Care & Maintenance of Timber Flooring

Timber flooring has become fashionable again. After years of timber floors being covered up we find that today’s new home owner appreciated the beauty of a timber floor and that it adds value to a home. They recognise this floor is a much better choice in a country where asthma is high.

Timber floors, like all floors need maintenance and to be looked after. If looked after they will last a lifetime, unlike caret and other soft coverings. They do need care though.

The following hints on care and maintenance are offered to  assist in keeping timber flooring looking it’s best.

General Precautions and maintenance tips

Damage from use

People and pets can both damage floors simply by accessing the floor area.

A major cause of damage to timber floors, particularly softwood floor like pinus is the use of high heel shoes, particularly stiletto heels. An obvious solution is to take care remove high heel shoes wherever and whenever possible.

High heels might look good on, but not kind to timber floors.

High heels might look good on, but not kind to timber floors.

Pets with long or sharp claws can also scratch and dull the floor finish.

Keeping pets nails or claws trimmed on a regular basis  is a common sense approach, to prevent what can be seen in this picture.

Timber floor scratched by dogs or cats (or both).

Timber floor scratched by dogs or cats (or both).

Dirt

Regularly sweeping high traffic areas with a soft bristle broom is a must. This will help reduce the incidence of scratching when walking over floors with dirt on them.

As with protecting all floor coverings mats at all exterior doors can minimise scratching of a timber floor.

Small rugs can also be helpful for collecting the dirt that can scratch a timber floor.

Scuffing

Fit protective pads to furniture legs to reduce risk of scuffing the floor

when moved. To protect the floor surface against scuffing we recommend the use of protective mats under the legs of all furniture.

Fading

Floors exposed to the sun will fade over time. The best solution for this is to protect the floor from direct sunlight by the use of curtains or blinds.

Distortion and joint opening

To avoid gaps or cupping in the floor we recommend maintaining a consistent room temperature. This can prevent cupping caused by moist conditions and also gapping caused by excessively dry conditions.

In the event that cupping has occurred the board can be replaced. In the event that gapping has occurred the joints can be filled.

Cleaning Tips

It pays obviously to keep all floors clean, and timber is no exception. Cleaning should be a regular program.

The simple solution is to sweep the floor with a soft bristle broom. A vacuum can be used, as long as it has a soft bristle head or an electrostatic attachment. Alternatively you can use an electrostatic mop. Avoid using any brush that is abrasive.

If using door mats keep them clean.

Whilst wet cleaning is to be avoided, sometimes it will be necessary to remove stubborn dirt. In this situation we recommend using a damp mop only and to use a pH neutral floor cleaner only.

Common household detergents and polishes are to be avoided as are such products as Methylated Spirits or Kerosene. Avoid also over wetting the floor if mopping. Allowing moisture ingress into the joints will cause cupping, as noted previously in this article. For this reason steam mops should also be avoided.

Any spills should be cleaned immediately with a dry cloth or dry paper towel.

Finally

One difference between a timber floor and all other floors is that if it becomes excessively damage, whether scratched, buffed or otherwise the floor can be resanded and then repolished.