Hardwood Floor Maintenance – Make your floor last forever!

Maintaining your hardwood flooring is more complicated then most people realize. If you walk into the average homeowners home you will probably find a variety of ‘floor’ cleaners in their cupboards. These cleaners may be doing more hard then good including discoloring the finish, building up films on your floor or even scuffing your finish. The right products and tools are vital to ensuring your hardwood floors last. This guide will walk you through the issues your hardwood flooring can face and how to maintain it properly.

What causes hardwood flooring finish to break down?

Hardwood flooring has a durable finish on it but this finish is only about 2 mils thick (depending on how many coats you have). This finish is the only defense your wood has from the elements and each day as you walk on your floor minuscule amounts are worn away. The amount of finish you wear off each day can change based on the dust or dirt that is on your floor. Each little piece of dirt, dust, or even small rocks acts as a sand paper on your finish and rubs it and removes more and more finish.

How to stop dirt and rocks from entering your floor

The first step to keeping your floor looking beautiful is to keeping the dirt and rocks off your floor. Mats are vital to keeping dirt off your floor. Scraper mats are great for catching dirt. These mats agitate your shoes as you walk into your home to keep the dirt, rocks and dust contained and off your finish. Next, taking your shoes off is a great choice. Taking your shoes off at the door can greatly reduce the amount of dirt coming into your home. These two steps can add time to your finish and keep your home clean and beautiful.

How to prevent scratching from tables & chairs

Did you know that chairs and tables are also bad for your floor? The legs or feet of your chairs are likely to scratch your finish if you do not properly protect your floor. First, remove the original factory installed mads, plastic or rubber feet are not ideal. Purchase and attach felt pads to the foot of every piece of furniture in your house. These felt pads are gentle on your floor and help protect it. The rubber of plastic pieces cause actually cause color change in your floor because they create heat when slide on the floor. It is recommended that you replace your felt mads every 4-8 months.

Proper routine cleaning wood floors

We have tackled the dirt, dust and rock issue and now we have to clean your wood floor. The first step is to get the correct products. Here is a list of what you need:

  • A-Max Cleaner
  • Microfiber Mop With Handle
  • Swiffer Dry Mop

Swiffer your floor is the first step. This is something you really should do daily to keep dirt and dust off the floor but is really important before you sweep. This helps keep your microfiber from getting too dirty. The dry swiffer picks up dirt quickly and easily, if you floor is especially dirty you will want to change your swiffer pad frequently.

Next you will use the A-Max cleaner and a microfiber mop to mop the floor. The A-Max cleaner is great because it leaves virtually no streaks. The alcohol base helps it to dry quickly and eliminate streaking on your finish. This is the same product that professionals use with a floor scrubber so you know you are getting a quality effective products. It is safe and works very well.

When it comes to microfiber mopping your floor you need to know how to do this properly. First you need to look at the room and look at how the grain of the wood runs. If your planks run vertically or horizontally you will want to follow the way they run. Going with the grain helps to hide any streaks.

Deep Clean Yearly with a Floor Scrubber

Deep cleaning your wood floor will help pull all the dirt in the poors, cracks and other substances on the floor off. A deep cleaning uses a machine that will spray water on the floor, scrub it then suck it back up. By using this machine you are getting any containment or debris off the floor and making sure the finish is not being rubbed or scratched. We recommend you do this yearly to ensure the floor is clean and in the best shape it can be.

Products you shouldn’t use

There are a lot of products on the market for cleaning your floor that are actually damaging your finish.

Stay away from-

  • Orange Glow
  • Vinegar (pinterest recipes)
  • Murphy’s oil
  • Steam mops

Orange flow is an acrylic and it will build up over time and then it will start to flake away. Murphy’s oil builds up and gathers dust and dirt. Vinegar can actually etch your finish and wear it away including the sheen. Steam mops are really bad for your hardwood flooring. Steam is different than water and it can penetrate the finish and enter the food. After time the water pools under the finish and can rot your wood.

Cleaning is one of the best things you can do to add longevity to your hardwood flooring. Water based finishes can last from 5-7 years and water-based UV products last about 12 years. When properly maintained your flood can last even longer. The steps above are how you can maintain your floor for greater longevity. Dirt and pebbles are your enemy! Mats, weekly cleaning, yearly maintenance are of the utmost importance. You can call us today with your cleaning questions and we would be happy to work with you and advise you.

Maintenance Coats / Buff & Coat

The last thing that is probably the most critical would be the maintenance coat or buff & coat. AMAX Floors recommends this every 3-5 years. This will make sure your floor never wears through the finish on your floor and you never really need to refinish your hardwood floor. By adding more coating on top of the previous coats you are adding another layer of protection. Every time you step on your floor a little b it of finish is coming off and over time you will be back to wood. At a certain point there is no way to save the floor and a buff & coat is mandatory. By doing a maintenance coat every 3-5 years you will have a fresh new floor, that takes hours to make look good versus days!