Tips For Taking Care Of Oak Hardwood Flooring
Solid oak flooring and even Oak Furniture is remarkably hard-wearing and long-lasting, but to keep it looking it its best you should take a few precautions and give it some periodic attention.
Properly looked after, solid hardwood flooring will last a lifetime. As well as looking great, oak is tough, resilient, easy to clean and simple to maintain. However, to make sure it wears well, it’s best both to pre-empt any damage and to keep it well protected.
Avoid Unnecessary Damage
Oak flooring is tough and won’t age in the same way that carpets do – fading and becoming progressively more worn and dirty, even if you wash them regularly. However, one thing they are prone to is scratching. Shallow scratches can generally be polished out. Deeper scratches will need more work, but can still be sanded back and then polished over.
A better solution is to avoid unnecessary damage, which means protecting the floor from sources of potential scratches. Chair and table legs can be tipped with pieces of felt, since otherwise they can gouge marks in the floor when they are moved or in the course of general use. High heels – particularly stilettos – and steel-capped boots are best removed.
Dirt and grit should be swept up as soon as possible, since if you walk over it then any small stones and hard particles will be scuffed across the surface like coarse sandpaper. If there are areas that experience unusually high levels of wear then you might think about protecting them with a rug or mat.
Dust can be swept up using a soft cloth, a brush or a vacuum cleaner – make sure you use an attachment that will not scratch the floor. Dust and dirt will be obvious, since there is nowhere for it to go – unlike the fibres of a carpet. You may find that it collects in corners or areas that have less use. One thing you should be careful of is water damage.
Wipe up any spills as soon as you can with an absorbent cloth, before they can soak into the oak flooring. It is wise to take precautions to avoid the floor getting wet, such as having stands for any pot plants so that you can see under them, and keeping a drip tray under the radiator valve if it is likely to leak.
Lastly, you should keep your oak hardwood flooring well protected and looking its best by polishing it every 12 to 18 months or so. There are two finishes that are typically used – water-based lacquers and oil-based waxes.
It is important to continue to use the same treatment that you or previous owners have used in the past, since oil- and water-based polishes will not mix well and you may find they do not take to the floor properly. If you want to change the finish you are using, check with a specialist or the supplier.
Spot damage will need to be treated in different ways depending on the finish. Floors that have been waxed can often be sanded down and re-waxed at the damaged area. Lacquered oak flooring needs less ongoing maintenance and polishing, but refinishing the floor is a bigger job and may need to be carried out by a specialist.