Despite the fact that hardwoods are becoming a rare and expensive commodity in home construction, there’s no denying the appeal they hold for homeowners seeking a rich and luxurious interior. The warmth and patina attributed to hardwood flooring simply cannot be matched by laminates, although some modern options are quite convincing. And with proper care, the planks that populate your home can last a lifetime or longer. Just look at the many options for reclaimed hardwood flooring these days, most of which have survived homes that were torn down or fell apart around them.
Because hardwood flooring is rather pricy and you’re probably not keen to replace it (due to environmental concerns, if nothing else), it’s in your best interest to take the steps necessary to protect and maintain the natural flooring surfaces in your home. Here are just a few methods of ensuring that your beautiful, hardwood floors stay perfect for decades to come.
The first thing you need to protect your hardwood floors from is indentations, scratches, and other damage that can be caused by regular wear and tear. The best way to do this is by padding the feet of your furniture. You can opt for felted pads or plastic sliders, but this is the best way to stop the metal, hard plastic, or even wood that supports your large furniture from making a mess of your hardwood flooring, whether you’re moving it from place to place or it’s simply standing still. And it’s probably a good idea to adopt a “no shoes in the house” policy. This will keep rubber and hard-soled footwear alike from scratching or scuffing your flooring.
Another thing you want to do is keep an eye out for moisture, which can warp and destroy your hardwood planks. Obviously, it’s best to clean any spills immediately and try to keep people and animals from tracking in wetness from outdoors. But the main thing you want to watch out for is the blistering, buckling, and bulging of boards that can signal a leak or serious humidity issues. And if boards appear to be separating, you could have a moisture problem of a different type – a home interior that is too dry. Either problem can affect your hardwoods, so it’s best to regulate the temperature and humidity in your home, keeping the levels relatively constant if at all possible.
Aside from major mishaps that can negatively impact your wooden flooring, you need to deal with daily use, and this means cleaning, waxing, and buffing your floor regularly with products designed to protect it from harm. This could mean using wood soaps and soft sponges or cloths, just for starters. The goal is to protect the finish rather than stripping it away with harsh chemicals or causing a buildup with products that aren’t designed for use on wood. And of course, you will eventually have to condition and reseal your floor. Most hardwood flooring options can benefit from monthly conditioning and annual sealing, and doing so can drastically improve the longevity of your flooring surface.