There’s no doubt that wood is the preferred flooring for most home owners today. Hardwood truly adds a wow factor to any style of home. But it is an investment that requires regular maintenance to hold up its aesthetic value and function. Dirt, stains, and damage build up over time, affecting the appearance of your floors. With proper care, you can retain a beautiful finish for decades.

1. Wipe Up Spills Immediately

Use a dry or damp cloth to mop up spills right away. Never use steam mops. Wood swells and shrinks, depending on the amount of moisture present.

2. Sweep Daily and Vacuum Weekly

Dirt and dust accumulate daily, working their way into the grain of wood and between planks. Sweeping daily and vacuuming weekly helps eliminate dirt and dust that will ultimately dull your floors. Crumbs and debris can also cause scratches.

3. Mop with a Gentle Floor Cleaner Monthly

Your hardwood floors require a cleaner that is made specifically for wood. It’s also worth investing in a special mop that is made for wood floors to ensure a soft touch.

4. Use Furniture Pads

The legs of tables, sofas, and chairs can create noticeable scratches in your hardwood floors. Use felt furniture pads on the bottoms of furniture to act as a buffer. Replace when pads become worn or flattened.

5. Regulate Temperature and Humidity

Keep a consistent temperature and humidity in your home. Changes in both can allow wood to shift and cause cracking, gapping, and cupping. Optimal temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 to 50 percent humidity.

6. Refinish Every 3 to 5 Years

Dull floors will look brand new when you have them professionally sanded and recoated. Depending on how much wear and tear your floors face, refinishing every 3 to 5 years is recommended.

Problem Signs in Your Wood Floors

Check your floors regularly for indications of stress. Moisture is usually the cause of any type of warping. A water leak or change in humidity could be the culprit. Crowning is when the middle of a board is higher than the ends. Consider adding a water-resistant coating to your floor. Minor cracks or scratches can be repaired with a wood filler that matches the color of your floor. Be sure to follow filler instructions carefully. Small gaps between boards could be a part of normal temperature changes, but larger gaps might mean that floors were not installed properly. Contact a flooring professional in such instances to assess and repair.

Real Estate Term of the Week

Cupping: A wood floor’s natural reaction to moisture. When water seeps into a plank of wood flooring, the side of the board closest to the moisture will expand. Cupping occurs when the edges of the board are higher than the center of the board, creating a concave shape.

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