Contrary to popular belief, hardwood floors are the easiest to maintain and clean. Perhaps what makes it easy to clean and maintain hardwood floors is the fact that unlike carpeting and other flooring materials, hardwood needs very little maintenance, and is very durable.
It goes without saying that a well maintained and clean hardwood floor can really turn the interior of your home into a haven, creating the illusion of space and charm. While cleaning the different types of hardwood floors requires no special formula or additional attention, some finishes used on hardwood may need extra care, especially when getting rid of stubborn and unsightly stains.
The easiest and most effective way you can clean your hardwood floor is by simply using a damp mop. The process is quite simple here. Start by dusting off the surfaces using a simple vacuum cleaner or a soft broom. After that you can start moping, rinsing, and then repeating to get rid of all dust, dirt, and grit from your hardwood floors. Remember that despite the fact that they are the hardiest flooring materials available in the market, grit and dirt are hardwood’s biggest enemy when it comes to scouring or scratching the finish on the floor.
There are several cleaners like vacuum cleaners with bags in the market today for cleaning hardwood floors, but the best one is a neutral cleanser like. one whose pH value is neutral, not too high nor too low. Such a cleaner used together with water can do a very effective job. As a general rule of thumb, always ensure your hardwood floor is well sealed before you start mopping. What this means is that places that are worn out should never come in contact with water, since it can penetrate through the opening and cause warping. Of course this compromises on the aesthetic appeal of your hardwood floor material, as well as its durability.
Most hardwood floors today come with polyurethane finish. Ever come across a floor that looks shiny and glossy? Most probably it is polyurethane, a finish that assumes the look of a plastic coating over your hardwood. The best thing with this finish is that it is hard wearing, enhancing the durability of your floor even further. The other common finish is known as penetrating seals, and will come with oil or wax finishes that would equally penetrate and seep in through the wood. The best thing with the penetrating seals is the fact that they offer hardwood floor protection from the inside out.
You need to be very cautious when cleaning your hardwood floors that have a finish, because over scrubbing may compromise on the luster appeal of your hardwood floor, so you want to be easy on that. You also want to be easy with the cleaning material you will use, as most of them may end up stripping off the luster appeal.
With that being said, it is to be mentioned that all floors are vulnerable to dirt and stains, whether they are carpet or hardwood. You can use a fine steel wool to get rid of most stains, adding a little alcohol on it can make the stains come off easily from hardwood floors. Once you are done, you can always polish and buff your floor. Should the stain remain after cleaning with alcohol, sanding down the stained area could be the only viable option at your disposal.
What Affects the Cost of Hardwood Floors
So you have finally decided to go both timely and timeless with a charming set of new hardwood floor for your home. Rest assured that it is a very wise move that will last you a lifetime because hardwood floors are very durable, especially if purchased from the right sources. But before you hand over your credit card or append your signature on that check, you will need to know the factors that determine/affect the cost of hardwood floors. First and foremost, it should be made clear that the cost of hardwood flooring is not fixed; there are a number of variables that you will need to take into serious consideration. These include:
Type of hardwood – the type of hardwood flooring that you buy, whether engineered or solid, is the first factor that will definitely determine the cost of hardwood floors. Solid hardwood is what is today considered traditional flooring, and will thus come at a higher price than the engineered hardwood floor type. Although the engineered hardwood flooring is a superior quality product, it has not been on the market for a significant period of time, so people are yet to fully appreciate it. This is because while it is fully hardwood, it is often a composite of 3 by 9 plys of similar or different species of hardwood.
Hardwood species – this is the second factor that determines the cost of hardwood. Generally, domestic hardwoods like the famous hickory, oak, or walnut are much more affordable than their exotic counterparts like the Brazilian cherry or tigerwood.
Type of finish – do you want a pre-finished or unfinished type of flooring? While the cost of hardwood will still be up even if one had to factor in the cost of labor, refinished hardwoods tend to be highly priced than their unfinished counterparts. Of course there is the advantage of having to choose a finish or stain with your unfinished flooring option, but you also need to factor in the cost of the finish or stain, plus labor.
Hardwood flooring grade – this is arguably one of the main contributing factors that determine the cost of hardwood floors. While grading will not be uniform in both prefinished and unfinished hardwood products and across the different species of hardwoods available, the concept behind it is the same – hardwoods that have an even grain appearance are highly graded than those with marks. Of course higher grades will be highly priced than their lower grade counterparts.
Once you find the type of hardwood flooring that is within your price range, the next important consideration that will add up to the cost of hardwood floors in the cost of installation and the accessories and products that would be used for installation. Such things as stapling, gluing, underlayment, fasteners, and adhesive used when installing hardwood floors can add up to the cost of hardwood floors, plus of course the cost of labor for installation.