How to take care of wooden floors: 6 tips to do it right

Kayla Gulec Kayla Gulec
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Flooring plays a huge role in the look, feel, and functionality of your living space. These days, there are so many flooring options to choose from, whether you're designing your home for the first time or redesigning it to suit your change in taste. Choosing the perfect flooring can actually be a bit overwhelming, but there is one flooring option that matches with just about every style, decor, and personality, and that option is hardwood floors. 

The particular type and style of hard wood flooring you'll choose will ultimately depend on several elements, such as price, size of the floorboards, wood species, installation, the room you're decorating itself, and just how to take care of them. We at homify understand how big of a project getting hardwood flooring really is, so with all of these things to consider, we've compiled a list of six things that will help you take care of your hardwood floors the right way.

Know the type of wood

Wood floors come in many styles and sizes, but there are only two basic types, and those are solid wood and engineered wood. Traditional solid wood flooring is exactly what you'd imagine, in that each floorboard is produced from a piece of solid wood. Strip flooring is the most popular and traditional of any wood floor, and the strips you can buy are between 3 and 7 centimetres wide, while the planks measure from about 8 to 18 centimetres wide and are often used in larger rooms. Engineered wood flooring, on the other hand, is a laminated board that's manufactured from pieces of wood. Most engineered wood boards measure between 6 and 15 centimetres wide and are about e metres long. It's also important to note that almost all types of engineered wood flooring comes pre-finished.

But one thing's important – both types of wood flooring come in a multitude of colours and species of wood.

Wrong things not to do

In order to keep your hardwood floors shining like the first day you bought them, we've compiled a Dos and Don'ts list. First things first – It may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t drag furniture when you want to move it. Use those little felt pads on the bottom of the legs to prevent scratches in the wood. Secondly, never use ammonia or wax on a floor with a glossy finish. That will just ruin it. You don’t have to impose a no shoe policy, but when possible, try not to walk on hardwood floors in high heels, as they easily dent the surface. Keep a pair of slippers handy so you can easily walk from room to room without dragging in dirt. If you take this precaution, you’ll prevent particles on the soles of your shoes from damaging or even removing the finish of your hardwood.

The right things to do

Now that we've told you what not to do, let's focus on what you can do to keep those hardwoods shining for many years to come, and knowing how to clean hardwood floors is a very important element to keeping them alive. Cleaning up spills immediately when they happen with a paper towel or dry cloth will prevent a lot of damage. A damp cloth can be used for sticky spills, but don't forget to dry the area right afterwards. To help with that, use cotton area rugs and mats in high traffic areas and sites of frequent spills and put a doormat outside every entrance to keep out dirt, sand, and that pesky winter salt. Don't forget to move the rugs periodically so these particular areas of the floor remain the same colour as the exposed floor.

Types of treatment

There are many different types of wood treatments out there. Here are just a few you can consider when taking care of your hardwood floors.

First, we have stains. These are colour changing chemicals that soak down into the surface of the hardwood board and tint them from within. These are often coated with a protective finish. The advantage of stains is that they colour the wood any way you'd like while still leaving the natural features of the material visible in its surface, and you can use a darker or a lighter stain, depending on how many coats are used and the style of the room the floors are in. And then there's bleaching. Bleaching uses chemicals just to lighten the colour of the wood. It's important to note that in this treatment, some of the features are washed out, but most of it remains in a slightly lighter shade.

The last treatment we'll mention are wood inlays. They're a fairly advanced decorative treatment that involves putting different pieces of wood into an already installed floor. This allows you to include emblems, carved pieces, and contrasting species of wood colours directly in the material surface.

Think about maintenance and upkeep

Maintenance doesn't have to be as difficult as some people make it seem. With a few precautionary measures, like we mentioned earlier, and proper cleaning, your hardwoods will remain unexpurgated until the day you move out. 

As small of a thing as it is, dust, dirt, and debris really take a toll on the luster of your hardwood. Even fine dirt like the dirt that comes from your indoor plant soil can scratch and mark the floor if not cleaned off quickly. Sweep or vacuum twice a week, or every day if you’re up for it. We also recommend that you use a microfibre mop with a pH neutral cleaner or homemade solution like a tablespoon of vinegar with about four litres of water at least once a week to wipe up that pesky stuck on dirt. You should also take care to avoid products that profess to shine, polish, or revitalize, as they often contain additives like acrylic wax that end up creating a nasty buildup on the surface of the floor.

Think about prices

Now let's get down to brass tax. Just how much is it going to cost you to install hardwood floors? The average costs and materials depends on a few things – first of all, the size of the room, but then you also have to take into account and assess the pre-existing subfloor of your room. 

The average cost of hardwood flooring per square metre is between £25 and £45, whereas the instillation and price for labor tends to cost between £35 and £55. Costs will of course vary according to the style selected, but the average instillation of a 25 square metre job, which includes removal of moldings, placement of vapor barriers or foam underlay, and cutting to size, will be about £1400. 

Sure, it can be a bit pricey for the instillation, but at the end of the day when you come home to your beautifully finished hardwood floors that perfectly match your personal style and decor, you'll realize that it was all worth it.

After reading these six tips on how to take care of hardwood floors, are you ready for instillation? Let us know in the comments section below!
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