Wood floors have come a long way since the days of labor-intensive waxing. These tips will help you keep your wood flooring in tip-top shape.
- New urethane finishes require nothing more than sweeping, and manufacturers advise against using wax products. Simply sweep, vacuum, or dust-mop at least once a week to minimize damage caused by dirt, sand, and grit. (Dirt particles act like sandpaper, scratching and dulling wood floors.)
- Place rugs or floor mats at entrances to trap dirt, and shake them out frequently.
- Use a broom with fine, exposed ends to trap grit.
- When vacuuming, use a brush attachment; beater bars can dent a floor's finish.
- Wipe up spills and foot tracks as they happen. If your finish is in good shape, you can lightly damp-mop the floor using a neutral-pH wood cleaner or products recommended by the flooring manufacturer.
- Urethane-finished floors in high-traffic areas may need to be recoated every 3 to 5 years. This involves cleaning and lightly abrading the old surface before applying fresh coats of urethane. Recoating should be done by a flooring professional.
- Floors treated with a penetrating finish should be swept and kept clear of dirt, also. Tung oil may need to be reapplied every 5 to 10 years, or it can be applied just in high-traffic areas.
- You can wax a floor treated with tung oil. If you do, though, never use water on it, and avoid spills; water will leave white spots. A waxed floor will need to be stripped and rewaxed once or twice a year.
- Don't wear spiky high heels, golf shoes, or any other shoes with exposed nails or cleats. They will likely dent and damage the floor. Put felt contacts under furniture legs to prevent scratches. For the same reason, you might want to be extra-vigilant about trimming your dog's nails regularly.