What is the first thing you do after you have your floors redone? Put on some clean socks and slide across the floor, of course!
That’s what my husband and I did when we got our floors redone about a year and a half ago. It was right before we moved in — and after we pulled up the grossly stained white carpets that came with the home’s purchase. Yes, we had to use our imagination at first.
It’s going on almost two years now, and the idea of redoing them again is far from appealing (though I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to challenge the hubby to another sliding match on the floors). So, I’ve been diligent about their care to extend their life.
Extending the Life of Hardwood
- Clean regularly. Cleaning hardwood regularly should go without saying. But the reason isn’t actually what you think. Besides clearing out the dust bunnies that set up camp under your furniture, sweeping actually gets rid of the particles that can scratch hardwood. With mopping, too much liquid can damage your floors. And the wrong formula of cleaning product can do the same. Look for pH-neutral, nontoxic, and biodegradable formulas to clean effectively and keep your home safe. Vinegar, for example, can eat away at the finish — even when diluted with water. Be careful and read the labels thoroughly when you pick a cleaner.
- Rearrange furniture. Did you know direct sunlight actually fades hardwood a lot quicker? The sunlight, combined with the heat from the sun, will age the wood faster. To extend the life of hardwood, it’s a good idea to rearrange your furniture occasionally to help wood age evenly.
- Control moisture. You can thank good ‘ol Minnesota weather for damaging hardwood. Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that when wood is exposed to air, it’ll dry or pick up moisture until it is in equilibrium with the humidity and temperature of the air. In the hot humid months of summer, it swells. In the cold, dry months of winter, it shrinks. In winter, it’s a good idea to have a humidifier to keep your humidity level in the house between 25-50% to help keep your floors from contracting. They start to contract below 25%. Consider doing the same with a dehumidifier during the summer months.
I fully plan on maximizing the life of my hardwood floors. I was lucky enough to stumble into them with our home, and I absolutely want them to look as nice as possible, for as long as possible. With minimal work and regular upkeep, you can keep yours looking just as good too!