Thinking of installing wood floors in your home? Wood floors can change the dynamic and atmosphere of any room or an entire home altogether. Light woods such as ash and maple can take a small area and bring the illusion of a larger, more open space. Perfect for living areas or dens, medium woods such as hickory or oak typically bring a cozy, by-the-fire sensation to a room. Want to feel ornate and glamorous? Dark woods such as walnut and mahogany will make your room appear grand and opulent.
Your desire and creativity are near boundless with more than 50 species of domestic and imported woods to choose from. You can create a mood and atmosphere specific to your needs. But what of the maintenance involved in having wood floors? You’ve decided on where, what and how much wood floor, but now... How do you take care of it? What will most likely be a huge focal point in your rooms, while beautiful, wood flooring carries many responsibilities one must be aware of before making any final decisions. Let’s explore two of the most common issues you might want to shed light on before jumping into the wood pile. (Ouch!)
Wood Floors & Your Pets
Chances are you own a pet. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet. Owning an indoor pet is definitely something to take into account before installing hardwood floors in your home. While wood is durable and is made to last long periods of time, it’s the wood’s finish you need to be weary of as your floors will lose the war against your pet’s nails. One solution to combat this issue is to purchase and disperse area rugs in common, high-traffic areas used by your pet. After just a quick web search and browsing popular online home decor shops, scatter rugs will cost you upwards of $300, depending on the size of the rug. Of course, there are cheaper options available if you’re looking to cover less square footage. Ideally, we want to show off our beautiful floors, not cover them up with rugs.
Scratches and chipping will most likely occur. If it becomes a big issue or is something that’s generating a lot of anxiety in your decision to purchase and install wood flooring, contact your local contractor or local hardwood supplier. They will be able to provide you with better recommendations to fit your specific needs concerning the wood species, its finish and your pet. Your pet is a member of the family and deserves the same amount of respect and consideration in making decisions about renovating your home.
Cleaning & Maintaining Wood Floors
Let’s set the mood: it’s been a couple of weeks, and your solid wood cherry floors have been installed and finished. They’re sparkling in the reflection of your recessed lighting. You are basking in the natural, ethereal beauty emitting from the wood when you hear the mudroom door fly open with a thud and a clatter. Your children are back from soccer practice, and your spouse forgot to make sure they removed their cleats before entering the door. Oh! A modern day travesty! Your brand-new wood floors covered in scuff marks and pieces of earth. Fear not and do not distress, reader. We not only have the power and durability of hardwood on our side, but also effortless remedies needed to keep your floors looking brand new.
How are we going to accomplish cleaning up this nasty mess? The daunting act alone shrouds us in fear that we’re going to have to invest in special cleaners or equipment to care for hardwood floors. However, owning a broom, vacuum or dry mop should be sufficient. Regularly sweeping or vacuuming with the raise beater bar (the rotating-brush unit within the powerhead of a vacuum cleaner) is all you need to do. Simple as that! When it comes to mopping, you’re going to want to avoid using a wet mop and water. Water and steam can dull the wood’s finish over time or possibly even damage the wood.
You can help combat the spreading of dirt into your home by placing area rugs at every entrance. Keep clear of rugs or mats with a rubbing back as this might damage and cause discoloration to the wood over time. There are special mats and rugs that can be purchased from your local hardwood supplier that will help in retaining the quality of your floors. You might also want to consider investing in floor protectors to place under your heavier pieces of furniture.
Spills are a breeze to clean up on wood floors. Just be on alert and ready to clean the spill in a timely manner with a damp cloth. If you allow the spill to sit for too long it can damage and stain your wood floor, so work quickly. Remember our scenario and the stampede of cleated feet on the hardwood? We want to avoid this entirely along with high heels or any shoe that looks like it could possibly scuff, scrape or dent the floor.
You cannot escape time, and eventually your floors will also lose their illustrious shine. Thankfully, there is a bountiful collection of different types of wood floor cleaners that you can choose from to help keep your floors looking showroom ready. Be mindful of what type and species of wood floor you own before purchasing a cleaner. Use the product as directed as misuse might cause damage to the finish or, worse, the wood itself.
Owning wood floors might seem like a daunting task, but that is far from the truth. “It’s easier than having carpet!”, my sister says when asked how she feels about having hardwood floors in her home. With a little research and a little maintenance, you can have beautiful hardwood floors just like the ones featured all over Pinterest.