Three Things a Homeowner Does to Ruin Their Hardwood Floors

Picture of Joshua Crossman

Joshua Crossman

Owner of PTL Flooring LLC

Hardwood flooring is one of the longest lasting floor covering options on the market. The wood is protected by a finish that is designed for hardwood flooring. As you can imagine, a hardwood floor finish has to be able to withstand a lot of abuse. 

But homeowners can exponentially and unknowingly bring the finishes to a quick demise and thus shorten their lifespan or ruin their beautiful floors.What’s interesting about the 3 things is that they all have to deal with proper maintenance of your floor and thus are done with the best intentions. 

See if you happen to be doing one of these 3 things and, if you are, we encourage you to change your ways immediately if you would like to have your hardwood floors last a very long time. 

Let’s get into it. 

The first thing homeowners do to ruin their hardwood floor is steam mopping

We have seen many floors ruined by a steam mop. Wood is hydroscopic and responds to moisture. Injecting extremely hot water into the wood weakens those natural wood fibers. Moisture from the steam enters the gaps between the boards and can cause the wood to warp. This could cause the finish to separate from the wood and no longer protect it. The wood will discolor from being exposed to water and dirt. 

The National Wood Flooring Association, wood floor mills, wood floor finish manufactures, and countless hardwood flooring professionals all agree that steam mops should not be used to clean hardwood flooring. 

The second thing that homeowners do to ruin the finish on their hardwood flooring is to use the wrong maintenance products. 

This is hard because, when you go to the store, the cleaning section is full of products that have great marketing. Most of them are made to sound to be the solution that you are looking for. 

Most of the “hardwood flooring” products on the shelf leave a cheap acrylic coating on the floor or some type of residue. This “coating” or residue may look good for a moment but then quickly looks terrible. It gets smudged, scratches easily, or looks hazy.

There are a lot of products out there, so we can’t name them all but when shopping the cleaning aisle, stay away from products with the following key words: polish, shine, wax, soap, restore.

Check with your hardwood floor professional about which type of cleaner you should use for the type of wood floor finish you have. In general, you want a hardwood floor cleaner that has a neutral pH and doesn’t leave any residue or film. 

The third thing homeowners do to prematurely ruin their hardwood floors is that they do not have their hardwood floors properly maintained with a fresh coat of finish as needed. 

A hardwood floor finish does not last forever. You use and abuse it and it wears down over time. By having a fresh coat of finish applied, you add that protection back to the floor that has been worn off from years of use and cleaning. 

This process may not make the floor look 100% new again, but it does come pretty close most of the time. It restores the luster of the finish, fills in those micro scratches, and protects the wood for years to come. 

How often this is done depends upon the type of finish you have and the activity level of your home. A low quality finish will require a maintenance coat of finish to be applied much sooner than a high quality finish. A busy and active household with kids and pets will require maintenance to be done more frequently than a house that is much less active. You could go 5 years or maybe even 10 years before needing to have anything done. 

If you found that you have done one, two, or all three of these things, don’t feel bad. You are not alone. Thousands have done the same things and we get calls all the time to come fix their floor. The good thing is that it’s not irreversible.

If it’s been 5-10 years and your floors are looking a little worn, it’s probably time for a fresh coat of finish. If you have used one of those maintenance products that you shouldn’t have, stop immediately and throw them in the trash! Check with the manufacture of that product to see what their removal method is, then start using the correct finish cleaners until it’s time for a fresh coat of finish. If you have a steam mop, DO NOT USE IT ON YOUR HARDWOOD FLOORS any longer!

Give us a call at 360-960-1419 if you need that fresh coat of finish applied to your hardwood floors. We’d love to make your hardwood floors look great again!             

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