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Ultimate Guide to Hardwood Flooring and How to Keep It Looking Great

Posted on May 13, 2023


Expert Guide to Maintaining Your Hardwood Flooring | Hardwood Floor Care Tips

Hardwood floors have become synonymous with classic beauty and enduring quality in home design. They lend an air of warmth to any room, their rich grains and colors enhancing the aesthetics and ambiance of your living spaces. In this blog post, we will delve into the essence of hardwood flooring and share practical, effective ways to keep your floors looking their best.

Introduction to Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a long-lasting, sustainable, and environmentally friendly choice for homes and businesses alike. Made from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, walnut, and cherry, among others, hardwood floors are prized for their durability, natural appearance, and ease of maintenance.

Aside from their undeniable visual appeal, hardwood floors also offer considerable practical advantages. For instance, unlike carpets, they don’t harbor allergens, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. They’re also versatile, able to fit into just about any décor style, be it traditional, modern, rustic, or contemporary.

Types of Hardwood Flooring

There are two main types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of wood, while engineered hardwood is made up of several layers with a top layer of real hardwood. Both types have their merits and demerits, but they share the same elegant look and feel that’s characteristic of hardwood flooring.

Solid hardwood flooring is often more expensive than its engineered counterpart, but it’s also more durable and can be refinished multiple times. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, is more resistant to temperature and humidity changes, making it a good option for areas like basements or regions with high humidity.

The process of house renovation with changing of the floor from carpets to solid oak wood. Different tools and materials on the new floor

Installing hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring installation is a process that requires precision and skill. While some DIY enthusiasts might tackle this project, it’s usually best left to professionals to ensure a seamless and long-lasting result. The installation process involves several steps, including preparing the subfloor, laying the hardwood planks, and applying a finish to protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty.

Hardwood Flooring Installation Systems

Keeping Hardwood Floors Looking Great

Now that you have a basic understanding of what hardwood flooring is, let’s delve into some practical tips and techniques for keeping your floors looking great.

Regular Cleaning

Dirt and grit can act like sandpaper, scratching and dulling your hardwood floor’s finish over time. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent this. Sweep or vacuum the floor regularly (at least once a week), and clean up spills immediately to avoid staining. Avoid using a wet mop or steam mop on hardwood floors as excessive water can warp the wood.

Wooden Floor Safety

Use the Right Cleaning Products

Not all cleaning products are suitable for hardwood floors. Some can damage the finish or even the wood underneath. Always use a cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can strip the finish off your floor and leave it looking dull.

Use Rugs and Mats

Place rugs and mats in high-traffic areas and entrances to protect the floor from dirt and grit that can be tracked in from outside. This not only helps to keep your floor clean but also reduces wear and tear.

Regular Refinishing

Over time, even with the best care, hardwood floors can start to show signs of wear and tear. Refinishing involves sanding off the old finish and applying a new one. This process restores the floor’s original luster and can make it look like new again. How often you need to refinish your floor depends on the type of hardwood and the level of traffic it sees, but typically, it’s recommended every 7-10 years.

Prevent Sun Damage

Just like our skin, hardwood floors can get sunburned. Direct sunlight can fade the color of your hardwood floors. To prevent this, use window coverings, like curtains or blinds, during peak sunlight hours. You can also consider applying a UV-resistant finish to your floors for added protection.

Watch your humidity levels.

Extreme changes in humidity can cause hardwood floors to expand and contract, leading to warping or cracking. Aim to keep your indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50% to help preserve your floor’s integrity. In drier climates or seasons, a humidifier can help maintain optimal humidity levels; conversely, a dehumidifier can be beneficial in more humid environments.

Choosing the Right Hardwood Floor for Your Home

The right hardwood floor can transform your space, but with so many options available, how do you make the best choice? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Colour and grain pattern: These aspects significantly influence the overall aesthetic of your floor. Lighter woods like maple can brighten up a room, while darker woods like walnut can add a touch of elegance and formality.
  • Hardness: Different species of wood have different hardness levels. The harder the wood, the better it can resist dents and scratches. For instance, oak, maple, and hickory are among the hardest and most durable.
  • Finish: Hardwood floors can come pre-finished or can be finished on-site. Pre-finished floors offer a more durable finish and a faster installation time, while site-finished floors allow for a higher level of customization.
  • Width of Planks: The width of your planks can influence the perception of your space. Wide planks can make a room appear more spacious, while narrow planks can create a more traditional look.

The Environmental Impact of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are a sustainable flooring option. Most hardwood used for flooring is sourced from managed forests, ensuring that the wood supply is replenished and biodiversity is maintained. Moreover, at the end of their life, hardwood floors can be recycled or composted, reducing their environmental impact.

However, it’s crucial to choose hardwood flooring from suppliers committed to sustainable forestry practises. Look for certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure that the wood has been sourced responsibly.

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Hardwood flooring is a timeless investment that can enhance the aesthetic and value of your home. With the right care and maintenance, your hardwood floors can look great for generations. Regular cleaning, using the right products, monitoring humidity levels, and timely refinishing are all crucial to maintaining the beauty of your hardwood floors.

Remember, hardwood is more than just a flooring option; it’s a commitment to durability, beauty, and sustainability. So, whether you’re renovating your existing space or designing a new one, consider hardwood flooring for its unmatched elegance and enduring charm.

By understanding the nuances of hardwood flooring and the care it requires, you can ensure that your floors remain a feature you’re proud of in your home. Here’s to many years of beautiful hardwood floors!

More from our Blog:

Professional Hardwood Floor Installation: From Preparation to Sanding and Finishing

Mastering the Art of Laying a Hardwood Floor: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Embracing the Charm of Wood Flooring: Why Choose Wood Floors?

Hardwood Floors & Allergies: A Detailed Look at the Health Benefits

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