Today's Prefinished wood floorings are easier than ever to keep clean, needing only minimal care to keep looking good, year after year. Here's a few simple cleaning and preventive maintenance tips for hardwood, cork and bamboo floorings with urethane finishes.
- First, vacuuming, dust-mop or sweeping regularly is the best way to remove surface dust, grit and dirt before it gets walked into the finish, dulling the luster. Vacuuming also pulls accumulated dust from the grooves between factory finished and plank floors. Sand particles are very destructive and are really tiny pieces of glass, like sandpaper ready to scratch the finish. When vacuuming, soft attachment parts are recommended. It's best to avoid the notorious beater-bar. Its spinning bristles can scratch or generate enough heat to permanently leave hot-spot marks on the finish
If you do have scratches, quite often minor ones can be concealed using liquid scratch covers, sprays or lotions. Dents and nicks can be filled using wood floor repair kits (Touch-up markers, epoxy fill sticks or wax color pencils) usually available at your local home store. If your floor is severely damaged you can consult a professional about refinishing, or perhaps just an individual board replacement may be all that's needed. Scratching and denting of installed flooring while unfortunate is beyond a manufacturer's ability to control therefore not considered a product defect. Interestingly, the purpose of today's urethane top-finishes serves the same function as waxed floors did in the old days in that finishes are intended to take the abuse first, thereby protecting the actual wood. Therefore, as unsightly as scratches are the urethane top-finishes are actually working as intended... protecting your investment.
- Secondly, remember that wood and water does not mix well. So never pour water directly onto your floor or wet mop the floor like you would ceramic tiles. Even small amounts of water can cause hard water spots, clouding or deterioration to the finish or edge cup the wood. When selecting maintenance products, please note the labeling instructions. Only use products specifically designed or safe for urethane finished floors. Note that some cleaners may interfere with future re-coating such as waxes and oil soaps. The application is also important as many cleaners will direct you to apply the cleaner to the applicator first then the floor, rather than directly to the floor. You must adhere to the manufacturer's labeling directions for their warranty.
- Lastly, protect your floors by using chair leg protectors and walk-off mats or throw-rugs just inside the entrances. Choose non-solvent, felt or plant based products. Do not use synthetic rubber or plastic backed mats as trace chemicals can attack, discolor, yellow or fade the finish. These types of mats often react negatively exposed to direct UV light. Some non-slip padding's placed under throw-rugs may also contain plasticizers harmful to urethane finishes.
Please see our Flooring 101 for more installation details and how to get the most from your new flooring.