As timber floors have grown in popularity, so has the advice and products surrounding exactly how you should clean and maintain them. Not only that, timber species differ in colour and hardness, and coatings and floor finishes vary which means the methods of maintenance and the cleaning products that can be used is also different. It’s no wonder that timber floor owners get confused!
But one thing is certain – timber floors benefit greatly from regular care, which not only keeps their finish looking great, it will extend the life of your timber floors for many years to come. Here are our tops tips for timber floor care.
Timber Floors Require Ongoing Maintenance
Timber ﬂoors are generally easy to maintain, however there a number of things that can compromise timber floor finishes including sand or grit that has been bought into the house via footwear. These small particles act a bit like sandpaper that can result in unsightly scratches. Mats placed inside and outside external doors can effectively reduce grit from entering your home (as can removing your shoes before you enter), and in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, rugs are particularly beneficial for timber floor maintenance.
Other natural enemies to a wooden floor are extremes in humidity and temperature and direct sunlight. Intense sunlight, in particular, can contribute to gapping and the possible cupping of boards (where the floorboard’s edges are higher than the centre ones), and sunlight can also accelerate the tones and darkening process of certain floor finishes. Curtains, blinds, patio roofs and awnings that filter sunlight can be effective in slowing this process down.
Additional strategies to adopt in caring for your timber floor include wiping up spills immediately, placing floor protectors on furniture feet, keeping pet’s nails trimmed and removing your high heels before walking on a timber floor.
Although a ﬂoor may be walked on after the initial hardening of your newly finished floor’s coating, some precautions are still necessary. The curing process may take days to several weeks depending on the coating option chosen and the weather conditions at the time of application, and the use of the ﬂoor before the full cure has been realised can result in an increased tendency for scufﬁng and scratching.
To help maintain your timber floor, rugs should not be laid until after the floor finish has fully hardened, and rugs with rubber backings should never be used as these tend to stain and affect the applied coatings.
While light furniture can be replaced and used during this period, protection pads should be attached to the feet of furniture and furniture should be lifted and not slid across the floor. Chairs with ball castors should also not be used until the finish has hardened as they can indent softer timbers and cause premature wear.
Heavy items such as fridges should be moved carefully into position and at no time should they be dragged over either newly ﬁnished or fully cured floors. You should also avoid walking on newly finished floors with sports shoes or high heels.
Timber Floors Require Regular Cleaning
Establishing a regular cleaning program will greatly assist in keeping your wooden ﬂoors in pristine condition, and there are many aspects that affect how often you should clean your floors. These include the degree of grit present, the level and type of foot traffic and the general conditions of the area outside your house.
Regular timber floor care can be done with an antistatic mop as it provides an effective means of collecting grit and dust – continually walking on a dirty floor will quickly damage the finish. Timber floors can also be swept or vacuumed, however, brushes on vacuum cleaners should be regularly checked to ensure that they’ve not worn thin. Contact with the metal head on your timber floors can result in scratches, so soft head vacuum cleaners are recommended.
Timber floors can also benefit from a damp mopping on a fortnightly to monthly basis. This provides an effective deep clean and should be undertaken with a neutral PH wood floor cleaner or a product recommended by the finish manufacturer. Steam cleaning is not recommended as it can cause finishes to peel, whiten and/or cloud.
Take Care When Using Cleaning Products
Scuff marks and stubborn stains can sometimes be removed with a light rubbing using a wood floor cleaner, but it is always recommended that you test run an isolated area of your wooden floor to verify the cleaner’s compatibility with your floor’s coating.
In terms of general timber floor care, however, you should really only use cleaners that are recommended by your timber floor manufacturer as coating properties vary widely between timber floors. As a general rule, NEVER use bleaches, harsh detergents, abrasive cleaners, turpentine, kerosene, steel wool or abrasive cloths on your wooden floors.
How Can The Professionals Help?
Timber floors are subject to different ‘wear patterns’, however, it’s in areas of higher wear that your floor will show signs of needing professional maintenance. In terms of timber floor maintenance, some floors may just need a polish to enhance their appearance, and others may need sanding and recoating in order to restore them to their former glory.
As a proud family owned and operated family business, Brisbanes Finest Floors has been operating for over 20 years, is a member of the Australian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) and fully licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). Meaning? We know timber floors!
Are your timber floors looking a little worse for wear? Contact the experts at Brisbanes Finest Floors today on 0411 220 488.