Hardwood floors (solid or engineered) have an extremely durable service life. In some cases (and those who like ‘period homes’ can support this) the floor could exceed 100 years of service life. Their longevity will depend on the quality of the wood and on the attention and due care given by the floor owner.
There are a number of reasons to make sure that your hardwood floor is always kept clean:
- In commercial properties, a dirty floor can aid flooring ‘fall and trip’ related accidents. In fact, over 10,000 cases were reported in 2010 alone.
- It is unhygienic to allow the built up of dirt and other types of grime.
- Dust, sand and grains of dirt rubbing on the finish of the floor could decrease the longevity of the floor significantly. Maintain hardwood floors, whether before winter or during the rest of the year is dependent on two aspects. The first aspect is your ability to prevent common damage and the second is the method in which hardwood floors should be cleaned.
When possible, hardwood flooring will benefit from commercial cleaning using a cleaning agency; however your day-to-day care is essential.
- Preventing Common Damage: Liquids cause the biggest damage to hardwood flooring and it only stand to reason that your prevention steps will take this fact into account. Liquids should quickly be dried and in the winter, doormats should be placed at the entrance to a room. During rain time, windows must remain closed and on the basis of this, any spill resulting from poor plumbing must be contained early.
- The second most common cause of damage is in fact damage to the surface of the floor (its finish / coating layer). The surface is sealed in a thin layer of harden oil or varnish that is meant to reduce the affect of common wear and tear. When the surface is exposed, the wood will damage quicker. To reduce such damage, consider placing furniture pads under heavy objects; never drag objects on the floor and top up the finish or coating layer when required. Cleaning Hardwood Floors:
As you already know, liquids should not come into contact with wood. However, to clean hardwood some degree of liquids is required, provided you follow the following steps:
- Start by cleaning the room using a hover (with a soft extension) or brush the room using a broom. This will remove fine grains of dust, but solids are unlikely to disappear.
- Slightly soak a mop in mild temperature water (up-to hot temperature, but not boiling) so it becomes damp and spray a slight mist of water on the surface (use a diffuser spray available at all good hardware stores).
- If the floor still shows persistent signs of dirt, you should use a dedicated flooring cleaner. Avoid using household items that are not wood specific as they may contain bleach and abrasive detergent. If you follow the correct procedures and have your hardwood flooring professionally cleaned from time to time, you will enjoy the floor for many years to come.
Article written for RPC cleaning by Wood and beyond. A London based flooring company.