Timber floors are a beautiful solution for flooring, and are often coveted in rental homes. However, when it comes to keeping them clean, it’s good to remember the dos and don’ts.
It’s important to do a regular sweep or vacuum of the floors to remove dust and loose particles. Even though the worst offender of scratches on timber floors is moving furniture, a build-up of dirt could cause scratching as well. Using a broom with soft-bristles, vacuum cleaner or an electrostatic mop are best.
In our sandy Coastal environment having a shoes off policy inside the house can help. Very high traffic areas may benefit from a little protection from a rug or runner. Most hardware stores stock adhesive felt pads for use under the feet of chairs, table and lounges.
Timber floors can come in a variety of different timbers, timber products and finishes. Some wear better than others, for example softer timbers like pine tend to mark and dent more easily than Australian hardwoods or the newr bamboo plank materials. Try to familiarise yourself with what wood product is on your floors, then you will know what level of care will be needed.
When it comes to a big clean, the first step is to determine if the floors are finished with a solvent or water based polyurethane, or with wax or tung oil. This may be included in the pack you received when you moved in, or you can ask your Property Manager.
If the floors are finished with polyurethane, you can do a quick mop with lukewarm water and pH-neutral cleaner. Make sure you wring the mop out well, so that the floors aren’t flooded with water. Try to avoid hot water, harsh chemicals and flooding the floors with water, as these can do damage to the finish, stain the timber and cause cupping.
If the floors are finished with wax, do not mop. Instead, lightly mist your floor with a hardwood floor cleaner.
If your floor does sustain a scratch, gouge or dent don’t try to patch or repair it yourself. This often ends up with the damage standing out even more and may lead to the entire surface needing to be restored. That’s a job best left to the experts. Obviously normal wear and tear is just a fact of life with timber floors and they do need to be sanded and sealed, stained or oiled from time to time.
Finally, never use a steam mop, as they can damage the floor finish, allowing the steam to penetrate the floorboards and cause warping.
Source: Elleisa Schloss, Real Estate Dynamics 2016