Hardwood floors have long been sought after by home buyers. In its 2019 "Remodeling Impact Report," the National Association of Realtors revealed that new wood flooring was the fourth most popular project to attract buyers.
Of course, hardwood floors aren't just for buyers. Homeowners who already have hardwood floors know just how impressive these floors can be — especially when they're well maintained. Maintaining wood floors is not necessarily as straightforward as it may seem, and homeowners may benefit from a tutorial on how too keep the floors under their feet looking good.
To polish or not to polish?
Polishing floors is an inexpensive way to keep them looking good. But the home improvement experts at BobVila.com note that not all floors can be polished, and determining which ones can depend on the finish. For example, floors with waterproof barriers such as urethane will benefit from routine polishing. However, floors with penetrating finishes like tung oil will need to be waxed rather than polished.
What finish is on the floor?
The Hardwood Distributor's Association recommends a simple way for homeowners to determine which type of finish is on their hardwood floors. Homeowners are advised to rub a finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, then the floor is surface sealed. If a smudge is created, then the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal. The HDA also notes that recently installed wood floors are likely surface-sealed.
How often should floors be polished or waxed?
Wood flooring professionals recommend polishing floors that can be polished once every few months. Waxing wood floors does not need to be done as frequently, and most can benefit from a fresh coat of wax every 12 to 18 months.
What can I do on a daily basis?
Some simple tricks and daily maintenance can help wood floors maintain their impressive look.
UTILIZE FLOOR MATS. The HDA notes that floor mats near entryways can reduce the time it takes to clean hardwood floors and reduce the wear and tear they endure. For example, tiny particles like dirt can scratch the floor and contribute to minor damage that adds up to significant scarring over time. Floor mats near entryways ensure that most of that dirt never makes it to the wood floors.
VACUUM WITHOUT A BEATER BAR. Some vacuums contain beater bars, which are designed to pick up human hair, dog hair and other things that conventional vacuums may not be able to pick up. The HDA advises vacuuming without the beater bar, as it can contribute to small scratches in the floor. Sweeping with a high-quality broom or microfiber cloth is another way to pick up dirt without damaging floors.
USE MANUFACTURER-RECOMMENDED CLEANING PRODUCTS. Local home improvement stores sell a host of hardwood floor cleaning products, but the HDA notes that many flooring manufacturers now sell their hardwood floor cleaners designed specifically for their floors. These products are likely homeowners' best bets. Homeowners who can't find them can seek recommendations from a local flooring retailer.
Hardwood floors are attractive for many reasons. And they look even more stunning, and last much longer, when homeowners make an effort to maintain them.