Hardwood floors are timeless. Beautiful. Durable. An investment. The challenge can be to keep your investment in the same beautiful shape as the day of installation, especially when your floors are in high traffic areas and are continuously being tested by the ups and downs of our unpredictable Midwestern weather. We’ve put together steps that’ll help you face the challenge head-on so your hardwood floors can look as great as the day we installed them.
Put felt pads and protectors on all your chairs and furniture.
To prevent scratches on your new wood floors, purchase felt pads for your couches, chairs, tables, entertainment cabinets, and any other furniture. These pads do wear down over time so make sure you replace the pads as needed (usually once or twice a year).
Put rugs down by all the doors.
Keep the dirt, sand, gravel, and water off your floors to protect the finish, prevent warping and water damage, and keep scratches at bay. Place rugs by all your doors with protectors under the rugs to protect your floors.
Clean up puddles ASAP.
Hardwood floors and towels go hand in hand. Standing water on hardwood floors can warp the floors, leave water stains, or damage floor boards. Keep a paper towel and towels close at hand so you can clean up any spills or water tracked in (especially during winter or after a dip in the pool!). If you have a dog, train your pup to stop at the door so you can wipe off their paws.
Wait to put down area rugs.
Rushing to put down an area rug can damage the finish. Be patient and wait to put down an area rug until after the finish on your floor has had time to cure. Instead, ask your installer (or local experts) for a time frame; the answer is different for every floor.
Sweep on a regular basis.
Daily grit is the enemy of hardwood floors. Sweep your floors on a regular basis, and start every deep clean with a thorough sweep and vacuum (or vacuum cleaner attachment). When you purchase a vacuum cleaner for the job, make sure it is not abrasive when it cleans which could damage the finish on your hardwood floors.
Deep clean your hardwoods periodically.
A periodic deep clean is essential to keep your floors in the same condition as the day they were installed. Use an approved hardwood cleaner so the floor is not damaged (even vinegar and water can harm the finish). Steam cleaners can also damage the floors and void the warranty. Your periodic deep clean is not the time for experimenting; contact the experts if you need deep cleaning advice (or use our in-depth post on hardwood cleaning) or to schedule a deep clean for your wood floors.
As you mop, don’t leave puddles. Water is the enemy of hardwood floors. Wring out as much water as possible, and use fans to make sure the floor is completely dry when you are done.
Keep an eye on your home’s humidity.
There is some expansion and contracting of hardwood floors that happens with humidity so it is normal to have some small gaps in the floor when humidity is low, such as during winter. For the same reason, be selective about what rooms you install hardwood floors in. Rooms with high humidity, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms, are not ideal for hardwood floors. If you are concerned about humidity, buy a humidistat for your home. The ideal humidity for hardwood floors is between 35% and 55%.
Ask before you tackle those marks or stains.
Before you tackle those scuff marks and stains, ask your local flooring experts for tips on removing marks and stains so you can avoid scratching or damaging your wood floor (or schedule a deep clean and ask them to take care of the mark or stain as part of the deep clean). A little bit of research now can benefit you in the long run, especially when your hardwood floor keeps looking beautiful.