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A Guide To Maintaining Wood Flooring

18/12/2023
Wood flooring care and maintenance tips for solid, engineered, and laminated wood floors. Best treatments and cleaners for wood floor care.

If you're a homeowner or business owner with a penchant for the natural, timeless appeal of wood flooring, the subject of maintaining it might interest you. In this guide, we will delve into maintaining wood flooring to keep the shine and longevity of your wood floors, ensuring they remain a worthwhile investment for years to come.

We'll explore the simplicity or complexity of maintaining wood flooring, the differing maintenance requirements based on the type, cleaning methods, suitable cleaners, recommended treatments, and the role of repairs in upkeep. We will also provide an idea of the costs involved. 

Is Wood Flooring Easy To Maintain?

Yes, maintaining wood flooring is typically straightforward when equipped with the proper knowledge and tools. However, it's important to remember that the ease of maintenance can significantly depend on the type of wood flooring installed in your home or office.

Do Different Types of Wood Flooring Require Different Maintenance?

Yes, different types of wood flooring require specific care and maintenance routines. Understanding the unique needs of each flooring type can extend its lifespan and maintain its aesthetic appeal. 

We will examine the different types of wood flooring below:

Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is a true classic, comprising single timber cut into planks. This type of flooring is admired for its longevity and ability to be refinished multiple times.

Engineered Wood Flooring 

Engineered wood flooring is a popular choice, known for its layering structure. It consists of a top layer of real wood supported by less expensive, high-quality ply layers. 

Laminated Wood Flooring

Laminated wood flooring is a cost-effective alternative that simulates the appearance of real wood. It consists of a high-resolution image of wood placed over a core board. 

How Do You Clean Wood Flooring?

Cleaning wood flooring involves a series of steps to keep the floor spotless and in pristine condition. 

The following checklist offers a straightforward guideline for cleaning wood flooring:

☐ Use a soft-bristled broom or vacuum with a soft brush attachment, a microfiber mop, and a soft, dry cloth for wiping.
☐ Use a cleaner specifically designed for wood floors.
☐ Remove small furniture, rugs, or other obstacles from the floor.
☐ Start from one corner, sweeping in the direction of the wood grain.
☐ Dampen your mop with a properly diluted cleaning solution, then mop from one corner of the room, working your way towards the exit.
☐ Immediately after mopping, dry your floor with a soft, dry cloth or towel.
☐ Ensure your mop and cloth are damp, not soaking wet.
☐ After wiping, check for any damp spots and wipe again if necessary.
☐ Regularly sweep and mop your floor, and wipe immediately after mopping.
☐ Harsh chemicals can damage your wood floor. Always use the appropriate tools and cleaning solutions.
Wood Flooring Maintenance Checklist

Let's delve into each step and discover how to execute them effectively.

Sweep

Sweeping is an important initial step in maintaining your wood floors. It effectively removes dust, dirt, and loose debris that could otherwise scratch your flooring. While sweeping wooden floors, follow these steps carefully:

  • Choose the Right Tool: Choose a broom with soft, fine bristles that won't scratch your wood floors. Alternatively, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment for hardwood floors.
  • Clear the Area: Remove any small furniture, rugs, or other obstacles from your floor. This ensures you can reach every part of your wood floor.
  • Start Sweeping: Begin sweeping from one corner of the room. Sweep toward the wood grain to effectively pick up dust and debris lodged between the floorboards.
  • Be Thorough: Take special care to sweep along the edges and corners of your room where dust and debris tend to accumulate. 
  • Collect and Dispose: Once you've gathered all the debris into a pile, use a dustpan to collect and dispose of it.

Mop

Mopping involves using a damp mop, not a wet one, to clean the flooring. This is done after sweeping to avoid scratches. Here is how to mop your wooden floors effectively and safely:

  • Choose the Right Mop and Cleaner: Opt for a flat mop with a microfiber pad for optimal results, as these types are gentle on wood flooring. Use a cleaner that's specifically made for wood floors to avoid any potential damage.
  • Prepare the Cleaning Solution: Follow the instructions on your chosen wood floor cleaner to prepare your cleaning solution. Usually, this involves diluting a certain amount of cleaner in water.
  • Dampen the Mop: Wet your mop with the cleaning solution, then squeeze out any excess liquid. Your mop should be damp but not soaking wet to avoid water damage on your wood floor.
  • Start Mopping: Start mopping from one corner of the room, working toward the exit so you don't step on the cleaned areas. Mop toward the wood grain and avoid using a circular motion.
  • Rinse and Repeat: After each pass, rinse the mop pad in the cleaning solution to remove the collected dirt, then wring out and continue mopping.
  • Dry Your Floor: Once you've mopped the entire floor, go over it with a dry microfiber mop or towel to ensure no water is left on the surface.

Wipe

Wiping is the final step in cleaning wooden flooring. It involves drying the floor after mopping to ensure no water is left on the wood surface, as leftover water can damage wood flooring over time. Follow these steps to dry your wooden floors properly:

  • Choose the Right Material: Use a soft, dry cloth or towel that's large enough to cover a substantial surface area but small enough to handle easily.
  • Start Wiping: Following the mopping, immediately start wiping the floor. Begin from one corner of the room, working your way out to prevent walking on the cleaned area.
  • Follow the Grain: Like sweeping and mopping, wipe toward the wood grain. This helps prevent streaks and ensures any residual moisture or cleaning solution is picked up.
  • Rinse and Repeat: If the cloth becomes too wet, rinse it out, wring it thoroughly, and continue wiping.
  • Ensure Complete Dryness: Once you've wiped down the entire floor, do a quick check for any damp spots. If you find any, give them an additional wipe to ensure the floor is completely dry.

What Cleaners To Use In Maintaining Wood Flooring?

