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Hardwood Floors - How Do You Keep Them Looking Good?

Aug 17, 2007
With the upsurge over the last few years in the fitting of hardwood floors in the home, the question arises of how to care for them. Here are tips that will help keep your hardwood floor looking as good as the day it was laid down.

Hardwood floors have always been popular due to their durability - witness the number of school and church halls fitted with them - but only in the last five years or so have they become really popular in the home. Why should this be?

- Hardwood floors are easier to keep free of dust and dust mites than regular carpeting. For anyone with dust-related allergies, carpets can be a real no-no.

- Hardwood floors look terrific - no doubt of that; and with proper care should last virtually indefinitely.

- Hardwood floors add value to a property and increase it desirability over others not outfitted in the same way.

These three reasons alone are enough to have made thousands of homeowners throw out their carpeting and install hardwood flooring. There then comes the question - just how do I look after my hardwood floor and keep it looking like new?

Well, it does require a little effort but certainly no more than would be involved if carpets were fitted - vacuuming, shampooing and so forth. What should be realised is that hardwood flooring is a very durable material that, due to its organic nature, needs treating slightly differently to other flooring types.

For instance, a vinyl floor covering can be wet mopped to clean it without any problems at all. Try that with an untreated hardwood floor and you may well regret it: water can swell wooden planks and blocks, leaving you with a floor that suddenly looks as if it has a family of moles living beneath it!

So - don't overwet the floor. If you have to mop it, use a barely damp mop and ensure the room is well ventilated. It's a good idea to always vacuum first as well before mopping - grit particles under a mop will grind away at your beautifully finished wood surface, eventually dulling it and giving dirt an easier in.

If you aren't going to wax your hardwood floor, then a sealant coat, followed by a polish coat, is usually the best method of protecting your floor. For those homeowners who don't want a high-gloss floor there are satin and eggshell finish polishes available.

Maintenance of this type of floor finish is easily achieved using a small domestic polishing machine, available from most good janitorial supply companies. Although beyond the scope of this article, maintaining your hardwood floor with one of these polishers really is simplicity itself.

The trick to keeping the floor looking great is - clean it and polish it regularly and often. Don't let it get really dirty then have a crazy afternoon of cleaning - do it once or twice a week, depending on your circumstances and your hardwood floor will go on looking great for years to come.

Another tip - if you have decided to use a wax on your floor, use it very sparingly! Too much wax applied can result in an ugly build-up that will eventually darken your floor to such an extent that it will look terrible - and then it's a real uphill task to put it right, probably involving professional services. The best maxim for looking after hardwood flooring is 'treat it with respect' - look after it and it will keep your home looking its best!
About the Author
Steve Dempster worked for over fifteen years for a floorcare specialist - if you would like more information on floorcare or other cleaning issues, pay his site a visit at http://www.howtocleanit.info
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