Have you ever seen a home makeover episode on TV where the designer would strip off old, grimy carpet or linoleum and discover a layer of old hardwood floors? Then the designer would react as if she struck gold? And she’d wonder, “Why would anyone want to hide that?”
Today, and even long before home makeover shows existed, hardwood is perceived as the king of all flooring materials. Not only is it a status symbol, but it also happens to be the most functional as it could last for generations. There’s a reason hardwood flooring is either repolished and reused or reclaimed as structural materials for new builds. However, it briefly fell in popularity following the advent of low-cost alternatives designed to imitate wood. Plus, hardwood floors have a reputation of being hard to keep in mint condition. But with today’s technologies, almost anything can be done to breathe new life to hardwood floors without breaking the bank.
So if you find yourself buying an old house and sitting on a gold mine, don’t hesitate to put those floors to use again. Keep them looking new for years with these tips:
First things first: sanding and refinishing
Whether you’re flipping a home or updating your living room, re-sanding and refinishing wood floors are important steps to make them more low-maintenance. Sanding not only helps in restoring the slick look and texture of the wood, but it also makes cracks and crevices more visible. This way, they are easier to locate and fix. Refinishing those wood floors will help restore them to their former glory and make them less prone to damage such as warping, peeling, and buckling.
Keep your floors clean and dry
Regardless of what flooring you have at home, it’s important to keep it clean and dry, but most especially hardwood floors. These precious materials tend to wear fast and lose their luster with overuse. It’s important that you vacuum or sweep regularly and thoroughly, leaving no food crumbs, dust, and hair in the cracks. In case of stains and spills, clean it with a commercial cleaner or dab the spot with a warm, damp towel. For scratches and scuff marks, use a damp sponge and some baking soda. When cleaning the entire surface, it’s important that you know what type of finishing was used, as this will determine what product is appropriate. If the hardwood is bare, it’s best to clean it with dry materials as water and liquids can seep into the material and cause serious problems.
Keep moisture at bay
Precipitation is perhaps the biggest enemy of hardwood. If you’re restoring wood that has not been treated with modern technologies, you might need to resort to routine maintenance measures, such as keeping the entire house dry. Mold can develop in the wood and cause it to rot, while continued exposure to moisture can speed up wear and tear. Avoid these by installing dehumidifiers, fixing water leaks, and sealing windows and doors. If you have pets, make sure they don’t pee on the floor. And whenever you have parties, make sure you attend to spills and stains immediately. These measures can help prevent costly repair and maintenance costs.
Hardwood floors may be a bit higher maintenance than other types, but these efforts will surely pay off and make your floors last for decades. Nothing beats the look, feel, and ambiance of pure hardwood floors.