Extending the Life of Floor Surfaces in Your Home
Sept. 28, 2016 at midnight
Many homeowners invest in furniture and home décor to enhance their homes, but flooring should never be neglected. That broad expanse may just be there to get trodden on, but a floor can impact the atmosphere of a home far more than one might think. In fact, I'm very quick to tell people that a well-maintained floor surface can make a home look remarkably aesthetically appealing. Keep in mind it's something that greets guests when they first enter—so a grimy, musty, and cracked surface can easily be a turn-off. Here are four essential but easy ways to extend the life of floor surfaces in your home:
- Clean spills quickly using mild cleaning products. Spills involving cleaning chemicals or acidic liquids can strip the top surface of your floor if you don't remove them right away. Simply leaving the floor to dry can damage the protective layers and eventually lead to the discoloration—even rotting— of the material underneath. I've learned that spills should be cleaned as soon after they happen as possible. I only use mild cleaning agents and products that have been specifically designed for the type of flooring in my home. Heavy abrasives and harsh cleaning agents can damage the most durable flooring. In addition, I make sure that those easily forgotten corners and areas beneath appliances are also thoroughly cleaned.
- Have a regular cleaning schedule. As a rule, good floor surfaces have a very long life expectancy, but that doesn't mean you can forget about them. It pays to have a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule so you don't end up having to deal with issues like scuffs, scratches, cracking or warping that could easily have been avoided with due care. Vacuuming or sweeping the floor on a weekly (or daily) basis with a soft-bristled broom can prevent dirt and buildup that can damage your floor’s surface. Hardwood floors may be tough, but they do require frequent waxing. Also, make sure you're applying the type of protection that is recommended for your chosen flooring.
- Use floor mats. Floor mats might not be particularly decorative, but placing them at entrances, exits, and high-traffic areas is an effective way to reduce wear. Mats can trap substances like dirt, sand, asphalt, oil, and grit that will otherwise cause damage in the long run.
- Apply protective pads to furniture legs. I have friends who regard this as a weird quirk of mine, but applying protective pads or caps to the bottom of chair and table legs can extend the life of both wooden floors and wall-to-wall carpeting considerably.
Maintaining the look of a floor isn't difficult. By incorporating simple practices into your cleaning routine will extend the life of your flooring no end; you can still have it looking brand new even after decades of use.