Selecting the right cleaner is crucial in maintaining the beauty and extending the life span of wood flooring. These are the various cleaners you can use for your wooden floors:

1. Specialised Wood Floor Cleaners: These are cleaners formulated specifically for wood floors. They are gentle yet effective at removing dirt and grime without damaging the wood or leaving a residue. When choosing a wood floor cleaner, ensure it suits your type of wood flooring.

2. pH-Neutral Soap: Mild, pH-neutral soaps mixed with warm water can be a safe and effective cleaner for sealed wood floors. Avoid using acidic or alkaline cleaners, as they can dull or damage the finish.

3. White Vinegar and Water: A solution of half a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of lukewarm water is a popular homemade cleaner. However, it should be used sparingly, as overuse of vinegar can dull the finish over time.

4. Special Care for Oil Floors: If your wood floor has an oiled finish, using a soap designed explicitly for oiled wood floors can help preserve the oil finish and enhance the wood's natural beauty.

5. Avoid Steam Cleaners and Wet Mops: Steam cleaners and wet mops should never be used on wooden floors as they can damage the finish and warp the wood.

Wood Floor Cleaners

Wood Floor Cleaners are specifically formulated cleaning products designed to clean wood floors safely and effectively. They come in various types, including sprays, concentrates, and ready-to-use formulas.

The pros and cons of using these cleaners include:

Pros:

  • They are specifically designed for wood flooring.
  • Safely clean and maintain the floor's finish.
  • Help preserve the wood's natural characteristics.

Cons:

  • Some cleaners may contain harsh chemicals.
  • Improper use can damage the wood.
  • Higher cost compared to regular cleaning products.
Wood flooring care and maintenance tips for solid, engineered, and laminated wood floors. Best treatments and cleaners for wood floor care.

What Are The Best Treatments For Maintaining Wood Flooring?

Wood flooring treatments vary based on the type of wood flooring and specific needs. A few popular treatments include:

  • Regular sweeping and mopping
  • Use of specialised wood floor cleaners
  • Periodic professional deep cleaning
  • Application of suitable wood floor finishes
  • Timely repairs and refinishing 

Each of these treatments carries its unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

TreatmentProsCons
Regular Sweeping and MoppingPrevents build-up of dust and dirt. Easy to do and cost-effective. Extends the life of the floor.Can miss some embedded dirt and grime. Sweeping can cause scratches if not done with a soft-bristled broom.
Specialised Wood Floor CleanersFormulated specifically for wood floors. Safely clean without damaging the finish.Some may contain chemicals that some people prefer to avoid.
Periodic Professional Deep CleaningThorough cleaning that can remove embedded dirt and grime. Can reach hard-to-clean areas.Can be costly. May require scheduling and availability.
Applying Suitable Wood Floor FinishesProtects the flooring and enhances its appearance. Can help resist scratches and stains.Requires expertise to apply properly. Some finishes may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Timely Repairs and RefinishingPrevents further damage and maintains the integrity and appearance of the flooring. Can fix scratches, dents, and stains.Can be expensive depending on the extent of the repair. Requires expertise to perform properly.

How Does Repairing Wooden Flooring Help In Maintaining Wood Flooring?

Repairing wood flooring is a crucial aspect of its maintenance. It restores the floor's aesthetic appeal and extends its lifespan. Small repairs, such as fixing minor scratches, and large ones, like board replacement, can prevent further damage and maintain the integrity of the flooring. 

How Do You Refinish Wood Flooring?

Refinishing wood flooring involves removing the existing floor finish, sanding the surface to smooth out any scratches or discolourations, and then applying a new finish. This process rejuvenates your wood flooring, allowing it to regain its original lustre and charm.

These steps should help you get started: 

1. Clear the Room: Remove all furniture, rugs, and other items from the room.

2. Clean the Floor: Thoroughly clean the floor to remove dust and debris. Ensure the floor is completely dry before moving to the next step.

3. Sand the Floor: Use a sander to remove the old finish and smooth any scratches or discolourations. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and move to finer grits for a smooth finish.

4. Clean Again: Vacuum or wipe away the dust created by sanding. This vital step ensures dust doesn't get trapped beneath the new finish.

5. Apply the Stain (Optional): If you wish to change the colour of your floor, apply a wood stain evenly, following the direction of the wood grain. Allow it to dry completely.

6. Apply the Finish: Using a brush or roller, apply a thin layer of wood finish, again following the direction of the grain. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

7. Add Additional Coats (If necessary): Depending on the type of finish used and the desired look, you may need to apply additional coats. Always ensure the previous coat is completely dry before adding another.

8. Let the Floor Cure: Let the finished floor cure for a few days before moving furniture back into the room.

This process can be quite labour-intensive and requires expertise, so many people hire professionals to refinish their wood floors.

What Is The Cost Of Maintaining Wood Flooring?

The cost of maintaining wood flooring can fluctuate based on the type of wood, the space size, and the specific maintenance tasks being conducted. Here are some average costs in the UK:

  • Regular Cleaning: Free to £10 per month (cost of cleaning supplies)
  • Professional Cleaning: £50 to £100 per visit
  • Refinishing: £10 to £30 per square metre

These approximate costs can vary based on various factors, including your geographical location and the specific condition of your flooring. 

Conclusion

Maintaining your wood flooring need not be a daunting task. With the knowledge you've gained from this guide, you should now be equipped to effectively handle the care and maintenance of your wood flooring. 

But remember, the key to the longevity of your wood flooring lies in regular maintenance and prompt repairs. Ensure that you treat your flooring with the care it deserves, and it will reward you with enduring beauty and durability. 
Do you need professional help in maintaining your wood flooring? Don't hesitate to contact us at The Ultimate Flooring, your trusted partner in all things relating to wood flooring.

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