Before purchasing a steam cleaner for cleaning your wood flooring, consult your manual to see if your warranty will be void if you use a steam cleaner.