Hardwood flooring came into existence in the 1600s. Wood began to be used for flooring as unfinished planks and later turned into French parquetry and marquetry patterns. They were polished, stained and sand-rubbed and meticulously handcrafted for royal clients. Hardwood flooring progressed through the Victorian era (1840-1910) when European parquet floors began to be seen in wealthy American homes.
Today, the global hardwood flooring market has reached a value of $43.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% during 2021 to 2026. It has a high density and complex structure and is produced in multiple cuts, styles, colors and species. America is one of the few countries where wood is the dominant material in home construction.
Studies from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that 90% of homes built in 2019 were wood-framed. So, it is necessary to take care, especially hardwood floors, since every season brings new problems- winters come with snow and salt, summer with chlorine and saltwater and spring with dirt and rain. Here’s how.
1. The Right Cleaning Tools
Hardwood comes in a wide variety of wood species, from dramatic exotics to traditional ones that can easily complement any décor or design style. Cleaning this floor will need sweeping with soft bristle brushes every day to remove surface dust and dirt. A dry or slightly damp microfiber cloth dipped in warm water is necessary to wipe what you spill to reduce stains or marks. Try to avoid mops since they damage the floor over time. Harsh chemicals are not recommended that build up over 6 months to a year. Do not use any product that promises to ‘shine’, ‘rejuvenate’ or ‘revitalize the floor’. Gentle wooden floor cleaning sprays work well.
2. DIY Cleaning Solutions
A survey on Household Cleaning Habits Across the US found that half of the American homes are mostly clean. About 1 in 4 make sure to clean at least once a day. In fact, the global floor cleaner market has projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.88% to reach a market value of $20.46 billion over the forecasted period of 2020-2030. The do-it-yourself trend especially became popular amid the COVID times to cut costs or avoid stepping outside to buy products. The best floor cleaners for the following kinds of woods could be water and vinegar, plant-based liquid soap, vinegar and water, essential oils with vinegar and vinegar and vegetable oil. Natural ingredients are safer for children, seniors, pets and anyone who is sensitive and allergic to scents.
3. Avoid Dragging Heavy Objects
A useful way to ensure durability is to avoid moving heavy furniture across the floor. Rips or scratches can ruin the entire look of your home and affect the resale value. So before shifting couches, bookshelves, boxes or beds, see if you can lift and carry them. This is vital since dragging on hardwood can cause scuffing. Try to disassemble furniture, if possible, to lighten the weight and pick up individual pieces. Consider padding the floor with towels or special carpets beforehand. You can also place sliders to move the items easily. Else, simply work with professional movers to avoid all the hassle.
4. Weekly Vacuum
This makes sure any crumbs that were missed while sweeping are picked up. Both canister and stick vacuums offer 2-brush attachments. The best one suitable for the wooden floor has a parquet brush that has long soft hair and leaves no scratches. Try not to reuse the vacuum bags since this can cut down efficiency by up to 50%.
Adjust the vacuum’s height as you move from carpet to hardwood since appropriate adjustments make a great difference in the cleanliness of different surfaces. Go slow and clean in two directions for best results.
5. Recoat the Floor
Hardwood floors start to appear dull after 4-5 years. It will acquire subtle shadings of color, small scratches and nicks and dents. While these add to the unique character and aesthetics, taking good care is mandatory. Apply a coat of finish to bring back life and luster. For oil finished floors, use more oil to reduce the appearance of marks. Lacquered finishes will need slight sanding followed by more lacquer to revive the look. You can consider collaborating with floor experts to avoid any mishaps or errors.
Hardwood is sourced from flowering trees like maple, teak, oak, balsa and walnut. Every plank or strip comes in distinct patterns, grains and colors. Putting the above-mentioned tips into action can help maintain the surface covering.