Hardwood is one of the oldest flooring materials and is still considered one of the best. Hardwood floors are natural, beautiful, and durable, especially if you maintain them. With good maintenance, they will last longer, look better, and add value to your home.
Make daily dusting and sweeping, with a scratch-free cloth or broom, part of your daily maintenance routine. When you need to vacuum hardwood, be sure to use the soft brush attachment, never the rotating brush roll, or as it’s known in older vacuums, the beater bar. Then, as needed, mop with the wood floor cleaning product recommended for your floor’s type and finish.
Wood floors need a protective finish. Unfinished wood floors require finishing with a protective sealer immediately after installation. Factory-finished floors are sanded, sealed, and ready to use right out of the box. If you have solid hardwood, you may need to add a finishing coat every few years, or eventually sand and refinish decades down the road. If you have engineered hardwood, which is a veneer, sanding and refinishing may be an option one-time only, depending on the thickness of the veneer.
Tips for Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors
- Use only wood floor care products; never use vinyl or tile cleaning products.
- If you prefer a natural cleaner, like vinegar and water, do your research. Your floors must be well sealed, and the vinegar-to-water pH balance can’t be too acidic, and you must wipe the floors dry immediately.
- Most experts advise that you don’t use water to wet or steam mop wood floors.
Tips for Protecting Hardwood Floors
- Use felt or rubber protectors on the bottom of furniture legs and never drag furniture on wood flooring.
- Use area rugs in high traffic areas, in front of exterior doorways, as well as in front of the kitchen sink.
- Remove shoes at the door, especially high heels or cleats.
- Slow down fading by keeping direct sunlight off your floors. Use window coverings to redirect, diffuse, or block UV light. UV resistant finishes are also available.
- Keep dogs’ nails trimmed, or restrict from hardwood areas.
- Wipe up spills immediately; standing liquid can damage wood floors.
Tips for Scratches and Squeaks
- For deep or surface scratches, touch-up using a stain stick for wood that matches your floor's finish.
- For squeaky floors, if possible, it’s best to repair from underneath and may need to be done by a professional. There are products that include a combination of lubricant and powder, which you can try using on the surface between the planks, but effectiveness may be limited.
- Did you know that hardwood floors are among the many home improvements that will pay homeowners back over the long run?
- Wondering about other remodeling projects to add value to your home? Learn about the best remodeling investments you can make.
- On a budget? Try these inexpensive, DIY home improvement projects to give your home a fresh look.