There is nothing like the look of a beautiful hardwood floor, which adds warmth, character and a hint of grandeur to a home. But while it is a durable material in various respects, there are many ways in which wood flooring can be damaged or decay. For this reason, much of the task of care and maintenance is about prevention, while some of it is about cure.
Scratches can occur in various ways. One is if you have clawed pets that can access the floor and you may wish to trim their nails. Wearing stiletto heels and dragging furniture are other ways in which motion across the surface can cause damage, so these are best avoided. Furniture pads can be placed under castors and chair or table legs to prevent these from causing dents.
But scratching can also be caused by small amounts of grit and dirt causing minor scratches that build up over time. It is important to mop, sweep or vacuum up this up to avoid the effect. Placing mats at doorways to wipe feet on is an important preventative measure. Because solid wood is much thicker than engineered wood, you can sand down any blemishes and re-coat it, but this can take time and it is always easier to make such moves unnecessary.
Stains can occur in wood with materials such as ink and wine and while dried ones may need sanding, a fresh spillage can be dealt with by quick cleaning. However, it is important that you do not clean up any mess using too much water, as this can lead to the wood soaking up a lot of water and swelling up. For the same reason, avoid allowing standing water to stay in place on the wood. Instead, mop it up quickly. However, it is worth noting the capacity of wood to swell when wet, as a dented area soaked in water may rise and 'pop out' any dents you do have.
Wood can also fade in colour and while this is an inevitable occurrence over time, this process can be rapidly accelerated by exposure to bright sunlight. If your floor is in a room that is subject to this, you may wish to ensure you have blinds or curtains in place that can be closed at times of bright weather. A mat can also help cover part of the floor that is heavily exposed. Also, if you do get an area of exposed wood fading, moving the mat around to ensure similar levels of sun elsewhere can be one remedial measure worth undertaking, as it will at least even out the colour, although the result will be a paler floor all round.
The newly-installed floor will often come with a lacquer that gets harder over time and this will become easier to clean. In such cases, we recommend you use an accredited lacquer floor cleaner. WOCA makes this product, as well as items for cleaning spots that are difficult to remove from the floor.
Hardwood floors do need plenty of loving care and attention, but the results are well worth it, as a floor that is kept in good condition will go on looking great for many years.