Keep your hardwood floor working hard and looking even better with a few proactive measures

Though they never really went out of style, hardwood floors are regaining the reputation of bolstering a room from beautiful to stunning.

And if you take good care of your hard-working floors, they can keep your home sparkling well into their (and your) golden years.

The most important thing to do in taking care of your floors is to listen to whatever the manufacturer tells you in terms of cleaning and maintenance. Certain types of hardwood floors are best suited for different types of treatment.

However, there are some main rules of thumb that should be followed to maintain the floor’s quality and beauty.

First of all, it’s important to make sure that furniture is not the cause of nicks or scratches. “Make sure to put felt floor pads on the bottom of the feet of any furniture that will come into contact with the floor,” says Anita Howard, communications director of the National Wood Floor Association, located in Chesterfield, Mo.

Additionally, Howard points to metal sports cleats and high heels as potential destroyers of wood flooring. “Avoid people walking on the floor with spiked cleats and high heels when they are in disrepair. If the nail is poking through the rubber part of the heel, you might as well be hammering nails into your floor,” she says.

As far as day-to-day maintenance, vacuuming and dusting at least once a week is a must. Keeping the floors dry during the process is important as well. A deep clean about once a month is necessary, depending on the home lifestyle and how much foot traffic the floors see.

“Put a light mist of hardwood laminate and floor cleaner on a terry cloth or microfiber mop and lightly clean the floor that way,” says Eileen Hull, a representative with Lancaster, Pa.-based Armstrong, a manufacturer of floors, cabinets and ceilings.

In terms of decorating, it’s never a good idea to put hardwood floors in the bathroom, says David Kaplan, principal interior designer and owner of New York City-based David Kaplan Interior Design.

“Even though it could look good, I would avoid using hardwood floors in a bathroom,” says Kaplan. “The splash factor in bathrooms becomes an issue.”

Instead, he suggests putting hardwood floors in rooms that get less foot traffic, and where there is little to no liquid or food.

“I recommend hardwood floors in living spaces such as family rooms and bedrooms. It’s furthest away from foot traffic,” says Kaplan.

In order to curb dust in areas where hardwood floors are exposed to heavy foot traffic, Howard recommends scattering rugs where there is a lot of walking and where dust can pile up.

“There is nothing difficult about hardwood floor maintenance. All you have to do is when the floor starts to dull or you see you’ve got kid’s or pet’s footprints on the floor, go over it with wood cleaner as recommended by the manufacturer of your wood, or the installer,” says Howard.

“Routine maintenance requires nothing more than sweeping with a dry bristle broom or a dry dust mop.”

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