Australian homeowners adore timber floors for their durability, low allergenic qualities and lovely, warm, lived-in patina. With a little regular care and maintenance, you can keep your timber floor’s finish looking beautiful for years to come. Here are our top 10 timber floor care tips to help you keep your sanded and stained timber floors in pristine condition.
How To Care For Wooden Floors
Timber Floor Care Tip #1: Keep Your Floors Free of Dust and Dirt
Keeping your timber floors as clean as possible will keep your floors sparkling and looking beautiful. It will also reduce the amount of scratches your timber floor receives from abrasive dust and dirt. To keep dust and surface dirt under control, clean your timber floorboards with a soft-bristled broom or vacuum cleaner once a week.
Timber Floor Care Tip #2: Mop Your Floor
For stubborn dirt that won’t lift with a broom or vacuum cleaner, an electrostatic mop is your best bet. Check first that your timber floor has not been waxed, as waxed floors should never be mopped. If your timber floors have been coated with a polyurethane finish, go ahead.
Here are some useful guidelines:
• Choose a soft, microfibre mop – A microfibre mop that has been thoroughly washed will not leave lint or scratch the timber.
• The ideal mopping solution for a timber floor – Mix cool to lukewarm water with a pH neutral floor cleaner. Avoid harsh acidic cleaners, such as bleach and vinegar, as these can damage certain timber finishes.
• Wring your mop well – Mop your timber floors with a barely damp mop to avoid flooding your timber floor with water. Using as little water as possible will help protect the moisture balance of the timber and prevent your floors from expanding and cupping.
• Never use a steam mop, furniture polish or abrasive household cleaning products – These can strip or peel the floor finish, allowing moisture to penetrate the floorboards.
Timber Floor Care Tip #3: Use Rugs
Small particles brought inside your home via shoes can scratch your timber floor over time. A simple way to stop dirt from entering your home? Place colour-fast, dirt trapping door mats inside and outside to limit the amount of sand, grit and mud carried inside and absorb any excess moisture.
In high traffic areas such as the kitchen and hallways, rugs can capture any extra dirt. Avoid using rugs with rubber backings, as these can stain and impact your timber coating. If you’ve recently applied a new floor finish, don’t lay your rugs out until the finish has fully hardened.
Timber Floor Care Tip #4: Add Protective Felt Pads To Furniture
Dragging heavy objects across your timber floor can scuff and dent the floorboards. All furniture placed on your timber floor should have high density protective felt pads to help protect against premature wear and scratches. We recommend placing these furniture pads on the undersides of tables, chairs and heavy furniture to reduce the risk of damaging the floor.
Avoid plastic or castor wheel use directly on the surface of your floor. Install protective, clear vinyl chair mats under any office chairs or castor wheels.
Timber Floor Care Tip #5: Protect Your Timber Floor From Sunlight
Although all timber floors fade or change colour over time, this process is accelerated by exposure to direct sunlight. UV light can often change the tone of a timber floor, especially in the first 6 months after installation. Protect your floor from direct sunlight with curtains, blinds or tinted windows. You may discover that your timber floor fades unevenly. To make sure this fade is evenly distributed, rotate your rugs on a weekly basis.
Timber Floor Care Tip #6: Protect Your Timber Floor From Spills
If you make a spill on your timber floor, wipe it up immediately with a dry soft cloth or dry paper towel. For sticky substances, moisten the cloth slightly.
Timber Floor Care Tip #7: Be Careful With Footwear
It’s a good idea to remove high heels or sharp footwear before walking on timber floorboards, as these can dent your hardwood floor’s surface. When in doubt, remove footwear before walking on your floor.
Timber Floor Care Tip #8: Trim Pets’ Claws Regularly
Pets with long nails or claws can scratch your timber floor and make your floor finish dull. Make sure pets’ nails or claws are trimmed regularly and kept blunt.
Timber Floor Care Tip #9: Move Heavy Appliances Carefully
Avoid sliding or dragging furniture or appliances into place across the surface of your floor. If you need to move heavy appliances in your home, try laying down two rigid protective sheets of MDF or masonite to protect your floor’s surface.
Place your heavy appliance on the first MDF or masonite sheet. Push the appliance onto the second sheet, ‘leapfrogging’ as you move the appliance to the correct position. This ensures your heavy appliance will not drag across or damage your timber floor.
Timber Floor Care Tip #10: Get A Professional To Coat Your Floors For A Professional Even Finish
Your timber’s coating provides crucial protection for your timber floor, protecting the wood from scratches, spills, and wear and tear. If you’re moving into a new home with timber flooring, be sure to check which finish the floors have, as this will impact what finish you’ll need to apply in future. It’s important to recoat your timber soon after it starts to show dull spots and signs of wear.
If you’re building a new home, you’ll have the choice of using an oil-based, water-based polyurethane or a solvent-based polyurethane coating on your timber floors. Once you choose, you’ll need to consistently apply the same type of coating.
If your floors have an oil-based coating, we recommend re-coating your floor every three years to keep it protected. In contrast, water-based and solvent-based coatings are more durable and depending on use you will need a buff and recoat every 5 – 7 years.
To keep your floor looking its best in the long-term, you’ll need to hire a professional to fully sand and refinish your floors once every 7 to 10 years.
Interested in sanding or staining your timber floor to keep it pristine or repair the damage? Brisbanes Finest Floors recommends enlisting the help of a qualified flooring professional with expertise in timber floor care. Get in touch with us today on 0411 220 488.