hardwood flooring maintenance basics

In addition to distinctive aesthetic attributes, different flooring styles require specific kinds of maintenance. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

You probably know the importance of having a roof over your head, but another crucial consideration is what’s under your feet. Preferences vary when it comes to flooring, which is reflected in the vast array of products available. From the sleek sheen of hardwood to the natural coarseness of stone to the soft pile of carpet, there’s no shortage of options for consumers with sensitive soles. Along with distinctive aesthetic attributes, however, different flooring styles require different kinds of maintenance, which is why we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to go over some flooring maintenance basics.

 

Hardwood floors

There may not be one right way to clean a hardwood floor, but according to Roy Nelson of Roy’s Woodcraft Flooring, Inc., there are certainly a few wrong ways. One is to use commercial cleaning products that are labeled as “finish revitalizers” or claim to “bring back that old shine.” More often than not, these products contain oil or wax components, which are considered contaminants by flooring professionals because they inhibit the adhesive bond between the floor and the finish. In contrast, the best techniques for cleaning a hardwood floor tend to be the most basic, such as mopping with a mild vinegar and water solution.

When it comes to refinishing a hardwood floor, Dan Yorke of Danville Hardwood Company Incorporated says homeowners should follow the rule of “less is more,” citing that refinishing too frequently can actually do more harm than good. Instead, he recommends a combination of routine cleaning and periodic professional service to prolong the intervals between refinishing services.

 

tile floor cleaning

Stone and tile floors may seem tough, but they’re still susceptible to damage from improper cleaning methods. Photo: Stone & Tile Impressions, Inc. (2015)

Stone and tile floors

Stone and tile may seem more durable than other flooring materials, but in reality, they’re equally susceptible to damage from improper cleaning methods. As Oscar Soltero of Stone & Tile Impressions, Inc. explains, all-purpose cleaners and disinfecting wipes eat away at the seal of a natural stone surface and can even dull or erode the stone itself, so it’s crucial to always use a pH-neutral product. Tile surfaces, on the other hand, can be cleaned with a mixture of water and mild detergent, applied with a towel or chamois-type mop.

 

Carpet

When it comes to carpet maintenance, minor measures tend to be just as important as major ones. That’s why Paul Nazarian of McDecor Inc. says the best way to maintain a carpet is simply to vacuum often (at least once a week). The longer dust and dirt particles are allowed to remain in a carpet, the harder they are to remove—especially if they become moist, which causes them to clump together into clay-like clusters. By vacuuming regularly, you can suck up dirt and dust before it’s able to gain a foothold. Of course, periodic professional cleanings are still important, but vacuuming often will minimize the need for supplementary services.

In some cases (like when a spill occurs), more intensive measures are needed. According to Dave Steely of Maximum Carpet Cleaning, the first thing you should do in this situation is get a 100 percent cotton towel and begin blotting the affected area, with the aim of soaking up as much of the spilled liquid as possible. As you blot (don’t scrub, it’ll only spread the stain), rotate the towel as each section becomes inundated with liquid. From there you can take further measures, such as applying table salt and washing the area with a solution of vinegar, water and dishwashing liquid. Check out Dave’s full tip for more details.

preventing carpet stain

When a spill occurs on your carpet, your first move should be to dab (not scrub) the area with a towel. Photo: Start Fresh Restoration & Carpet Connoisseurs (2015)

If a stain remains on your carpet, rather than applying a stain removal product (which often makes the situation worse), have the area treated by a carpet professional. Keep in mind, however, that when it comes to stains, time is a factor—the sooner you deal with it, the less likely it’ll leave a permanent mark.

For more tips on flooring maintenance and other topics, visit experts.diamondcertified.org.

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