Caring for timber flooring

Proper care is essential to keep your timber floor looking spectacular for years to come. Fortunately, the basic steps you need to take to keep these durable natural surfaces clean and healthy are simple. 

Protect your floor

A coat of varnish will help keep your floor safe from scuffing, staining and discolouration -- but be sure that it's completely dry before you return furniture to the room. Allow 48 hours for your varnish to dry, then put furniture and rugs back in place. Fit furniture legs with protectors to reduce wear and scratching. Door mats will help preserve your floor by trapping dust, grit and moisture, preventing scratching; if you don't have them, a new timber floor is a strong incentive to get some. In addition to scratching, sun is the major cause of damage to timber floors; rotate rugs and furniture frequently to prevent fading in some areas and shade in others. 

Clean regularly

You should give your timber floor a basic cleaning once a week. Remove dirt and dust from your timber floor using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush head or electrostatic attachment. Alternatively, sweep the surface regularly with an electrostatic mop or very soft broom. Catch spills immediately and clean the area gently with a soft cloth. This should account for most staining. If you have persistent sticky stains or dirt, however, you'll need to mop the surface. 

Mop gently and carefully

Too much water can damage a timber floor, as can harsh cleaning solutions. Before mopping a timber floor, wring out your mop until it's barely wet, then mop gently along the grain of the wood. Mopping along the grain helps pick up dirt and dust that could otherwise become trapped there. Avoid acidic cleaning solutions, which can discolour your floor; instead, use soap labelled as safe for wood floors. Test your mop on an out-of-the-way patch before cleaning; harsh fibres can scratch your floor. 

Expect some wear

No matter how hard your timber floor is, it will gradually wear and dent as high heels, pets, furniture legs and grit take their toll. This is perfectly normal and will occur with any natural material. If you need to restore your floor's appearance, you can refinish it. This is an involved process -- you'll need to sand off the upper layer of the wood and apply a new coat of varnish -- and should probably be handled by a professional unless you have experience in the field. However, it can bring back your floor's brand-new appearance, extending its lifespan by years. 

If your timber floors are looking too worn to just refinish, and your looking to replace them, get in touch with a local company like Sebastian's Carpet Court, and then use these tips to keep them healthier looking longer.