We recently wrote about the huge benefits of wooden flooring and how, if looked after and well maintained, a properly laid wooden floor can be enjoyed for a considerable length of time. But just how exactly do you maintain a wooden your timber floor? Here at Freshwoods this is probably one of the most common questions we get asked by our customers, and so it would be rude of us not to share this knowledge with you all.
Now you’ve got that lovely new (or recently refurbished) wooden floor, you’ll be keen to keep it looking tip top and to ensure that your investment stands the test of time for years to come. Fortunately, whether you have a solid wood, engineered, parquet or reclaimed floor, the methods are more or less the same. The best and most important method of keeping your wooden floor, is basic cleaning routines – not only will it increase the longevity of them, it’ll also keep them looking their best.
We’ll go over some key steps for maintaining your wood floors, including;
- Cleaning up spills
- Sweeping up dust and dirt
- Vacuuming regularly
- Using the appropriate wood floor cleaner
- Footwear dos and donts’
- Tips and tricks for furniture
- Exposure to the elements
- Refinishing steps
Cleaning spills ASAP and regulating moisture
This is quite an important one! Due the properties of wooden flooring, if spills are left unattended, any liquids can seep into the material and cause swelling and distortion. Moisture from spills is one thing, but did you know that too much moisture from the air can cause swelling and cupping too? Ideally homes should try to maintain a stable humidity, which can usually be achieved by regulating the temperature between 15 – 25c.
When it comes to spills, these can easily be tackled with a clean and dry/damp cloth as soon as possible. Easy peasy.
Sweeping up dust and dirt regularly
We know, there’s not many people out there who enjoy sweeping (if there are, get in touch, we need to talk!), but it’s one of the best ways to keep your wood floor in tiptop condition. Dirt and dust if left to build up, can cause some quite nasty surface scratches over time. A quick once over using a soft bristle brush or rubber bristle broom is perfect for wood floors.
An easy way to reduce the amount of dust and dirt that empties your home is to get those shoes off! You’d be amazed at how much dirt we bring in from outside on the soles of our shoes. You’ll just have to stop inviting people round with smelly feet!
We’d always suggest a nice soft brush to sweep up any mess, but sometimes you just need something a little more substantial. A vacuum with a solid flooring attachment works wonders, and is especially effective at picking up all those little bits that fall between the gaps and hard to reach areas.
It is however important you use the correct attachment on your vacuum. Ideally you should use one that does not have a roller brush, as these tend to flick dust and debris around rather than collect it. Most vacuums should come with a solid floor attachment, and these tend to be flat with soft padded areas to protect the floor.
We’d recommend a good vacuum at least once a week.
Wood cleaning products
There is an almost dizzying array of floor cleaners available on the market, and when there are so many different wood floor finishes available, there is no one product that does it all. Different floor finishes require different products, which is why it is always best to follow the manufacturers guidance.
Cleaning your floor should be carried out at least one a month.
One way of making the cleaning process a little easier, is by using a flat-headed micro fibre mop with a spray reservoir of cleaning solution. These provide a gentle cleaning surface that will avoid scratches, but also provide an absorbent pad to collect any moisture on the floor.
Most importantly when cleaning your wooden floor, NEVER USE A STEAM MOP. Please, just don’t. It may seem like a good idea, but the steam can penetrate the wood, causing permanent damage over time. Remember, moisture is bad – see the first step!
Sadly some scratches on wooden floors are inevitable despite best efforts, but you can easily stop some of the worst by adding inexpensive furniture pads/protectors to the feet of any heavy items. You’ve probably even had some free with that IKEA flatpack unit you bought a while back, or you’ve got some in your toolbox.
Popping some of these onto the feet of any chairs, tables and sofas, is a really easy way to stop a lot of the most common scratches that we see.
Sunlight and the elements
In an ideal world, wood flooring should be kept out of direct sunlight as it can cause fading and changes in colouring. We’ll assume that you don’t want to live in the dark, so that is of course almost totally impossible to control. You can however minimise the amount of direct light with some carefully placed blinds and curtains. It all helps.
Even if you religiously follow all of the guidance and look after your wood floor as best you can, some wear and tear will always happen. But don’t worry, this is the perfect time to refresh your wooden floor. This is usually just a simple refinish by applying another coat of finish.
For instances where the wear and tear has become too great, your wood floor may require a full sanding and refinishing. This is of course one of our key strengths and so we’d always recommend you speak to a flooring professional before you look at having this work carried out.
We hope you’ve found these simple guides useful, and the basic takeaway message is to just look after your floor. Treat it with the love and respect it deserves and it will reward you by looking fabulous for years and years.
If you’ve got any questions about your wood floor, either existing or thinking about new – get in touch and we’d love to have a chat with you.