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Cleaning and Maintaining a Wooden Floor

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 3 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Wood Wooden Flooring Floor Flooring

Wood has gained in popularity as a floor covering because, apart from its good looks, it is possible to repair and maintain it so it lasts longer. And in fact it can look better with age as the patina settles in. This is not true of wood laminates, chips and marks that break the surface can only be covered up, and that's often not very successful.

Take Care With Wood

Having said that a real wooden floor will look better for longer if it is treated with a little care. Sweep and vacuum the floor regularly to remove dust and other small particles which can scratch the flooring when someone treads on them. Good mats at entrances and a strong feet wiping habit will reduce the chances of this happening too. Also, outlaw stilettos in the house.

Furniture Moving

Be careful when moving furniture or other heavy objects as well, try not to drag them but lift them up. Consider getting furniture pads to place under the feet of heavy bits of furniture. These can either be felt or hard plastic, the latter helps pieces of furniture to glide rather than drag.

If you do dent a wooden floor then sometimes it can be lifted by careful application of a warm iron. This is more effective on soft woods than hardwood but certainly worth a try before resorting to sanding down. Place an old damp (not wet) towel down and press on the affected area with an iron. Start on a low to medium heat and gradually increase it but check continually, as scorched wood is even harder to repair.

Water Can Be Destructive

The real enemy of wooden floors is water and other liquids though. At any sign off a spill get an absorbent cloth or sponge down as soon as possible. Newspaper is better than nothing in an emergency but try not to use it as it is likely to leave the newsprint dye behind on the floor, which itself will be tricky to remove.

Buff And Polish

Regular buffing and waxing will make wood flooring more impervious to liquids as well as giving the floor a deep lustre. If you bought the flooring yourself then follow the recommendations of the supplier or manufacturer. If you have no recommendations then it shouldn't really need to be done any more frequently than once a year, and could be left for a number of years. Waxing also prevents the wood from drying out completely, if this happens the grain rises up and forms ridges, meaning the floor will require sanding down to flatten it again.

To some extent it depends on the use of the rooms where you have wooden flooring. A high traffic area such as a kitchen would benefit from more frequent waxing to keep it better protected from spills, but a lounge with a large rug on the floor might be fine for a number of years.

Sanding Down

Eventually the little bits of damage will add up and you might want to consider a complete renovation job, sanding the floor back and re-finishing it. As we said at the beginning the fact that you can do this, instead of having to go out and buy new flooring, is one of the attractions of wood as a flooring material.

But that is, as they say, another story

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