Caring for a natural hardwood floor need not require a lot of effort when it comes to everyday cleaning and care, but it does require a bit of initial work in order to set it up for long term use. Taking time to prepare your hardwood flooring will result in easier everyday cleaning and will keep it looking great for years to come. Read on for a two step program that will result in great looking hardwood flooring.
Step 1: Priming, painting, varnishing & staining
Priming the wood
Most hardwood floors come pre-primed, but if the wood has not been primed you will need to do so in order to prepare the floor for painting, varnishing or staining. Do not skip on priming prior to painting or varnishing, as priming coats the surface of wood making it less porous. This step ensures that the wood will not suck up as much varnish or paint, and as primer is less costly than paint or varnish, doing so will actually save on cost. Coating the surface of the wood with primer will also hold the paint and varnish better, stopping the paint or varnish from easily peeling off.
Painting, varnishing or staining the wood
Painting, varnishing or staining your floor will improve its longevity, as well as its appearance. Make sure that you paint, varnish or stain the outer side of the hardwood flooring first, in order to create a neat finish, and then wait for it to dry before moving onto the main body of the floor. For the most durable and attractive finish, make sure that you apply two coats of paint, varnish or stain.
Step 2: General care
Use a vacuum to clean
Use a vacuum instead of a broom whenever possible. Vacuuming insures that all dirt and debris, no matter how small, is sucked up into the vacuum. This will help prevent your floor becoming scored, scratched, or impregnated by dirt.
Use the correct cleaning materials
Never clean with any solvents that are not specifically designed for hardwood floors, as they can permanently damage the wood. Clean with products tailored for hardwood floors, making sure not to overly wet the flooring whilst cleaning.
Use rugs and mats
Use rugs and mats in high traffic areas, such as entrances and hallways. This will help cut down on the damage that can be done to your floor.
Avoid waxes and oils
Waxes and oils may seem an appropriate way to care for your hardwood flooring, but in actuality they will cause a build up over time and eventually dull the surface. They will also make refinishing the floor difficult when it comes time to re-varnish or re-paint.
Make sure that you do not wear high heels on your hardwood floor as this can damage the surface. Heels can easily scratch and score the surface.
Keep pets nails short
Trim your pets nails, so that they do not mark or score the surface of the floor.
Do not overly polish
Make sure that you do not polish your wooden floor too much, for although it may result in an attractive appearance, it can make the floor dangerously slippery.
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