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Hardwood floor maintenance issues – Tips to Address Common Issues

Posted on May 5, 2023


The Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Floor Maintenance: Addressing Common Issues and Keeping Your Floors Beautiful

Hardwood floors are an attractive and durable choice for many homeowners, offering a timeless appeal that adds warmth and elegance to any room. However, with their beauty comes the need for proper maintenance in order to keep them looking their best. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore common hardwood floor maintenance issues and provide practical solutions to keep your floors looking fresh and new for years to come. Hardwood floor maintenance
  1. Preventing scratches and dents

One of the most common hardwood floor maintenance issues is dealing with scratches and dents, which can detract from the overall appearance of your floors. To minimise the risk of damage, consider the following tips:
  • Use felt pads or furniture sliders on the legs of chairs, tables, and other heavy objects to prevent scratches and dents when moving them.
  • Place doormats at entrances to catch dirt and debris, reducing the amount of grit that can be tracked onto the floors and cause scratching.
  • Implement a no-shoes policy in your home to minimise the risk of scratches from footwear.
  • Regularly sweep, dust, or vacuum your floors to remove dust and dirt that can cause surface scratches.
Preventing scratches and dents
  1. Dealing with water damage

Water and hardwood floors don’t mix well. Excess moisture can cause warping, swelling, and discoloration of your floors. To avoid water damage, take the following precautions:
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent water from seeping into the wood and causing damage.
  • Avoid using wet mops or steam cleaners on your hardwood floors, as these can introduce excess moisture.
  • Use area rugs and mats in high-moisture areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, to help protect the floors from water damage.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in your home to reduce humidity levels and maintain a stable environment for your hardwood floors.
hardwood floor water damage
  1. Managing fading and discoloration

Sunlight and UV rays can cause hardwood floors to fade or change colour over time. To protect your floors from discoloration, consider the following:
  • Install window treatments, such as blinds, shades, or curtains, to limit the amount of direct sunlight hitting your floors.
  • Rearrange furniture and area rugs periodically to ensure even exposure to sunlight, preventing noticeable colour differences on your floors.
  • Use a UV-resistant finish on your hardwood floors to help slow down the fading process.
  1. Addressing gaps and separations

Changes in humidity and temperature can cause wood to expand and contract, leading to gaps and separations between floorboards. To minimise this issue:
  • Maintain consistent indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50% with the help of a humidifier or dehumidifier.
  • Avoid drastic temperature fluctuations in your home by using a programmable thermostat and maintaining a consistent temperature.
  • Choose engineered hardwood flooring, which is less susceptible to gaps and separations due to its multi-layer construction.
filling wood floor gaps
  1. Refinishing and recoating

Over time, the protective finish on your hardwood floors can wear down, leaving the wood susceptible to damage. Recoating or refinishing your floors can help restore their original beauty and provide additional protection. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Recoating involves applying a new layer of finish to your floors without sanding down to the bare wood. This process is less invasive and can be done more frequently to maintain the appearance of your floors.
  • Refinishing involves sanding down the floors to the bare wood and applying a new stain and finish. This process is more labour-intensive and should be reserved for floors with significant wear or damage.
  • Consult with a professional to determine the best course of action for your floors based on their current condition and your desired outcome.
What is recoating
  1. Choosing the right cleaning products

Using the wrong cleaning products can cause damage to your hardwood floors, so it’s essential to choose products specifically designed for hardwood. Keep these tips in mind when selecting cleaning products:
  • Avoid using oil-based soaps, waxes, or harsh chemicals, as these can leave a residue, dull the finish, or damage the wood.
  • Opt for pH-neutral hardwood floor cleaners that are specifically formulated for use on hardwood surfaces. These cleaners will help remove dirt and grime without harming the finish or the wood itself.
  • When using a hardwood floor cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and dilution. Overusing the product or not diluting it correctly can cause damage to your floors.
  1. Preventing mould and mildew

Mould and mildew can develop on hardwood floors due to excess moisture, which can lead to health problems and damage the wood. To prevent mould and mildew growth,
  • Address any water damage or moisture issues promptly, as these can create the perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow.
  • Use a dehumidifier in areas prone to high humidity, such as basements or bathrooms, to maintain a healthy humidity level.
  • Regularly clean your floors with a damp (not wet) mop or cloth and a hardwood floor cleaner to remove any dirt or residue that could support mould growth.
  1. Dealing with Squeaky Floors

Squeaky hardwood floors can be an annoyance and detract from the enjoyment of your home. To address this issue:
  • Identify the source of the squeak by walking across the floor and listening for the sound.
  • Use a lubricant, such as talcum powder or graphite powder, to reduce friction between floorboards and eliminate the squeak. Apply the lubricant to the gaps between the floorboards and sweep it into the cracks using a broom.
  • For more persistent squeaks, consult a professional for a thorough assessment and potential repair options, such as securing the subfloor or adding support beneath the floorboards.
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Maintaining your hardwood floors is an ongoing process that requires diligence and attention to detail. By addressing common maintenance issues, such as preventing scratches and dents, managing water damage, and using appropriate cleaning products, you can keep your hardwood floors looking fresh and new for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, your hardwood floors will remain a beautiful and durable feature in your home, providing you with a lifetime of enjoyment.
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