Hardwood floors are beautiful and add value to a home. They are also easy to upkeep if you know what to do and just as importantly, what not to do. Here are five tips to help you care for your floors to keep them looking like new. 1. An Ounce of Prevention Preventing damage is worth more than fixing it when it comes to hardwood floors. The key is to anticipate issues before they occur. Some ways to do this include: Place rugs in high-traffic areas Put coasters or other protectors on furniture to prevent scratches Keep pets off hardwood floors Remove high-heeled shoes before walking on the hardwood floors Place rugs around tables or where spills can happen These steps help prevent scratches, dents and other damage that can be difficult to fix. 2. Avoid Water for Cleaning Yes, you can use water to wipe up spills or to clean up dirt, but it’s a good idea not to use a mop that can spread a lot of water around. Don’t allow water to stand on your hardwood floors. The idea here is to use a damp mop and then to make sure the floor dries completely and quickly.
Water that is left standing on hardwood floors can seep into the wood and warp it. This is especially true in older homes with floors that are original to the house. 3. Sweep Often Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. Use a vacuum or dry mop to remove dust at least twice a week or more often if needed. If you fail to dust your floors often, the debris will lessen the sheen on the floor, leaving it dull. At the same time, you want to avoid using products that say they polish or shine hardwood. What happens is they create a buildup on the floor, which will actually hurt the look of the wood over time. 4. Keep It Cool Keep the rooms where you have hardwood floors cooler. Set the thermostat between 60 and 80 degrees. More importantly, keep the humidity level around 30 to 50 percent. This helps prevent buckling or gaps in the hardwood planks. The problem is caused by both moisture in the air and excess heat. Don’t worry if the room gets hotter or cooler for a short term. It’s only with prolonged temperature changes that the wood will be impacted. 5. Keep the Sun Out Sunlight coming in through a window will fade your floors over time. The change is subtle and often not noticeable until you move furniture around and see the difference in shades. To prevent the problem, close curtains during hours when sunlight is coming in directly through a window. You can open it up for more light once the sun has moved away. These simple tips will help your hardwood floors continue looking like new. While wood flooring doesn’t require a lot of work, it does require you to pay attention to the needs of your floors to ensure they last a long time and still look fabulous.