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Among all the various flooring materials available for residential and commercial use, hardwood flooring is the easiest to maintain, and inherently the most attractive. Though oak and maple are the most common hardwoods for flooring, ash, beech, cherry and walnut have become quite popular, as well; each has its own unique look and appeal. With appropriate attention paid to simple maintenance, to effective hardwood floor care, a well-constructed and properly finished hardwood floor will last nearly forever.
The first step in proper hardwood floor care would be to protect the floor’s finish. Grit, sand, and dirt are anathema to a hardwood finish. Placing a small rug or mat at the entrance to a room will catch much of the grit and dirt before it even reaches the wood floor. For the dirt that does make it onto the flooring, a quick but thorough dusting with a 12- to 18-inch (30.48- to 45.72-cm) cotton dust mop will effectively remove all traces of dirt and grit from the finish. Proper footwear, meaning no dirt-spreading deep treads or finish-pounding high heels, is also vital to effective hardwood floor care.
Water is another substance that will easily ruin a hardwood floor. Therefore, complete hardwood floor care includes the quick cleanup of any spilled liquid on a wood floor. Should water breach the floor’s finish, it can warp or discolor the wood resulting in costly repair or replacement. Even damp throw rugs should be kept clear of a hardwood floor since even a very little amount of moisture will quickly ruin the wood flooring.
Sunlight will, if left to its own devices, result in a dull and discolored hardwood floor. Effective hardwood floor care to prevent harmful UV rays from damaging the floor would be to install sheer drapes or curtains, or, perhaps cellular blinds. Also, it’s wise to periodically move any are rugs in the room to prevent an uneven exposure to sunlight.
Other simple and effective methods of hardwood floor care include periodic damp mopping using a very mild soap designed for hard wood finishes. Do not use oil soap for mopping. Oil-based soap may react with the finish and cause yellowing or a dulling of the finish. Additionally, inspect the hardwood floor occasionally to detect any scratches, dents, or stains that would indicate immediate repair. It would also be a good idea to recoat, or even refinish a hardwood floor every six to eight years, depending on wear and tear, thus restoring the luster and beauty inherent in the floor.
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