The sleek, sophisticated and versatile designs of hardwood flooring are what draw so many homeowners to hardwood flooring investment. Quality hardwood floors can last for many years with the density and durability to support your family’s lifestyle and space needs.
But hardwood floors also require proper maintenance and protection to reach the full potential of their lifespans. Even the densest of hardwoods can show signs of wear over time, especially if not properly cared for. Different types of finish might require different levels and approaches to care, and different areas of the home may mean more or less maintenance is required.
We put together a list of products and tips that can help you decide the level and type of care your hardwood flooring needs. From surface dust to damaged floorboards, here’s what care your floor needs next.
For High Gloss Finishes
High gloss finishes sometimes require more frequent attention because they can be easy to scuff and show dust accumulation more visibly than other types of finish. Traces of dirt can be wiped up in between regular cleanings with a soft cloth or paper towel, or wooden floor cleaning wipes if available.
Cleaning products with antimicrobial properties are great for high gloss floors, which are usually the showcase of the room and a surface our loved ones are often in contact with.
Attention to perimeters of high-gloss floors is important, as dust tends to accumulate there. A quick swipe with a clean cloth can do the trick for corners where mops may not reach well.
For high-gloss floors that receive a lot of foot traffic, be sure to pay attention to dirt and dust build up as it happens. Dirt and dust accumulation can quickly dull floors and potentially cause deeper scratches.
For High Traffic Areas
Accumulation of dirt in high-traffic areas can spell dullness for your beautiful floor in no time. Some high traffic areas might require the protection of a flooring strip or area rug if they're especially prone to heavy dirt, rocks, or other abrasive materials.
Paying special attention to spills and keeping the high-traffic floor dry is important for high-traffic areas. Water damage can pave the way for more serious damages from high-traffic particles and substances. Sweep your high-traffic areas at least every other day, or as often as outdoor materials begin to accumulate. Keep your floor clean by using a dust mop to lightly clean the entire floor in between regular sweeping. Mop as necessary, at least every two weeks, using appropriate cleaning products
For Dull Floors Without Scratches or Scrapes
A buildup of dirt can create dull wood floors over a short period of time, especially if floors are not swept and mopped regularly. Regular care with a cleaning solution of products approved for hardwood surfaces and hot water will help keep your floor looking new. The application process should cover the entire floor, mopping a second time if the floor still appears dirty or dull.
For dullness that persists beyond a thorough mop with hardwood-safe cleaning products, renting a floor polisher and applying a little elbow grease and firm pressure might do the trick. Polishing and buffing can make your solid hardwood floor look like it's just had a fresh coat of wood stain and a new wet finish. In between cleaning, use a soft dust mop to pick up dust and light dirt that might accumulate.
For Engineered Wood
Engineered wood is a lot like traditional solid hardwood flooring, and surface finish will largely determine what type of care it needs. A glossy coat of finish means, just like solid hardwood with high-gloss, dust accumulation will be more obvious and softer materials and care are required.
For standard finishes and hardwood types, engineered wood can be maintained with the same methods you would use for hardwood flooring. This includes regular sweeping, mopping with a standard or sponge mop, and the use of wood-safe cleaning solutions. Always be sure to check product labels every time you try a new product, in order to ensure compatibility. Products that are too abrasive will dull your hardwood or engineered wood floor.
Similarly, a floor polisher, dust mop, and cleaning wipes can be used on floor surfaces> Engineered wood should also be kept dry and spills should be immediately addressed in order to protect the floor's longevity.
For Deeper Scratches, Chips, or Gouges
The type of damage your floor sustains will determine whether a refinish is required. Very deep scratches, damage to floorboards, water stains, and chips will likely require a refinish. If you want to tackle this project yourself, check out our blog post for DIY refinishing, grab your dust mask, roll up your sleeves and prepare for a couple days of work.
After sanding your floor and assessing any deep damage, some of your floor boards might need to be replaced. Once replaced, you can reapply the original stain or choose a new stain color to tie the room together. Give the stain the right amount of drying time, then use a paint brush or paint roller to apply a layer of polyurethane, depending on the square footage of the floor.
Choose your finish, wait again for proper drying time, and enjoy your restored floor.
A Note on Bleach
Though there are four different bleach types, we generally do not recommend the application of bleach, bleach products, and harsh chemicals for maintaining hardwood. Check all chemical cleaning products for compatibility and never bleach wooden floors without first consulting the product label.
Still have questions about bleaching hardwood? Read more of our recent blog post about bleach and wood flooring here.