Got Hardwood Floors? 3 Ways to Keep Them Looking Good
Hardwood flooring adds beauty and value to any home, but proper maintenance is important to keep it looking it's best. Hardwood is known for being a tough and durable flooring option, but nonetheless, keeping it looking good takes some special care. Here are three ways that you can help your hardwood floor stay attractive for many years to come:
Indoor Moisture Levels
You probably already know that direct moisture such as flooding or spills is bad for hardwood flooring, but atmospheric moisture levels can have an effect as well. Too much humidity in the air can cause a condition called "cupping," which is basically just a result of wood's natural tendency to expand and contract with changes humidity and temperature levels. Cupping causes the floor to be uneven in places, which can pose a safety hazard for household residents. If indoor humidity levels are too low, however, the wood may crack and split apart at the individual seams.
- Be on the lookout for any changes in your hardwood flooring -- it's easier to fix problems such as warping and cracking if they're caught early.
- Keep humidity levels between 40-60 percent all year around for optimal protection.
Few things look lovelier than the sun shining on a glossy, newly installed hardwood floor -- but that same sunlight will slowly degrade the wood, causing discoloration over the course of time. Here's how to stop it from happening:
- Install UV-resistant window glass.
- Install UV-protective shades.
- Install window film -- a cheaper alternative than replacing existing window glass.
The first option is best for those who are having homes custom built or are doing an extensive home remodel. Opting for window film is recommended in existing structures, but it's also advisable to use UV-protective shades during the times of day when the sun's rays are at their strongest -- between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Whether you hire household help to perform cleaning chores or do it yourself, using cleaning products formulated specifically for hardwood floors will go a long way toward keeping your hardwood floors looking new. Avoid using products made with citrus, ammonia, or silicone -- these can damage the finish of your floor. Read labels carefully while in the store so that you make the right purchasing decisions on hardwood floor cleaning products.
Remember, hardwood flooring is an investment in your home, and practicing proper maintenance techniques will pay off in terms of both personal enjoyment of your interior living space and the overall value of your house.