If you were building your dream home today, what kind of flooring would you install?
According to a National Wood Flooring Association survey, just more than half of homeowners – 52 percent – say they currently have hardwood somewhere in their homes. But when you ask them what kind of flooring they would install in their dream home, two-thirds say hardwood floors. That includes 81 percent of current hardwood flooring owners, with the most common reasons given being it’s durable, easy to clean, and attractive in every room in the home.
While those numbers are based on averages from homeowners across the country, we would bet the statistics actually rise here in Colorado. Coloradans love hardwood. Maybe it’s because we’re right at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The idea of a mountain retreat is appealing to us because it’s our normal. The scent of pinewood, the look and feel of pine throughout a home, even adding another log to the fireplace are high up on our wishlist.
If you’re changing out the flooring in your home, and wondering if hardwood is the way to go, even a little bit of research online might leave you confused and overwhelmed. Do a quick search and you’ll find articles touting all kinds of issues with installing a hardwood floor. You find articles on:
- How difficult it is keeping hardwood floors clean
- Why hardwood flooring is a bad choice in busy households
- Why hardwood flooring is fragile, dents easily, and is a wrong choice in homes with pets and kids
Of course, it’s easy to start questioning everything when you read these words of advice.
But before you form your own opinion, especially if you’ve never lived with hardwood floors before, we suggest you stop by and speak with an expert to learn more before you make your final choice.
What can you do to make hardwood floors look their best?
Clean up spills quickly
In many cases, what turns people off of hardwood flooring is the look and feel of hardwood after spills penetrate the wood.
Because wood swells and shrinks depending on moisture levels, both on the wood itself and in the air, it’s important to keep moisture at steady levels all throughout the year. If moisture seeps in between cracks in the planks, and slips down into the subfloor, it can quickly start to damage the wood. Swelling, expanding, contracting, warping and more can occur rapidly once moisture impacts the wood.
That’s also a reason to ban wet shoes at the door. Set up a mat as soon as you enter and require all shoes to be left at the door. That creates less of a mess throughout your home, and prevents water from accumulating in small puddles without you noticing.
Water and hardwood can also cause another potential problem – slip hazards. Water puddling combined with a hard lacquer finish can make the flooring slippery. This is especially dangerous on staircases or areas where the potential of falling increases.
Sweep and dust daily
Cleaning daily may seem a bit excessive, but it’s a great way to ensure the look and feel of hardwood floors stays in top condition.
Even if you’re a “no shoes” household, dust, tiny rocks, and other particles can easily make their way into your home and onto your floors. Baking cookies? What happens when a little bit of sugar spills underneath your feet? It’s easy for fine particles to be ground into the finish, dulling the look. You might not notice one or two tiny scratches, but over time, they can have a heavy impact on the finish or your flooring.
It doesn’t take much to run a broom or swiffer across the hardwood once a day to pick up these small amounts of dust and remove them from the finish.
Then once a week, go for the deeper clean. Run a vacuum over it and pick up things you missed. Be careful about using a wet mop as too much moisture on hardwood can quickly cause damage.
Use furniture pads
Scratches are one of the biggest problems for hardwood flooring. Those tiny scratches quickly add up, and can mar the look of your floors.
While some scratches are inevitable, others are preventable. Be aware of what items in your home have the potential for causing the greatest damage.
If you have island chairs, a breakfast nook, or dining room chairs, they will be pulled out and used every day. Adding furniture pads to the legs will help buffer the potential of damage caused by daily use.
Don’t ignore sofas, tables, and other furniture with tiny wooden or metal legs. These furniture pieces may be stationary, but it’s possible to bump them and have them move even a fraction at a time. Because of their weight, they can produce severe damage to the flooring underneath, especially if you bump and move the item regularly. You’ll notice it when you move the piece and add something new, or redecorate and change things up.
Use approved floor cleaners only
You want clean floors. You find a product at your favorite market that promises clean wood floors. What could be wrong with picking up this product for weekly use?
Many of the products on the market contain chemicals and other by-products not meant for use on wood floors – even if they state they’re safe for wood floor use. If you use the wrong product, you can damage your floors, and possibly null and void the warranty that came with your flooring.
Before you select a cleaning product, check with your flooring’s manufacturer first.
Schedule refinishing every three to five years
A single homeowner who travels a lot is different from a busy family with lots of kids and pets. Only you know how much activity your floors see on a daily basis.
With that in mind, schedule refinishing every few years to keep your floors looking good, and ensure they have a protective layer that helps prevent spills from penetrating. This will ensure the wood underneath lasts for years, and continues to look good no matter how often you change your decor.