If you’re considering new flooring for your home, hardwood might just be the answer. Many worry that hardwood floors are hard to take care of, but the pluses of these floors definitely outweigh the minuses, and maintenance isn’t as hard as it may seem. Let’s take a look at the performance of hardwood over time and the kind of maintenance involved.
Performance of Hardwoods
When considering new flooring, one thing that you have to keep in mind is your ROI — return on investment. When you decide to sell your home, what’s going to get you the most money back? Or, for that matter, if this is your forever home and you plan to put down roots for the long run, what flooring is going to last without being replaced every 10 or 20 years?
All things considered, the answer to both of those questions is hardwood flooring. Why? For four reasons:
- It’s durable. There are wood floors that have lasted over 100 years. Done right, yours could, too.
- You can repair it. If there’s ever a scratch or dent in the floor, it’s not hard to fix it (more on this below).
- It’s flexible. If you decide down the road that you want to change the color of the stain, no problem! Just sand it down and refinish. It’s like having a brand-new floor!
- It increases your house’s value. By and large, home buyers are looking for a house that has hardwood floors. In addition, it makes your home worth more and sell faster than houses with carpet, tile, or vinyl.
Daily and Weekly Hardwood Floor Maintenance
When it comes to hardwood floors, water is the enemy. Because of that, you want to be careful how much water you use on the floors. Keep dust and dirt buildup to a minimum by sweeping your hardwood daily. You can also use a vacuum, but make sure the rug beater is turned off and that the wheels don’t scratch the floor.
About once or twice a week, take a mop to the floor, but make sure the mop is only damp. Some use plain water or a water and vinegar mixture, but doing so will make the floors look dull over time. For this reason, consider using a wood floor cleaner at least some of the time. As you mop, make sure to go with the grain of the floor and mop from the inside of the room out the door.
Annual Hardwood Maintenance
About once a year, you’ll want to reseal your wood floors. Luckily, this is really easy to do. Purchase a floor sealant that isn’t tinted so that it doesn’t interfere with the finish you already have on the wood floors. Using a clean mop, apply the sealant evenly to the floor one section at a time. Once it’s dry, buff that section by taking a soft, clean rag and rubbing it against the floor in a circular motion till the sealant is buffed out.
Repairing Hardwood Floors
Though some scratches in hardwood floors actually add character, you’re bound to get scratches in your hardwood floors that need repairing. Repair depends on the depth of the scratches. For shallow scratches, apply floor polish. For deep scratches, fill them with stain that matches the floor using a cotton swab. For wide gouges, use a plastic putty knife to apply latex wood filler. Once dry, sand down the filler to make it level with the surrounding floor. Coat with a varnish that is thinned (about 10 to 20 percent) with turpentine.
Wood floors can keep looking great year after year and, if properly maintained, can be around for the life of the house, making it worthy of the investment. To help prevent damage, have mats inside and outside every entrance and have guests remove their shoes when coming into your home.
New to hardwood flooring care and maintenance? Ask us your questions in the comments section and we’re happy to answer.