Keeping Hardwood Floors Looking Their Best
I am so glad that hardwood floors are still in style. There was a brief period in my younger days where everyone was installing wall-to-wall carpet. Nowadays, whenever someone buys a house, the first thing that they do is tear up the carpet and resurface existing hardwood floors, or install hardwood floor kits. I have always been a fan of real wood floors, and the older the better, but some of the new kit floors look great and don’t have the obviously repeated patterns that plagued the early laminate floors. If you have hardwood floors or even laminate hardwood floors, you need to follow a couple of simple steps to keep them looking beautiful with minimal effort on your part.
First and foremost, you must make sure that your hardwood floors are sealed. If they are not, any moisture, even just high humidity, will destroy them in no time. All modern flooring systems are pre-sealed, but if your floor is older, have it professionally surfaced and sealed. This is not a DIY task. The professionals have the real equipment and the skill to grind off just the absolutely right amount of the floor to make it perfect. Trust me on this, I have tried to help my brother resurface his floors, it was a disaster. We rented the right equipment, but just did not have the experience to keep from digging into his floors and having to replace some of the boards once the professionals got there. It was embarrassing and expensive. They had to match the wood, and then age it to not stand out. The pros also have the experience to get the sealer evenly spread across your floors so that the color looks constant and the floors dry quickly.
Once your floors are sealed, buy a large, soft-bristled broom. Every week, pull the broom out and sweep the entire surface. I find it easiest to sweep everything into my carpeted den and then I vacuum it up as I give the den a quick once-over. Sweeping is the best way to keep your floor from getting scratched.
Make sure that you have installed felt pads or other furniture pads on the legs of every piece of furniture. These will reduce the amount of scratches and reduce the amount of indentation into your wood floor that these pieces will make over time. It is also a great idea to use area rugs under any places where furniture will be moved, such as under a dining room table. Make sure that the rug is large enough to make sure that when your guests slide their chairs out that they are still on the rug.
A few times each month, you are going to need to really clean your floor. I have had good luck with the Swiffer WetJet product line, but the cost gets unbearable with the replacement pads and solution bottles. I have started using a homemade floor cleaner that is just a few drops of basic dish soap, a few drops of lemon juice, a splash of white vinegar and water. This solution works great and I can make it out of stuff that I already have lying around the house.