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The beauty and durability of solid wood flooring makes them one of the best choices a homeowner can make when it is time to decide on flooring. Yet hardwood floors are not impervious, and they can be damaged if care is not taken to protect them from environmental threats and the wear and tear that people can produce when they ignore a few basic precautions.
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.
If you are looking for information on how to remove existing blemishes on hardwood floors, try this page for more information. Or, if your flooring has been scratched or burned, read this page on how to deal with more serious damage to your wood floor.
Water is a particularly potent threat to hardwood floors because it can cause warping, so spills should be cleaned up immediately before the water has time to get in and damage the floor.
Use only a slightly damp mop when mopping floors. It is also a good to keep mopping to a minimum in order to guard against excessive wetness. Regular sweeping with a soft-bristled broom will keep the dirt that can scratch or dull a hardwood floor from building up and ruining your floors.
Scratches and marks from furniture legs are some of the most prevalent threats to solid wood flooring, and manufacturers of these floors agree that shielding the floor from the hard tips of these legs is one of the best ways to maintain their beauty. Fortunately, it is easy to guard against such scuffs and scratches with felt furniture tips that are available at most home improvement stores. These tips are attached to furniture with a built-in, non-damaging adhesive, and they cushion the parts of the furniture that touch the wood floor directly. Even so, it is always best to lift furniture when moving it instead of dragging it across the floor, because although the tips will protect the floor, but after a while they will become unstuck. Those who slide furniture without being aware that their tips are gone will find a big scratch left behind when they have finished moving the piece.
Area rugs are a common site in homes and businesses that have installed wood floors, but like furniture they can scratch the floor if they slide around too much. Therefore, it is always recommended that no-skid pads be used with the rugs. These rubber backings both protect the floors and prevent the rugs from sliding around and causing people to trip and fall.
We all love our pets, but dog’s nails are yet another way that hardwood floors can be scratched. Keeping these nails trimmed is the best way to avoid the scratches that pets can leave behind.
Besides our pets, we can also damage the floors with our footwear. The most likely offender in this case is a pair of high heels, which can dent wood floors if ladies walk around their home with their heels on. Not wearing the heels in the house is the best way to protect the floors in this case.
The most common threat to your flooring is the dirt that can scratch and dull the surface of the wood. The solution here is regular cleaning with a broom and vacuuming with a lightweight vacuum cleaner - one that is heavy can dent the floor if it is dropped. Besides protecting the floors of your home or business, regular cleaning also has the benefit of making the building far more inviting.
Homeowners should beware the potential havoc that sunlight can wreak upon floors that are made of hardwood. Excessive sunlight can cause fading and discolouration, so care should be taken to make sure that no area of the wood floor receives too much direct sunlight.
Curtains and blinds are perhaps the most inexpensive way to minimize sun damage, but UV coating for the windows is another possibility when it comes to protecting your floors from harsh sunlight.
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.
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.
If you have pets there will sometimes be accidents that need to be cleared up. Read this page for advice on how to remove urine from your hardwood floors.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD