The number one question I am asked by my clients and potential clients is how long will my floors last. This is a difficult question to answer for any professional hardwood flooring contractor. There are so many factors involved that it is almost impossible to give an accurate honest answer to this question.
Hardwood flooring is beautiful and with proper maintenance can be kept that way for a life time. Refinishing your floors is a huge, inconvenient, costly hassle; if you are able to follow a few simple techniques, your floor can last a life time with minimal cost and hassle.
I have talked with a lot of home owners over the last 15 years about floor care and have heard about many different techniques. This is the one area where I think most people are misinformed. Hardwood floor maintenance is easy but it still needs to be done on a regular basis to keep your floors looking new.
Take your shoes off at the door; this is going to be the single most important piece of advice that I can give regarding hardwood flooring care and maintenance. Shoes bring in dirt and it falls off of your shoes and gets on the floor. Then the hard soles of your shoes grind it down into the floor and the dust and dirt act like sand paper when it is walked on which, no matter how hard the finish is, will wear it down over time. This leads me to my next piece of advice.
DRY dust moping to keep the dirt and debris off of the finished surface will exponentially extend the life of your floors. An important word in this advice is ‘dry’: only use water and cleaners when necessary for spills and tough spots. There are a few different brands of fuzzy dry dust mops out there. See picture 1. Also while dry dust moping, keeping a forward motion while cleaning is important; don’t pick up the dust mop! Keep the dust in front of the mop. The more liquids you clean your floor with the more the finish softens over time; this includes hardwood floor cleaners and water. If you absolutely have to mop your floor on a regular basis, no more than once a month is a good standard. You can vacuum your floors as long as there is an option to turn off the beater brushes; they will scratch the floor.
Placing a rug on the outside and inside of the main entry doors is also a good way to extend the life of your floors.