Having hardwood floor is every homeowner’s dream, but this flooring choice comes with a unique set of challenges. Before you make the leap, learn the pros and cons of hardwood and the do’s and don’ts of hardwood floor cleaning.
Pros of Hardwood Floors
- Good looks: There’s no more ubiquitously desirable flooring material than hardwood. Its addition is sure to make your home look more beautiful, and with so many wood species and finishes to choose from, you can customize the look to perfectly match your tastes.
- Home value: Hardwood floors are near the top of many homebuyers’ wish lists. For this reason, you can count on the addition increasing your home’s value if you ever decide to sell.
- Durability: Century-old homes often still have the original hardwood floors intact. Even if they look a little worse for wear, you can always restore them with a little sanding and refinishing.
- Great for allergy sufferers: Hardwood is much friendlier to allergy sufferers than wall-to-wall carpeting. Pet dander, dust and other allergens are easy to sweep away when you have hardwood floors.
Cons of Hardwood Floors
- High cost: Hardwood is among the more expensive flooring materials you can choose from.
- Less dog friendly: Dogs prefer carpet over hard floors for traction when they take off running. If you have wood floors, your dog will slip and slide everywhere while playing fetch, which could end with him getting hurt. Long claws can also scratch up hardwood.
- Higher maintenance requirements: Dirt and dust show up faster on hardwood than on carpet, so you’ll need to sweep and dry mop often to keep the floor looking clean. Shoes, furniture, and rambunctious kids and pets can also scratch the floor, forcing you to eventually refinish it.
- Noise: While carpet absorbs sound, making a room feel cozy, hardwood echoes. This can make your home feel cavernous. Upholstered furniture and rugs help absorb sound, but as they age, wood floorboards often become squeaky, causing your house to creak as people walk around.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts
- DO keep a mat at the entrance to your home and ask guests to remove their shoes. This keeps dirt to a minimum.
- DO vacuum and sweep the floor often to prevent dirt from building up and scratching the wood.
- DON’T use a bucket of sudsy water to mop hardwood floors. This method is fine for linoleum tile and laminate flooring, but it could permanently damage wood floors.
- DO mop with a mixture of 1/2 to 1 cup white vinegar and one gallon warm water. Work in small sections, wiping the floor with a slightly damp cleaning cloth and drying it immediately with a cotton towel. You can also use a specific wood floor cleaner if the smell of vinegar bothers you.
- DO buff bare hardwood floors (the ones that lack a waxed or epoxy finish) to restore the wood’s natural luster. If buffing doesn’t work, apply a wood cleaner like Murphy’s oil soap cleaner and a liquid wax made specifically for wood floors.
- DON’T apply oil, wood polish or wax to Swedish finish floors. These are covered in an epoxy resin that don’t benefit from these cleaning products. In fact, applying oil, polish or wax could make your floors dangerously slippery and possibly even harm the wood surface, depending on the chemicals found in the cleaning product.
- DON’T soak your floor with water or cleaning solutions. This could cause the wood to warp. Also, always wipe up any water or cleaner immediately to prevent water spots.
- DO contact a professional hardwood finishing company to reapply the Swedish finish when the floor starts to lose its luster.
- DO double check with the hardwood manufacturer for cleaning tips and follow their instructions for the best results.
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