Preventative maintenance is a term more common to industry than to residential or office floor care, but its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Good preventative maintenance lengthens the intervals between the major renovation operations such as re-coating, re-waxing and refinishing. Here are some basic rules that apply to all types of floor finishes.
- Keep grit off the floor. Use dirt-trapping, walk-off mats at all exterior doors to help prevent dirt, grit and sand from getting inside the building. Throw rugs or small sections of carpet just inside the entrances are also recommended. Dirt and grit are any flooring’s worst enemy and that includes carpets and vinyls as well as hardwoods. Keep door mats clean.
- In kitchens, use area rugs at high spill locations and at work stations – stove, sink, refrigerator. Cotton is generally the best fabric since it is easily washed. Mats with a smooth hacking, i.e. rubber or vinyl, may trap water beneath.
- Finishes and certain chemicals in wood oxidize and are affected by ultra violet light sources causing the wood and finish to change color and develop a patina or age. To avoid uneven appearance, move area rugs occasionally and drape or shade large windows.
- Put fabric glides on the legs of your furniture; they allow furniture to be moved easily without scuffing the floor. Clean the glides regularly since grit can become embedded in them. Some furniture may require barrel tvpe roller casters as ball type casters may cause damage. Grey non-marking rubber casters are thc best. Avoid casters made of hard materials like metals or hard plastics.
- Vacuum regularly, as often as you vacuum carpets; a brush attachment works beautifully. Sweep or use a dust mop daily or as needed, but do not use a household dust treatment as this may cause your floor to become slick, dull the finish, or interfere with re-coating.
- Wipe up food and other spills promptly with a dry cloth or paper towel. Use a slightly moistened cloth for sticky spills if necessary. Then wipe the floor dry with another cloth or paper towel.
- Keep heels on shoes in good repair, especially high heels. Heels that have their protective cap missing or worn away exposing the steel support rod will dent any floor surface, even concrete.
By observing these simple suggestions you’ll go a long way toward keeping your hardwood floors beautiful and making their care easier.