Five things to think about caring for hardwood flooring
Hardwood flooring is just like anything else. The better you take care of it, the better, and longer, it will last. Yes, there can be a little sticker shock in the beginning, but when you look at the overall picture, such as they can last for decades and might even look better with age, that concern will diminish.
Also, they increase your home’s value. First, if you replace your flooring with hardwood, expect to recoup 70% to 80% of your investment, as reflected in your home’s valuation. Second, buyers will often pay up to 2.5% and over for a home with wood floors. Third, there’s just the visual appeal.
There are two kinds of hardwood: solid flooring and engineered wood. Solid is one species all the way through the plank and can be seriously damaged by water. Engineered is a combination of real wood with some other materials, placed in a crisscross construction to give it more stability and water-resistance.
Easy to care for, but consider this:
- Prevention is better than treatment. If you let a small water puddle sit, or if you see small scratches, but don’t get even the simplest refinishing, it will turn into something major. For instance, the water can eventually warp it, or most scratches start in the veneer, but can go into the wood.
- Water is public enemy #1 when it comes to this flooring. Solid hardwood fares the worst and can be damaged beyond repair.
- Engineered is more stable and can handle water better, but you still should wipe spills immediately and keep excess liquid away.
- Use some common, every day, simple maintenance rules, such as placing mats at entryways and in front of sinks; keeping pets claws trimmed; avoid wearing high heels on the floor; and use furniture pads so they don’t cause scratches and dents, especially if you move them.
- Sweep and vacuum often, but remove beater bars, which are those rotating brushes. Soil and dirt can act like little razor blades and scratch up the floor.
- If the floor does get wet from, say, a flood, don’t panic, but do remember that time is of the essence. Use towels to dry the floor as thoroughly as you can. Remove any wet items near or on it, such as rugs. Clean and disinfect the floor to remove bacteria and prevent mold growth. Open windows, use fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners. Sometimes water can hide under a plank so consider having an expert look at it.