Have a Hygrometer
A hygrometer is an instrument that measures the relative humidity (RH). Ideally, you’ll want to keep this in a central part of your house. While it may not seem very important, it’s a key factor in helping to keep your floors looking great. You should try to keep the RH in your house between 35-45% all year round. What happens when you don’t? If you let the RH get too low, it will cause gaps in your floor and “crowning,” in which the edges of the boards go down. On the opposite end of the spectrum, letting your RH get too high results in “cupping,” in which the edges of the board curl up. You then can get “buckling,” which happens when the floor has expanded so much that it has nowhere to go but up. The whole reason to keep the RH consistent is to keep your floor as stable as possible, which will help keep your floor flat and even wearing. Remember, hardwood floors are a living product!
Keeping your floor clean will help prolong the life of the finish on your floor. How often should the floor be cleaned? For a family with kids and a dog, it might need to be cleaned every couple of days. On the other hand, once a week may be sufficient for a couple. Here’s how to clean your floor: 1) Use a hardwood dusting head, Swiffer, or the soft bristle hard surface attachment of your vacuum to remove any dust and dirt from the floor. 2) Use a micro fiber mop and hardwood natural cleaner to clean the floor. 3) Mist the floor with the cleaner. 4) Take a mop and go back and forth with the grain of the wood. If at all possible, let the floor dry before walking on it so you don’t leave any footprints.
Steam Mops are bad for your Floor
Who hasn’t seen the TV ads that say you can use their steam mops on hardwood? Steam mops are very bad for your floor because they add moisture to the floor, which can eventually break down the finish, causing gray wear spots, leaving the wood unprotected. This will cause your floor to wear faster than it should.
Recoating in its simplest definition is applying a fresh coat of finish to your hardwood floors. Before this can be done, all contaminates must be removed from the floor, and a light sanding done to remove any scratches in the finish. Doing this approximately every 5-7 years will help prolong the life of the floor before it requires you to have it refinished. If you’re not sure whether your floor needs to be recoated, contact a flooring expert to examine your floor and tell you if and when you should have your floor re- coated.
Placing rugs in high traffic areas and where there’s going to be moisture saves your floor and the finish. One of the best places to put a rug is by the door, because when you come inside, you have somewhere to wipe your feet or collect any moisture from snow and rain. Another great place to put a rug is in front of the kitchen sink. If you are washing or rinsing dishes that will go into the dishwasher, and some water drips off the dishes onto the floor, the rug will collect the water and keep it from sitting on your floor. The one thing you do need to be careful about with rugs is that you don’t allow them to sit on the floor if they are really wet. This can cause cupping, as well as softening of the finish, and possibly discoloration of the area.
Learn how to maintain and protect your hardwood floor, as well as how often it should be refinished.