If you are the proud owner of a home with brand new hardwood floors, you want to make sure that you protect your flooring from damage. Several factors can contribute to premature aging and discoloration of hardwood floors. However, you can avoid common problems by heeding the following tips for preventative maintenance of your floors.
Floor Mats and Flannel Protectors
Place floor mats at all of the entryways in your home to limit the amount of dirt, grime and debris that reaches your floors. The small particles of dirt and other materials not only soil floors, they can also cause scratches.
Make sure to purchase rugs that do not have rubber bottoms. Rubber-backed rugs can damage hardwood flooring. During the winter when it snows, ask your family to take their shoes off on the mat so they do not track rock salt or anti-icing fluid onto the hardwood floors.
You should also place mats in areas where water may splash on the floor such as the kitchen.
Floor protectors placed underneath the feet of furniture like chairs, sofas and tables can help to prevent visible, deep scratches. Flannel floor protectors are ideal for furniture that you move a lot such as chairs.
Rubber floor protectors have a grip surface to prevent movement of furniture and are ideal for couches, reclining chairs, dressers and beds.
Exposure to Light
If your home has many windows and receives a lot of sunlight, you need to protect your floors from ultraviolet rays that will fade hardwood. Windows with protective coatings and sheer curtains can limit penetration of harmful rays from the sun.
You can also install blinds to direct the sunlight away from the hardwood during the day. Rearranging your furniture every once in a while also helps to keep the color of hardwood floors uniform.
If you have children and pets, there is little you can do to prevent high traffic on hardwood floors. However, there are ways to limit the damage from foot traffic.
- Places floor runners in hallways and high traffic areas.
- Make sure to clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent stains and warping.
- During the Christmas holidays, place a plastic mat under the tree skirt and holiday-themed area rugs around the tree.
- Use area rugs in common areas like the living room and den.
- Apply a durable, moisture-resistant finish such as water-based or moisture-cured urethane.
While pets are beloved family members, they can also wreak havoc on flooring. Keeps your pet's nails trimmed to prevent scratches on the floor. If you have a dog that likes to run around the house, increase the amount of outdoor exercises your pet receives so they will be worn out when they are inside.
If you have a cat, make sure that your feline buddy has enough scratching posts around the house so they do not attempt to scratch at floor surfaces. If your dog or cat has an accident on the floor, clean up the mess as soon as possible so the pet urine does not stain your beautiful floors.
When you are shopping for supplies to keep your hardwood floors clean, avoid selecting the same products that you use for other types of flooring. Use mild cleansers that do not contain ammonia or wax. Ammonia-based cleaning solutions will make the hardwood age faster and become dull looking.
For pet stains, use hydrogen peroxide to clean dark spots. If the urine left an odor, you can purchase pet urine odor remover solutions from hardware stores.
Lastly, if you can afford, invest in a deep cleansing of your hardwood floors by professionals at least once a year.