One of the most overlooked aspects of interior design is the flooring you choose to adorn your home. While it’s something that many people think doesn’t matter or only serves to absorb the rigors of daily life, a quality choice of flooring can add a ton of value to your home in terms of both aesthetic appeal and longevity.
One of the most popular choices in terms of both aesthetics and longevity is oak flooring, which has a very clean and tidy look that can really elevate any room in the home.
Oak doesn’t only look good either but as a hardwood, it’s a very tough and durable material that can last a very long time if looked after correctly, typically lasting much longer than carpets or laminate flooring which can wear down over time and become discolored or loose.
However, if you choose an oak floor you will have a floor that will, providing you take a few steps to care for it and make sure it’s well looked after.
In this article, we’re going to look at how to best protect your oak floor and ensure that your investment in a quality floor surface lasts and continues to pay dividends for as long as possible.
The first and most important thing to know if you want to protect your oak floor is to clean it the correct way, which includes finding the right products; for instance, some folks thing using Windex for your flooring is a great option, but find out the dangers of using it here.
Many people think that because oak is a tough material and doesn’t show marks very easily that it doesn’t require much care or maintenance.
While this is often true for a time, to keep your floor looking its best it’s necessary as with many things for the occasional bit of maintenance, and a part of that process involves keeping the floor clean.
One of the best ways to keep your oak floor clean is to dry sweep it fairly regularly and vacuum on a regular basis, especially in areas of heavy use such as hallways, entrance halls, kitchens, or porches.
These are all areas where dirt, grease, grime, oil, and all kinds of particles can quickly accumulate, and while it may not be noticeable at first, all of this will gradually build up and slowly work its way into the wood and the microscopic gaps within it to cause discoloration and damage over time.
Even properly treated oak floors with protective wax can be worn down by this type of dirt and heavy use, meaning that preventing this build-up of common dirt from regular use will extend the life and quality of your floor a staggering amount and this is great because it doesn’t even require very much effort or expense.
A top tip here is to make sure you aren’t rough with your vacuum on wooden surfaces, as it can be easy to scuff or damage the wooden surface or remove protective coatings and treatments designed to keep the wood looking good for longer. Avoiding overuse of hoovers is as important to keep your floor in good condition as anything else.
Occasionally using a dedicated wooden floor cleaner will also help to remove scuffs and marks on the surface, and these are specially designed to be pH balanced and not damage the top coating of the floor to keep it protected while cleaning it effectively.
Can you mop oak flooring?
This is a contentious point among owners of hardwood floors, and there is some debate over whether wet mops or any sort of water should be used on wooden flooring.
The obvious reason for this is that water makes wood swell up, and the harsh chemicals used to mop floors can sometimes cause damage to the protective layer that most hardwood or oak floors are covered in to help protect the wood underneath.
Others say that nothing cleans an oak floor better than a mop and soapy water, and while it may be true to some extent that a deep clean requires water and soap, this type of harsh cleaning can damage your floor particularly if it isn’t properly treated or is being mopped repeatedly.
The best solution and compromise is to use a dedicated wood cleaning solution that is properly balanced to clean oak and hardwood floors without risking them swelling up from exposure to water, and without damaging the top coating.
What oil do you use?
Once your floor is properly cleaned, or if it’s starting to look a bit worn after many years of use, a little oil can really liven up and rejuvenate your floor bringing the rich and pleasant colors of the oak back to their very best.
There are several oils that are ideal for use on oak floors, however, some of the best options are hard wax oil, water-based polyurethane, or products such as Osmo’s Polyx-Oil which is one of the best hard wax oil products available and will not only liven up your floor but will help protect it from wearing down and becoming dirty in the long run which will help preserve its color if applied at the correct intervals.
How do you rejuvenate oak flooring?
To liven up your floor you should follow all of the steps we’ve highlighted above. First clean your floor with a soft, dry sweep brush, and then clean it with a dedicated oak or hardwood cleaning solution to remove ingrained dirt and grease.
Then apply your favorite hard wax oil or a water-based polyurethane treatment, as both of these will bring that rich oak color back to the surface and prevent dirt and water from causing the floor to lose its color and become damaged by water or other potential sources of damage or warping.