Hardwood floors are have a traditional charm and elegance which is unmatched. This makes it a popular choice for most people. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that no two planks or tiles of hardwood look the same. This is because each naturally occurring hardwood has its own set of grains even when they belong to the same species or the same tree. Another unique point is the way it attains character with age. Dents and scratches, when and if they occur, tend to give the hardwood floor a look of classic sophistication. They are also easy to repair and renovate.
But all this can only happen when hardwood floors are maintained properly and regularly. There are a few steps involved in the process which needs to be followed. These include:
- Knowing your hardwood: This is the first step which defines the process to be used later for the actual maintenance of these hardwood floors. Thus in order to ensure that the correct process is being used to clean and maintain the hardwood, the following information has to be gathered.
- Type: This is to know whether the plank has been made from a single piece of wood or if it has been created from pasting layers or wood veneers tightly together as is the case with engineered wood.
- Finish: There are two types of finishes that are generally used on hardwood planks and tiles; wax and polyurethane. In order to determine the same there are two ways:
- Wiping the plank with a cloth dampened in any mineral spirit wherein if the plank is coated with wax, the cloth feels waxy and
- Dripping a little amount of water onto the board wherein for polyurethane finish the water beads stay on the top and for waxed boards the water seeps in.
- Cleaning the hardwood floor: This involves two different processes which are to be mandatorily adopted but at different times.
- Regular cleaning: This is done by either vacuuming the floor with the floor-brush attachment or using a dust mop to remove such things as dust, dirt, pet hairs if any and other debris as present which end up resulting in scratched appearing on the floor. This needs to be done at least once a week but should be done more frequently if the floor is subjected to heavy traffic.
- Periodic cleaning: Regular vacuuming or even dust mopping is not able to prevent the build-up of grime and dirt over a period of time. Thus in order to ensure that this accumulation does not happen, the hardwood floor needs to be deep cleaned using a liquid cleaner. The liquid cleaner used can be one which is
- Obtained commercially in which case the manufacturer’s instructions have to be followed to the last letter or
- Made at home by mixing 3 parts of water and 1 part of vinegar and then adding a few drops of organic liquid soap.
- Actual periodic cleaning process: The process of period cleaning involves:
- Saturating the mop or sponge with the cleaning solution,
- Wringing out the mop so that it remains damp but not wet,
- Mopping the floor with this damp cloth or mop making sure that no extra liquid remains of the floor,
- Rinsing and washing the mop with water, wringing it thoroughly and again damp mopping the floor to remove the cleaning solution and
- Dry mopping the floor to remove all traces of liquid from it.
In order to ensure that the hardwood retains its shine, 2 teabags need to be boiled for some time and then the tea made is poured into a bucket. Using a soft cloth dampened with this tea, the floor needs to be wiped properly. The tannic acid formed in the tea helps to add an extra shine to the hardwood.
- Other preventive methods: Certain other methods that need to be adopted to keep the hardwood floors well-maintained are:
- Covering the scratches using a crayon, blow drying the area and using a soft cloth to buff the area.
- Covering up areas prone to heavy foot traffic with rugs and carpets also prevents build-up of grime and dirt.
- Sanding and refurbishing damaged hardwood planks to make them look like new.
These things when kept in mind and followed regularly will enable the hardwood to remain looking good and new for many years thereby enabling it to be passed down generations.