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How to keep your floor looking new

     Hardwood floors are great. They add warmth and beauty to your home, let you put down a small area rug to accent your space, and more. Until they start getting dirty. Nobody likes dirty floors, especially not you, because your reading an article on the riveting experience of cleaning hardwood floors. Cleaning hardwood is a bit more complicated than scrubbing cold hard tile or vacuuming the carpet, but it won’t be to difficult as long as you don’t do anything that will damage your hardwood.

     The first step of any cleaning is to remove any dirt and dust from the floor because you will end up slowly grinding the dirt into the wood as you walk on it. This can be done easily with a dust mop (think swiffer) or with a vacuum. If you use the vacuum avoid using any beater bar attachment. This will help get dust out of carpet but also can scratch the hardwood floor over time, and we want clean floors, not damaged floors. That brush attachment for the vacuum will do a great job removing any dust and debris. You can do this as many times as necessary, but shouldn’t be needed more than once a week to keep your floors nice and clean.
Next up is using a liquid cleaner. As a general rule of thumb you should avoid getting your floor wet, and if you do, wipe it up quickly because wood can be quite porous and will warp and expand when wet. A bit of soap and water may work to clean a bit of spilled jelly or syrup, but you should avoid mopping your floor with the same solution. A great choice is Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner available at the link from amazon. Other options include products for cleaning wood furniture, as long as the solution is oil based.

     Now its been a few years since the hardwood has been installed and its just not that shiny. Many products purport to bring back that shine but they are only temporary. The shine is caused by micro-abrasions in the glossy finish, that reflect light easily. As the floor is walked on these abrasions gradually get deeper leading to the shine disappearing. The products that are sold to recover the lost shine are typically a wax (like car wax) that fills in the scuffs to bring the shine back, but these add a waxy feel to the floor, and fade over time. You want something more permanent, and that is where floor buffing comes in. Like polishing a car floor buffing removes a thin layer (measured in thousandths of an inch) from the surface of the flooring leveling off these scratches, bringing back that like new shine.

     Now its been quite a while since you got the hardwood floors. You look at your floor and realize the scratches in it are far deeper that you expected. Buffing will not cut it this time. You need the big guns. Its time to refinish the floor. Refinishing is time consuming but can be far cheaper than replacing an old worn out hardwood floor. This process uses a sander to remove the top layer off the floor to reveal all new wood. There are two ways to do this. One is the standard floor refinishing, This process creates a large amount of dust that will have to be cleaned. The alternative is dustless sanding. This is a huge leap forward from refinishing by hand, which you can learn more about here.  Unlike regular floor refinishing, dustless sanding leaves behind almost no dust to be cleaned later. After sanding the wood can be stained to a color of your choice, making refinishing a great alternative to buying new hardwood. After staining, the wood needs to be sealed with either an oil or water based sealant. A water based sealant will dry much faster than an oil based sealant but will be far less durable. This leads to a bit of a paradox where its easier to seal high traffic areas with water based sealant, but this will be less durable, while oil based stains are more convenient to apply in low traffic areas.

Author: Wyatt
Wyatt writes informative articles for Carpet World Flooring Center and performs IT work.

Catagory: Hardwood