In recent years, wooden flooring has reached further than it ever has before, namely into traditionally tile-only areas like kitchen and entryways. Driven by people’s desire for a seamless flow from room to room, this trend means hardwood is subject to increased wear and moisture. Depending on the level of exposure, water and other liquids can cause wood to discolour, warp, crack or rot. You should minimize direct moisture, using water very sparingly when cleaning and wiping spills promptly. The good news is that hardwood, weather solid or engineered, is protected this days with a plastic-like polyurethane coating. However, scratching can compromise the finish, so keep surface dirt in check and avoid wearing shoes (particularly high heels) inside.
Wood is easily affected by the air around it, so aim to keep the temperature and humidity levels in your home as consistent as possible. Avoid a change of more than 3 degrees Celsius on any given day and use a central or stand-alone humidifier in the winter to replicate the moisture-rich air of the warmer months.
Choosing a Cleaner
Overly acidic or alkaline wood cleaners that may ruin your floor’s finish, while oil-based products can leave a filmy residue and actually attract dust. Look for pH-neutral, residue-free solutions.
Follow the timeline below to keep your wooden floors looking great long term:
- Daily: Remove surface dirt before it causes scratching by vaccuming with a hard-floor attachment or sweeping with a dry microfibre mop.
- Weekly: Mop with a specialty cleaner in small sections to avoid moisture sitting on the surface for too long.
- Every 3 months: Bring back shine and fill in little scratches by polishing with a water-based product.
From Style at Home February 2016 (producer Mary Levitski)