They're timeless, durable and incredibly popular. But if you don't maintenance your new wood floors, they'll become a worn eyesore. Scratched. Discolored. Rough. The best way to protect wood floors is to be proactive in your care of the surface.
Floor Cleaning Tips
Last fall we had the maple floors in our kitchen sanded and sealed. As the worker finished, I asked about the best way to keep my new floor looking beautiful.
His reply? Keep it simple.
Daily sweeping and routine mopping keeps dirt from building up. Just think, each time you walk across the floor, you grind small particles into the sealant, causing tiny scratches.
I also asked what type of cleansers work best and was pleased to know that my usual natural approach is the best option: a 2:1 mixture of water and white vinegar. The mild acid sanitizes the floor and lifts dirt without releasing any toxic fumes into the air. As a bonus, the familiar tart odor dissipates as soon as the floor dries.
To keep dirt from sticking to the surface long-term, avoid wood floor waxes. They're slightly tacky, making it more difficult to remove dirt over time, which leaves floors with a dull sheen and discoloration as the dirt collects.
Floor Protection Hacks
To further preserve your new wood floors, take a peek at what's sitting on them. Legs of tables and chairs should be fitted with furniture slides or pads. Each time you move a chair in and out from a table, it may be leaving small grooves in the wood, wearing away the sealant and aging the surface faster than usual.
It's also a good idea to place protection under heavy items, like stoves, couches, hutches and refrigerators, for the few times they need to be moved. These heavy objects can leave deep scratches that are not repairable without sanding and refinishing.
Use Floor Coverings
Finally, protect the main walkways in the rooms with wood floors. Area rugs and hall runners are easy to vacuum and add color to the space. Plus, they can be swapped out each season to freshen the look of the room.
Rugs reduce daily scuff marks left behind from sneakers and boots. During rainy and snowy weather, rugs absorb moisture that causes wood floors to swell and bow.
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