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Are Hardwood Floors Hard to Maintain?

So you’re thinking about installing hardwood floors, but you’re not sure if the maintenance and care will be worth it.

Without proper and regular maintenance the flooring can quickly deteriorate and become damaged. We are here to help! It is super simple to maintain your floors once you know what you’re doing.

The care requirements of your hardwood floor depend on the wood used and the finish. The most common wood types are bamboo, oak, pine, maple, and beech. Each of these materials has a different level of resilience and has different needs.

The wood can come in strips, planks, wood tiles, or as a floating floor system. Floating systems cannot be refinished but all of the others can, and likely should be. 

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What are the pros and cons of hardwood flooring?

There is a certain aesthetic level that comes with the installation of hardwood flooring. It adds a warm and rustic feel to the home and matches well with a variety of furniture and design styles. This is because wood is fairly neutral and fits well into many different color schemes.

Wood is also a great insulator and traps heat inside a room. This means that if you are living in colder climates, hardwood flooring will help to keep you warm in the winter months. Hardwood floors are very durable and easy to maintain. They can be refinished regularly to improve their condition and lifespan.

They are also ideal for people suffering from allergies. This is because there are no fibers to trap dust and other irritants like in carpets. This gives for a much more satisfying cleaning experience.

The downside to hardwood flooring is that they are very susceptible to moisture damage. This means that it cannot be laid in rooms such as a bathroom or laundry room for fear that they will warp.

You will also need a level floor substructure to ensure the longevity of your flooring. Hardwood floors cannot be unlevel and will bend if the foundations are not flat. They are also very noisy and scratch-prone.

What is the best way to maintain hardwood floors?

To maintain hardwood floors correctly, there are a few steps that you should follow. The most important is to immediately clean up any spills on the floor. Spills contain moisture, which can seep into the wood fibers and case them to warp.

For this reason, you should always use dry cloths to clean up spills and never use a steam mop on the flooring. It is a good idea to keep the ambient temperature of your home between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and not allow wet shoes inside the house.

You should sweep your flooring every day. Dust forms from dead skin cells that fall off our bodies and this can begin to settle into the grains of the wood.

Daily removal of this means that it cannot build up and cause problems. We recommend supplementing this with a weekly vacuuming session too, to ensure no dirt is missed.

Every month you should deep clean your hardwood floor using a wood floor cleaner. This will allow you to clean the grooves and surface deeply, removing tough grime and bacteria.

You should also recoat your flooring every 3 - 5 years, and refinish it every 8 - 12 years.

You should always use pads underneath heavy items of furniture. This will prevent the surface from being scratched and damaged.

How many years do hardwood floors last?

With optimal care and maintenance, hardwood floors can last for many years, even centuries. The average lifespan of a hardwood floor is about 10 years.

They can last far past this point, but should be refinished at around this time to ensure consistent quality. This refinishing process will also help to protect the surface of the flooring from impact damage. Refinishing an entire room’s floor can take up to 5 days to complete.

The refinishing process gives you the look of a freshly laid hardwood floor. In between refinishing, you can opt to recoat the flooring. This reduces the frequency at which refinishing is needed and should be done every 3 - 5 years. Recoating is much cheaper than refinishing and should take a lot less time.

The way that you care for your floors dictates how long they will last. If you clean them regularly and immediately wipe up any spills, the flooring will maintain a lot of structural integrity.

Ensuring you install floor pads underneath heavy items of furniture and stop your pet’s claws from scratching the wood will only extend the lifespan of the flooring.

The lifespan of your hardwood flooring also depends on the amount of foot traffic that the flooring undergoes. The more people walk over the flooring, the faster it will begin to wear down.