19 Oct 2017
Hardwood floors, made popular in the Baroque Era, as well as the parquet flooring of the Victorian Era, have made a comeback over the years, with many owners of vintage homes now opting to rip up old and dated carpets to expose the dark, varnished wood below.
Property owners in more modern settings are also turning to reclaimed lumber to replicate the elegant and timeless aesthetics of earlier floor styles – with a modern twist, of course. Solid hardwood floors are being tastefully refinished, using stains, top coats and surface finishes in tasteful tones ranging from washed out gray or white, to exotic espresso or burnt-out caramel, to best match the interior décor and style of the 21st century home.
But, once your wooden floor has been safely installed, how do you maintain and care for it?
According to a local flooring magazine, Floors in Africa, it’s crucial to ensure that the subbase of your floor covering is correctly prepared before installing new wooden floors in any home. Ensuring a proper foundation for your wood floors means you’ll be able to enjoy them for many years to come.Look for faulty or inferior grades of concrete, cracked floors or loose tiles, and ensure the subfloor space is dry, level and clean before having your wooden floors installed. It’s also important to check that there will be enough space between floors and doors, and rooms and corridor corners, for you to be able to open and close doors once your floor has been installed.
Smaller carpets, or area rugs, are ideal for using under tables or sideboards to prevent such furniture items from damaging your floor. Furniture pads can also be used under the feet of chairs and table so that they don’t leave scuff marks or ugly impressions on your wood floor. When moving furniture, be sure to lift and place each item carefully (as wooden surfaces don’t take too kindly to having heavy furniture dragged across them).
Countries like China and Sweden are very familiar with the concept of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ shoes: most homes have special shoe racks at front doors for swapping out heels, work shoes and outside foot wear with softer, padded slippers or socks. This prevents outside dust and grime from being walked into the house, as well as shoes with hard heels and soles from leaving dings or scratch marks on floor surfaces. Your guests may look at you oddly at first, but you can ask them to respect this practice.And, while we love our furry, four-legged friends, their claws can easily leave scratches on wooden surfaces, so keep their claws well-manicured to prevent wear and tear over time.
Most hardwood floors can be safely refinished up to a maximum of four to five times. Common protective coatings for wooden floors are oil-based or water-based urethanes, wax or hard wax oils. Oil and wax protectives guard wood against fungal attack, while floor cleaning soaps feed and replenish a floor’s top coat. The caution here is to use oil-based cleaning products on oiled floors, and to use alternative cleaning products on wood floors with polyurethane-finishes.In addition, when using wood floor care products, stick to pH-neutral cleaning products, which won’t strip a floor of its finish. Vacuum and sweep your floors weekly to prevent dust build up, and never scrub a wood floor to get rid of stubborn marks – use a concentrated cleaning product you can wipe off instead, or call in a professional to do clean for you.
Regularly visit the SA Home Loans blog for more handy home upkeep tips and insights related to looking after your investment property.