The look of a newly installed hardwood flooring is one that you want to tuck away and bring to remembrance as the years go by and it begins to wear with age and use. Unfortunately, it’s often the preventable things done to the floor that end up being the cause of major repairs or replacement. Below are seven ways that might ruin hardwood floors.
Moving Furniture and Heavy Objects
Attempting to move heavy items over hardwood floors can cause damage that’s so extensive it requires replacement of entire areas. Simply trying to slide a couch over to clean underneath can deeply score the floor if you don’t use furniture mats or guards. Items can become lodged under furniture and damage the floor as you move it from one area to another. Here are a few things to keep in mind when moving heavy items:
- Never try and lift heavy items without help.
- Place smaller, heavy items on a blanket and drag them across the floor slowly.
- Find and use floor guards for any parts of furniture that touch the floor.
- Carefully set items down if they feel too heavy to lift.
- Never “scoot” heavy items across the floor without some type of barrier from the floor.
- Schedule your moves or furniture rotation when plenty of help is available.
Missing or Insufficient Rugs
Rugs and carpet runners are your saving grace from wood floor damage from start to finish. Keep them in plentiful supply and in good condition. Inside rugs should be made to offer cushion and protection without increasing wear to the surface of your hardwood flooring.
The Basic Welcome Mat
Spending a few extra dollars to get an excellent welcome mat is worth every cent. It’s your first line of defense against dragging mud, water, and debris in on the wood floors. You can find welcome mats that are attractive and are incredibly absorbent. It’s perfect for entrances that are typically wet and muddy during snows or rains.
If you have a tiles entry before the hardwood floors begins you’re in great shape, but you should still take precautions to leave outside moisture at the door. Using a small throw rug is not always enough to combat the moisture brought in with snow, rain, or mud. Add a rug that is thick, absorbent, and spacious enough to cover at least three feet into the interior from the front or back door. Stick to using one door when the weather is contributing to moisture problems.
Carpet Runners for Halls
The hallway in most homes is a path that leads to several rooms. It’s most likely one of the most traveled parts of the home. High traffic areas could always use a little extra protection. Carpet runners for hallways are easy to place and at affordable pricing for most budgets.
Take an honest look around at areas of your home with wood floors and determine how well the surface is protected from everyday activities. High traffic causes extra wear-and-tear. Dropped food causes stains. Pet water dishes and dining areas are subject to spills and moisture damage. Adding a decorative throw rug can save the beautiful surface of your floor. You simply pop the rug in the washing machine and it stays clean.
Inadequate Moisture Control and Protection
Moisture is an enemy of the hardwood flooring. Too much will cause the wood to swell, bow, and lead to a complete floor replacement. Smaller amounts of water on the floor over long periods of time can also do an incredible amount of damage. It will almost always lead to premature aging and breakdown of the wood.
Overflowing sinks, toilets and sudden pipe bursts can cause water to make its way to your wood floors and begin the damage process. Have all plumbing problems fixed right away and clean up all of the visible liquid from the surface of the floor. Run a fan over the affected area for a day or two. Water can run down under the floor and cause the entire area to become saturated. Completely drying this location is the only solution.
Quick Spill Clean Up
No matter how well you patrol, liquid spills are going to happen. You can limit the opportunity for damage by cleaning it up right away. The longer water, milk, orange juice, or any liquids stay on the surface, the deeper the damage. Mop it up and follow up with a damp rag for any sticky liquids. It’ll keep your wood floor in great condition, even for homes that opt for wood in kitchen areas.
Greet the moisture problems at the door and limit the potential for damage to your hardwood flooring. Add items like umbrella stands and coat racks to place dripping items. Place newspaper or other forms of barriers for the floor underneath the items.
Humidity Ruin Hardwood Floors
Excess moisture in the air can begin causing the wood to swell as it absorbs the liquid. Dry climate like Arizona rarely have this problem and have to add moisture to the air to keep the wood from cracking. Areas that are plagued with seasonal humid conditions might require the use of a dehumidifier and moisture gauge. Once the wood begins to swell and buckle, the damage is done.
Using the Wrong Cleaners Can Ruin Hardwood Floors
The products you use to keep your wood floor looking and smelling clean can do more harm than imagined. Leaving the area with the sunny smell of lemons or orange are not always healthy for the wood floor. General everyday refreshing of your floor can be done by sweeping and damp mopping with nothing more than clear water.
Products to Ditch
Any cleaner that includes harsh abrasive should never touch the surface of your hardwood flooring. Many cleaners that offer citrus scents also contain citric acid. Any type of acid is a no-no for wood flooring. It will strip the surface protection and leave the wood exposed. Only use products that are designed to moisturize and protect the wood.
Improper Mopping Ruin Hardwood Floors
You might wonder what exactly qualifies as right or wrong with floor mopping. You can use a damp mop on a wood floor surface. It can be one of the best ways to keep your floor up on a regular basis. The real problems from this activity revolve around the amount of water applied to the floor. Make sure that the mop is completely free of drips and feels barely damp before sliding it over the surface. It will dry within two or three minutes, which is the preferred method.
Ceiling or Window Water Leaks
The drips of water from an overhead or window leak might seem innocuous, but any regular source of liquid that is left for periods of time causes hardwood flooring damage. It shows up as circular marks that are lighter or darker in color. The surface will feel fuzzy and have a dull appearance. It quickly begins to strip the stain off the surface and degrades the wood that comprises your floor.
Contact a roofing expert to determine how water is entering your home if you have developed a leak in the ceiling over the wood floors. You may not notice the problems right away but look for the tell-tale discoloration on the floor and discoloration of the ceiling. It leaves distinct water marks on ceiling tile, plaster, or paint.
If you have windows that allow air to move into the home during a storm, it can also allow water to pass around the frame. Pick a dry day and add some silicon caulk around these open pathways. It should provide an interior seal that works until a better repair is affordable.
The Damage of High Heels and Metal Chair Legs
High Heels and Preventable Damage
High heels come in all different colors and designs and are considered a staple for many wardrobes. Hardwood floors experience damage from high heels that are always unintentional but are obvious within a short amount of time. The thinner the heels are, the worse the outcome for the surface of the floor. The weight will become concentrated at the end of the heel and really dig into the wood. You’ll end up with permanent indentations and possible scratches that accumulate over time. Wait to put the heels on as you’re exiting the house.
Metal Furniture Legs
Metal legs on chairs and tables can cause the same indentations as high heels. One of the bigger dangers to hardwood flooring from metal furniture legs is forgetting and dragging them over the surface. You hear the distressing sound of the metallic scraping and can be certain that some level of damage is done. Wooden legs have more give and you can place surface protectors that keep your flooring in great condition.
Untrimmed Pet Nails Can Ruin Hardwood Floors
Pets add much in the way of love and companionship to the lives of owners. The number of homes with dogs and cats is astronomical and climbs every year. The familiar clickety-clack sound of nails on a wood floor might seem endearing, but long-untrimmed nails can damage the surface. Unexpected indents and scratches can be directly caused by pet nails, especially over-active indoor dogs. Keeping their nails trimmed is an inexpensive way to protect your wood floors and make your pet feel comfortable.
A quality hardwood flooring installed correctly should last for decades without any major need for repairs or refinishing. Part of that timeline is dependent on monitoring that the conditions are conducive to good floor health. What people do to wood floors that cause unintended damage is usually far worse than the typical aging process. The great news is that most of the damage is easily prevented by taking a few of these situations into account and incorporating proactive solutions.