Today, a growing number of homes have bare floors.
There are many varieties of wooden floors flooding the market now but 2 lead the pack:
- Hardwood: This is made from natural woods. Some common examples are oak, maple and hickory. Hardwood flooring is pretty rugged and built to go the distance. If you take the time and effort to properly maintain your hardwood floors, they’ll last for years
- Laminate: This cheaper style of wood flooring features a laminate finish on synthetic fiberboard.
With hardwood floors, you can choose from a range of cuts. The most common are probably parquet and wide planks. As hardwood is made from real wood, you’ll get wonderful deep tones and a natural grain. Colors run from light brown right through to a rich and deep reddish-bronze.
Durable, Rugged Hardwood
Hardwood floors are extremely hardwearing.
Precisely how long they will last is dependent on several elements:
- The type of hardwood
- Moisture levels
- Whether the floors are finished or unfinished
- Any ongoing effort of maintenance – cleaning, waxing, polishing
It’s a schoolboy error if you try to shave off some money by failing to finish your hardwood floor. Firstly, an unfinished floor simply won’t have the same staying power. Beyond this, unfinished floors are susceptible to swelling and warping. Don’t overlook the importance of this critical step.
With the holy trinity of proper installation, finishing and upkeep, your hardwood floor should be with you for many years to come.
Hardwood Flooring: Cost
The costs of hardwood flooring extend beyond the price tag.
Hardwood is certainly a better bet for long-term flooring than laminate. The upfront costs are not cheap, though. This can be off-putting for some and beyond the budget of others.
Not all hardwood floors are quite so expensive. If you want something a little more affordable, look for maple, oak or perhaps American cherry. If you look hard enough, there’s hardwood flooring to suit every taste and budget.
Hardwood Floor Installation
While laminate is a breeze to install, hardwood flooring presents a few more problems.
Unless you are extremely confident and capable, it’s best left to the professionals.
With the traditional form of hardwood floors, you’ll have to saw and hammer your planks together. More and more, you will now also get tongue-and-groove planks that can simply snap into place.
Hardwood Flooring: Maintenance
Some simple maintenance and a light touch will increase the lifespan of your hardwood floors significantly.
If you have large expanses of hardwood floor, popping down an area rug is a smart move. This will greatly reduce wear and tear, especially if you place the rug in a high traffic area.
Putting pads underneath the feet of your furniture is a great method for reducing the likelihood of any nasty scratches.
Sweeping followed by vacuuming is the best overall routine to fall into.
It is not advisable to use a wet mop on your hardwood floors. If you spill water on your flooring, mop it up straight away. These floors really do not respond to moisture favorably.
If you are using cleaners, make sure that they are the right type. Not all hard flooring is the same. Opt for something intended for lino or vinyl and you might get an unpleasant surprise. Stick to cleaners specifically recommended for hardwood floors.
With mixed flooring, you’ll want to make certain that you don’t end up treating your hardwood flooring the same as your carpet. Most vacuums designed for carpet make use of a motorized brush roll. If you also have hardwood floors then look for a vacuum where you can flick the brush roll off. This will avoid nasty blemishes on your wooden floor.
We’ll look now in a little more depth at how to clean your hardwood floors.
First, though, how about the different types at your disposal?
Hardwood Floors: Different Types
Cleaning and care of hardwood floors depends to a large extent on the type in question…
There are 3 main finishes:
- Surface-Sealed Hardwood
- Oil-Treated and Penetrating Seal-Treated Hardwood
- Untreated, Varnished or Lacquered Hardwood
The vast bulk of contemporary wooden floors are surface-sealed. The most common finishes are polyurethane, polyacrylic and urethane.
Floors which have been surface-sealed are extremely resistant to water damage and staining.
When it comes to cleaning, surface-sealed hardwood couldn’t call for less effort. Simply sweep up the dust, mop up the remaining debris and you’re all set.
Oil-Treated and Penetrating Seal-Treated Hardwood
With oil finishes or penetrating seals, they harden once they’ve soaked into the grain of the wood.
With these finishes, you’ll need a little elbow grease to keep your floors spick and span.
Paste wax works well for a spotless look.
Untreated, Varnished or Lacquered Hardwood
Hardwood floors with surface finishes won’t be as durable.
Be cautious about any spillages. Deal with them immediately in the event of an accident. Such finishes are also intolerant to damp.
Liquid or paste wax will deliver on these floors.
Handy Hints For Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Having determined the finish of your hardwood flooring, you need to think about long-term and short-term maintenance.
Use Plenty of Mats
If you take the time and trouble to put down some rugged floor mats, you’ll cut down your cleaning requirements. Target entrances and high-traffic areas. This way, you can enjoy an expanse of hard floor with the added bonus of plush rugs breaking it up.
Removing your shoes is a smart move but not always practical. Strategically placed mats are the next best thing. With these, you can at least eliminate much of the dirt that gets dragged in from outside.
Daily Hardwood Floor Routine
The cornerstone of maintaining your hardwood floors is to sweep it on a regular basis.
Microfiber cloths and mops both work well on wooden floors. The more you sweep your floors, the less surface scratches you’re likely to accumulate. With microfiber, static electricity is generated. This helps to capture dust and allergens. When sweeping, try to keep the microfiber in contact with the floor. Not lifting it will reduce the chance of any damage.
By keeping on top of things, you’ll never be faced with a laborious task. It’s just a question of a quick once over.
Weekly Hardwood Floor Routine
You should vacuum or mop your hardwood floors on a weekly basis.
When you clean through, pay particular attention to the nooks and crannies you might miss on your daily blitz. Be sure to clean under the furniture.
Less is more when it comes to mopping hardwood. This type of flooring does not respond well to excessive moisture. Try to mist rather than drench the floor. Exercise a light touch.
Monthly Hardwood Floor Routine
You don’t need to polish constantly. Three or four times a year is perfectly adequate to maintain a spotless finish.
Polishing doesn’t just make your floor look good. Proper polishing can extend the lifespan of your hardwood floors and maintains a nice, even finish.
Long-Term Hardwood Floor Routine
An annual deep clean pays dividends.
Every few years, consider sanding and refinishing your floor. In essence, you’ll get a new protective finish once you’re done.
We trust you’ve enjoyed this glance at hardwood flooring.
Hardwood floors might not be cheap, but they are an investment. With relatively little effort, you can keep your floor looking good for years to come.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions at all. We’re always more than willing to help.
If there’s anything you’d like us to cover here at Miter Saw Judge, let us know. We welcome suggestions and we will do our best to accommodate.
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