Rules Of Caring For Your Wood Floor
You want your wood floor to last for long, and look elegant all through. After all, it was expensive to install, and you should be able to get the most value from it. The beauty and durability of the floor will depend on how it is taken care of. Here are some of the measures that should be observed to protect your floor:
- Sweep the surface regularly
Since dirt and grit will inevitably wind up on the floor, sweeping often will reduce the risk of damage to the wood. When the abrasive particles are ground against the wood surface, they act like tiny bits of sandpaper, wearing down the finish. However, sweeping often will decrease the effect that they have.
It’s recommended that you invest in protective items for the floor. Take mats for instance. When positioned at the doorway, the people coming into the house will be able to wipe off the gunk that is at the bottom of their shoes, reducing the amount of material that gets tracked into the household. Felt floor protectors for the furniture also come in handy, especially for the items that get moved often, like dining chairs and barstools. These will help in preventing scratches from being formed on the floor.
- Protect the floor from sunlight
Solar radiation can bleach out wood floors especially with prolonged exposure. You’ll notice that the floor sections close to the windows will have a different look from that in the middle of the room. Applying finish coats helps in protecting the floor from the effects of radiation. In addition, having light drapes on the windows will reduce the impact of sunlight.
Given that wood floors will absorb the excess moisture from their environment, wet mopping will mean that there will be a sudden increase in the moisture content of the wood – which is not good for your installation. When cleaning the floors, the mop should only be damp.
In addition, avoid leaving damp towels or rugs on the floor. For instance, after cleaning up a drink spill on the area rug, first take it outside and allow it to dry. When such items are left with moisture in the material while lying on the wood, it increases chances of damaging the floor.
Cleaning the floor with hot water will make it penetrate through the wood tissues much faster, increasing the risk of water damage. In addition, hot water dulls the lustre of the finish coats that have been applied on the floor, taking away their appeal.
You can’t just slosh any detergent on the wood floor and begin scrubbing away. Some of the day-to-day cleaning products in the house have a very high pH. This would corrode the finish coats that were applied, weakening the floor’s protection, and they can also discolour the wood itself. For instance, while vinegar and ammonia are popular for different house cleaning tasks, they will be too abrasive for the wood floor, tarnishing the fish and damaging the wood.
Instead, go for products that have been specially developed for working on wood floors. These come with chemical formulations that are gentle on the wood, but tough on the dirt and grime. That way, you get to carry out the routine cleaning without putting the installation at risk.
When the wood floor gets inevitably worn out, you can get a fresh start by having it sanded. Here, those old coats are ground off the surface, which exposes the bare wood, ready for the new treatments that are to be applied. In principle, it looks simple: running a sander over the floor. However, there are different issues that come into play that will determine the success of the project. For quality floor sanding, the surface needs to be left uniform, without scratches, dents or divots that would affect the finish coats that would be applied. Any imperfections during the sanding, such as swirl marks being formed will be highlighted more prominently when the finish coats are applied later on. As such, getting professional services for the floor sanding is highly recommended, that way you can be sure that it will be done appropriately.
The floor sanding is the first step of the restoration project, the next is applying treatment products. These are the likes of wood stains, sealants and lacquers. For the wood stain, it’s mainly about the beauty of the floor, and the kind of colouration that you would like it to have. This focuses on the aesthetics of the establishment. When it comes to the finishes, the structural integrity of the wood floor itself is on the line.
Lacquers and varnishes add to the durability of the floor, by coming with protective attributes. The layers formed over the surface of the boards increase the resistance of the underlying flooring to everyday wear and tear. Sealants on the other hand prevent spills from being readily soaked into the wood, thus buying you more time to clean them up when those spillages accidentally occur.
Note that the procedure used when applying the coats has a direct impact on their effectiveness. The proper number of coats need to be applied, and the stains and finishes being used need to be compatible with each other. The required drying time between the subsequent coats needs to be allowed, followed by buffing in between the coats. Also keep the drying and curing time in mind – which should be included in the product label. This will dictate how much time you should allow before allowing normal traffic back onto the area that has been worked on. While different products are used during the refinishing process, from the wood stains to the sealants and lacquers, they need to be compatible. You don’t want to be in a situation where the coats are peeling off, as this would require that the floor sanding is redone.