Maintaining your timber flooring requires a number of steps. The important thing you need to bear in mind when maintaining your flooring is to always start by checking it for damage. The slightest damage in your timber flooring i.e. a crack, chip or hole can allow moisture to seep in causing it to bloat and eventually rot if left unattended.
Vacuum the floor every week
Most people make it a habit of vacuum their floors almost every week so this point does not have to be repeated. However, with wooden floors you need to be especially useful because fine grit in the mud and dust that stick to your floor will work like sand paper, wearing down the finish. A thorough vacuum procedure will ensure that your floor is protected both in terms of appearance and overall durability. The best way to vacuum your floor is to use a brush or a good felt surface which you run along the surface of your floor. The attached rotating brushes or a beater bar is not a good idea because it can scratch the finish. You should disengage the beater bar. That said if you feel that you don’t want to vacuum then just drop a mop or a new microfiber sweeper which do a good job too.
Avoid furniture polish and hairspray
Both hairspray and furniture polish should be used carefully near wooden floors because they can easily cloud your floor’s finish. If you do spill any one of these on your timber flooring make sure to wipe it clean with a damp cloth immediately. If you are looking for a more thorough cleanup then use a non-ammonia window cleaner.
Keep the rain out
Water is your timber flooring’s worse enemy, it does not just ruin the finish of your floor but it can also easily seep deep into the wood and cause a huge ugly stain. When you’re expecting rain make sure to close the window, put a few pots and pans under any leaks and wipe any water that does make it to your floor.
You should remove any residue using a non-wax based floor cleaner
These cleaners can easily be stored in the hall closet or any other convenient location so that it can easily be fetched to fix small problems prior to them becoming any worse. Spills need to be wiped and dirt should be cleaned immediately. Always work to remove residue because as mentioned above dirt will damage your floor’s finish. However, some of the scratches can be removed using a non-wax based cleaner.
The rules of using restorers and waxes
A wax finish can easily be rejuvenated with more wax. However you should never use wax on a surface finish like polyurethane, or even shellac varnish. This is bad because it will make the floor very slippery and it can also interfere with other finishes later on. If your floor has a polyurethane finish then use polish that is made for this type of finish. If your timber floor has some other finish then a general purpose floor restorer should be used. But make sure to test the restorer on a small sport on the floor to ensure it does not cause any peeling.
You should use a long “walk off” doormat
There are some high traffic areas which if left unchecked will cause uneven wear and tear to your floor. This in turn will make it difficult to give your floor an even finish. Use extra-long doormats and rugs in areas that receive lots of foot traffic. A 4 X 6 foot long walk off works best. The longer your mat is leading from the door the more it will absorb the dirt and dust that comes in with peoples’ shoes. So, they don’t have to spend time wiping them. It also helps reduce the work and time it takes to keep your timber flooring clean.
Timber floors are the most beautiful yet expensive to install. However,they can end up lasting you decades provided that you take good care of it. You need to constantly check the floor for small defects and get them fixed because these can often lead to bigger and more expensive to fix issues.
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Mark is an interior designer and builder with over two decades of experience in the residential and commercial building business. Today, he runs one of the most popular online stores selling all types of high end timber flooring.