Hardwood floors are generally a wonderful investment, whether you’re building a new home or considering a remodel. They add a warmth to the atmosphere of your home, and much of the investment will be retained in the value of the home long-term. But if you have hardwood floors, it’s important to take careful measures to protect them from things like grime, scratches, scuffs, dents and water damage if you want to maintain their aesthetic appeal and avoid expensive refinishing jobs down the road. Many homeowners think that general aging on hardwood floors adds to their character and charm, and if you take good care of your floors, you may never have to refinish at all.
Here are some of the simple ways that you can protect your investment and keep those shiny floors as gorgeous as the first day you set foot on them:
Fight Dirt and Grime
Nothing will dig into an even finish like the grit from the outdoors that’s stuck to the bottom of shoes. Make sure that you place a door mat at every entrance to your home to stop the grime in its tracks, and take care to ask all of your guests to remove their shoes at the door. If this request makes you uncomfortable, just keep it casual – instead of saying, “Would you mind taking your shoes off?” you can just indicate the right spot and say something like, “We usually just toss our shoes over here.” They’ll see your socked feet and get the picture. Make sure, at all costs, that high heels and soccer cleats are strictly banned! These types of shoes can scratch and dent your finish.
Keep Moisture at Bay
Many homeowners assume that this just means cleaning up spills and making sure the area by the kitchen sink is dry when the dishes are done, but keeping an eye on moisture requires just a little bit more attention. Fluctuations in humidity levels and temperature can cause warps and changes in your flooring as well. The bottom line? While you should definitely wipe up spills and any other standing liquid right away, you’ll also want to do whatever you can to keep the temperature and humidity levels in your home at a reasonable level.
It may go without saying, but never slide large, heavy pieces of furniture across your wooden floors. The best way to move furniture across your floor is to slide a clean blanket with a sheet of plywood on top under the furniture for scratch-free sliding.
In addition, you’ll want to put protectors on the bottoms or feet of your furniture too. There are several options, such as plastic protectors for your chair legs, tap-on pads for larger pieces that won’t be moved too often or peel-and-stick felt bottoms, which are available in different shapes and sizes or in sheets that can be custom-cut. Even if you choose plastic covers for your chair legs, make sure that they have felt bottoms. You should note that you’ll have to replace these felt pads every now and then – a small price to pay to keep your flooring free of scratches and scuffs. Just buy a bulk pack and keep some on hand.
Clean and Condition
You need to regularly clean your hardwood floor with a product that won’t strip your finish or leave any streaks. In addition, there are many different products that can be used to keep things shiny – if you choose a wax-based product, be sure to alternate with something natural like olive oil to give your floors a break from the wax. Finally, consider setting up a maintenance plan with a professional, or give your floors a light sanding and a fresh polyurethane coating every so often yourself to save the cost and hassle of refinishing down the road.
Hardwood floors can establish a foundation for the tone of your entire home. They’ll become a part of your memories and experiences, and if well taken care of, they’ll age with character and retain much of the value of your initial investment. Have some hardwood floor care hacks and tips of your own? Comment below and let us know what you do to take care of your own home’s flooring!
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com