When wood floors are regularly cleaned and maintained, they are a beautiful and durable surface that can last in your home for years. Without proper care, however, damage and stains can build up over time. Use these wood floor cleaning and maintenance tips to protect your investment and keep your home’s wood floors looking as beautiful as the day they were installed.

Protect Your Wood Floors From Regular Wear and Tear

protect wood floor from scratches with furniture pads

  1. Use Furniture Pads. One of the best ways to prevent difficult-to-remove scratches in wood floors is to add furniture pads to the legs of your chairs, sofas, tables, and other furniture.
  2. Protect High Traffic Areas. Placing rugs or mats in highly used areas will keep your floors from excessive wear and tear. Focus on areas like entranceways and exterior doorways where a mat can help prevent moisture from shoes from harming your wood floors.
  3. Consider Temperature and Humidity. Wood reacts to changes in temperature and humidity. Over time changes can cause wood to shift, allowing cracks to form. Keeping temperature and humidity consistent inside your home can help reduce this type of damage.
  4. Re-Finish Every 3-5 Years. Renew wood floors that have dulled by having them sanded and refinished. It’s one simple step that can make your floors look brand new!

Clean Regularly to Keep Wood Floors In Great Condition

Make regular cleaning of wood floors part of your ongoing home maintenance and cleaning plan. This can extend the life of your wood floors while keeping them looking great!

  1. Clean Spills Immediately. Use a dry or damp cloth to immediately wipe up spills. Never use tools like steam mops or apply water directly to the floor.
  2. Vacuum Weekly. Regularly vacuuming your home is key to keeping your home clean, and preventing crumbs and dirt from scratching your floors. It can also help improve indoor air quality by removing debris from your home.

Wood Floor Potential Issues and Maintenance Tips

wood floor damage and maintenance WIN Home Inspection

It's important to identify signs of your wood floor’s poor health early, to act quickly to protect your floors. Look out for these telltale indications of distress.

  1. Crowning and Warping. Wood floor crowning is when the center of the board is higher than the edges. Crowning or other warping happens when the boards are exposed to moisture over an extended period. Maintaining level humidity, cleaning up spills, and fixing water leaks can prevent your floor panels from crowning or warping. Also consider adding water-resistant coatings to prevent future damage.
  2. Stains. Spilled food, drinks, and even pet accidents can stain wood floors if left un-cleaned for too long. Pet stains in particular tend to soak through the finish into the wood itself. Surface stains can be removed with a wood-floor cleaner but stains in the finish or wood must be sanded out, bleached, or replaced with new boards altogether.
  3. Cracks. Cracks in wood planks can occur from nails, low humidity, high heat, or other damage. In most cases these cracks can be easily fixed with a wood filler. Before applying wood filler to your floors, read instructions on filler carefully and apply as directed.
  4. Gapping. Minor separation between boards is normal because wood expands during cold weather and contracts during dry periods. If larger gaps appear, however, it can be an indication that the floors were not installed properly. If you notice large gaps, contact a flooring professional for evaluation and repair.

Maintenance needs will vary depending on location, environment and lifestyle, but knowing these basics is an excellent start to maintaining your wood floors. Using these recommended guidelines, you can keep your wood floors looking and performing beautifully for years to come.