With the right outlook and proper care, the hardwood floors installed in your home could last a lifetime. It's important to note, however, that the operative word in that sentence is "proper."
If you truly want to make sure that your hardwood floors last as long as possible, there are a number of key things you'll need to keep in mind.
Perhaps the biggest reason why hardwood floor care is so important ultimately comes down to safety concerns. Hardwood floors that are scratched and that are dirty are, at best, difficult to walk on. At worst, they're likely home to a buildup of dust, dirt, and other debris that could make it easier for people to slip and stumble on.
In certain extreme situations, dirty hardwood floors can also be a greeting ground for the type of bacteria that could make you or your family members sick.
Beyond that, hardwood floors are a significant investment - one that deserves to be protected. Not only do they make your home look and feel more comfortable, warm, and inviting, but they can also significantly increase your resale value, too. Some estimates say that the return on investment for hardwood floors is between 70% and 80%.
However, the reverse is also true. Partially because hardwood floors that have become significantly damaged are so difficult and expensive to fix, they could scare off potential buyers as well. That's why it's always essential to be proactive about hardwood floor care and maintenance - you can address a small problem now before it has a chance to become a much bigger and more expensive one down the road.
When cleaning prefinished engineered hardwood floors, you'll want to use a combination of white vinegar in warm water for your preventative daily cleaning needs. Simply mix one cup of white vinegar for every two gallons of water you use. In addition to being safe for the floor itself, this mixture will also help get rid of any dirt or other obstructions you may be dealing with.
If you're cleaning unfinished engineered hardwood floors, remember to be as gentle as possible. Don't use a wet mop when caring for engineered hardwood floors of any kind, especially ones that are unfinished. Instead, use a damp cloth with a soap and water mixture. Don't use any types of harsh chemicals because they can damage the wood itself due to its unfinished nature.
Another common material option takes the form of solid oak flooring. At a bare minimum, you'll want to sweep your solid wood floors on a regular basis to help get up as much dust and other debris as possible. If you have to vacuum, always use a soft brush head to avoid any scratches.
Because of the nature of solid wood floors, you also shouldn't use any steam cleaners. They could potentially break down the finish, which itself can cause lasting damage if you're not careful. With solid oak flooring, you should also avoid any types of household cleaners because they can be abrasive. Instead, use a similar warm water/dish soap combination as outlined above.
If you have luxury vinyl flooring in your home, cleaning comes with its own considerations. Should you ever spill anything directly on the floor, be sure to wipe it up quickly to avoid any stains. When using warm water to clean your luxury vinyl, be sure to only use a damp cloth and never a mop. Luxury vinyl should never be drenched in water.
If you use a mop, don't use any type of scrubbing attachment. The top layer of luxury vinyl is gorgeous, but it's also sensitive, and you don't want to do anything to damage that natural luster. For the same reason, you shouldn't use ammonia, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals. You can use white vinegar or other gentle, natural products to get rid of any excess dirt or grime that may have developed.
By far, the biggest floor care mistake to avoid involves being reactive, not proactive, to what you're doing. No matter what type of hardwood floor you're talking about, protection begins with prevention. Always place rugs, area mats, and other protective surfaces around entryways and in any areas that see a lot of heavy traffic.
These rugs and mats can catch a lot of the dirt and debris that get brought into the house from outdoors, which goes a long way towards preventing scratches to your wooden surfaces as well.
Along the same lines, don't forget to put felt pads under couches, chairs, and other furniture that may be in the room. Even though you don't think of a couch as something that "moves" very often, it likely does at least a bit every time someone sits on it. Over time, that can cause deep scratches in areas that can be costly (not to mention frustrating) to address.
At Southern Luxe, we believe that hardwood floors are a major benefit to your home, regardless of the type that you're talking about. That's why it's essential to choose the right type of floors from the start - one that meets your needs and fits in perfectly with the environment that you're already working in.
All of our flooring options at Southern Luxe are designed to be easy to care for, all while allowing you to achieve that perfect visual look that you're going for. Every option is crafted from only the highest quality materials and is finished with UV oil. Not only does this help protect high-traffic areas like entryways in particular, but it also goes a long way towards avoiding the types of color changes and other damage-related issues that happen when wood flooring is exposed to harsh UV light for long periods of time.
If you'd like to find out more information about how to protect engineered hardwood floors, or if you're eager to start your project and would like to speak to a professional in a bit more detail, please don't delay - contact Southern Luxe today.
Have a flooring project, small or large? Reach out with any questions. We strive to create an experience that is enjoyable and headache-free.