Friday, August 8, 2008

Hard Wood Floors and How To Take Care of Them

Hard Wood Flooring

Part of any home decorating includes the decision of flooring. Interior designers and decorating magazines are now suggesting hard wood flooring because it's easy to maintain, take care of, practical and aesthetically pleasing. This is the reason that I replaced my old vinyl floor with oak in both the kitchen and den. Since I live in the south I certainly could have put in tile, but standing for long periods of time on tile can be very hard on your back. Hardwood floors, on the other hand have "give" and are much easier on your back.

Years ago you had to leave the house for days while the wood was cut, installed, sanded, stained and finished. Now the wood comes all ready (sanded, stained and sealed) and is installed in one day. You can walk on it immediately without ruining your floor.

There are factors to consider when you decide on hard wood floors. Lots of water and wood do not mix! So if you have a leak and the water sits on the floor for any length of time-you have big problems. Hardwood floors do scratch and big dogs can do some serious damage to them. I have one of those dogs, so I invested in vinyl tips for his nails. Especially made for dogs, these rubber nails stick onto your dog's feet and eventually grow off only to be replaced by a new one. Changes in humidity can affect your floors. The heat in the winter makes them contract and get dry. In the summer, the air conditioning makes your floors expand. If your floors are installed properly and by a professional, the gaps in between the planks will be sufficiently spaced to allow this movement.

All solid woods are forgiving and can be refinished when necessary. Wood flooring is classic, able to stand the test of time with a look that will endure any and all trends.

How do you take care of it? There are so many products on the market for cleaning your hard woods. When I lived in New Jersey my neighbor had his own business installing hard wood floors. He always told me to use ONLY vinegar and water on my floors. Don't use a lot of water and ALWAYS dry them. Never walk away from your floor if it is very wet. So that's what I've done all these years and my floors still look shiny and new.
  • sweep or vacuum frequently. Grit is your floors worse enemy!
  • Wipe all stains and spills immediately
  • Place small rugs in areas where water can spill (like near the sink)
  • Use dirt trapping rugs at all outside entrances
  • Use felt or fabric-faced glides on furniture legs and clean them frequently to remove grit
  • Keep the high heels off the floor
  • touch up scratches immediately with a touch-up product provided by the manufacturer

Types of floors available:

Most oak floors are either red or white oak. Oak is hard, durable, and readily available, which makes it a good buy. Other popular woods include maple, pecan, ash, beech, and birch. More expensive woods include cherry, walnut and even bamboo.


Most hard wood floors come in thicknesses of 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch. If you can afford it, go for the thicker wood. It can be sanded down and refinished more often.

These floors are long lasting and beautiful. Certainly not "thrifty" because they are expensive but consider how long they actually last. In this case, you really get what you pay for.

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  1. Wow what a very nice article. I hope that you will post more and thank you for sharing.

  2. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks for sharing this with others.hard wooden floors