Easy Ways You Can Damage Your Hardwood Floors

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

You just spent a ton of money on new hardwood floors, and now your home looks beautiful! You need to make sure you take care of it. If you are wondering about some of the things that might be bad for your new floor, and how to prevent damage, read on.... (Click to Tweet)

Easy Ways You Can Damage Your Hardwood Floors

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Easy Ways You Can Damage Your Hardwood Floors

  1. You don't put an area rug by outside doors. It's only common sense that if you have foot traffic coming and going from the outside, you don't want people to drag in dirt/stones on their shoes. In a perfect world, it is always best to ask people to take off their shoes when entering your home. After all, you just spent good money on new floors. You need to protect them.

  2. Water sets on the floor for a long period of time. Water and hardwood do not get along. If you have a water spill, you need to get it cleaned up right away. If you live in an area of the country that gets snow, you'll want to make sure you don't allow your family/friends to track the snow in to your home.

  3. You clean the floor the wrong way. Each hardwood manufacturer will have a care and maintenance section on their website. You want to make sure you read their instructions. For example, Shaw Floors has a page on their website that give's you the "Do's and Don'ts of hardwood care and maintenance." In the article, they list some of the Do's: "1) Use a soft cloth to blot spills and spots as soon as they happen. 2) Always avoid allowing liquids to stand on your hardwood floor. 3) Sweep, dust or vacuum the floor regularly. 4) If vacuuming, use a hard floor attachment to avoid scratching or dulling your floor’s finish.5) Clean the floor with Shaw Floors Hard Surface Cleaner, specially formulated to wipe away dirt and soil without damaging your floor’s finish."  Likewise, you want to avoid the Don'ts: "1) Don't use oil-based, wax, polish or strong ammoniated products, which can dull your floor’s finish. 2) Don't use steel wool, scouring powders or other abrasive cleaners, which can scratch or damage your floor’s finish. 3) Don't wash or wet-mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent, or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination and joint-line separation, and void the warranty. 4) Don't use any type of buffing machine.

  4. Never moving your furniture around. Strong sunlight can fade your floor. A great way to avoid damage is to strategically place your furniture and area rugs around windows and sunlight. It is also good to move your furniture around 2-3 times a year to help with any UV damage.

  5. You don't put felt pads on your furniture legs and chairs. This is a big one. So many people forget to buy the felt pads. Chairs and table legs end up scratching your floor and causing all kinds of unnecessary damage.

  6. Steam cleaning your floor. Just avoid this at all costs. Steam cleaning your hardwood floor is never a good idea. Manufacturer's will even put this as a "no-no" in their maintenance instructiions.

  7. You don't trim your pets nails. The last thing you want (after you just had your beautiful floor installed) is for your furry friends to run around the house thinking it's a new ice rink. Pet nails will absolutely scratch your hardwood floor. You need to keep them trimmed.

  8. Humidity. If you live in a dry area, you need to install a humid. Again, quoting from the Shaw Website: "A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels. Wood-stove and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions.Non-Heating Season (Wet): An air conditioner, dehumidifier or periodically turning on your heating system can maintain humidity during the summer months. Avoid excessive exposure to water during periods of inclement weather."

Easy Ways You Can Damage Your Hardwood floors - Avoid Water & Vinegar

One of the old ways people used to clean their hardwood floors was with a mop, and a bucket filled with a mix of water and vinegar. We do not recommend this method. Avoid cleaning your floor with any sort of water. We found a great Youtube video that does a wonderful demonstration on the negative affects of water on hardwood. The video is from Gaylord Hardwood Flooring:

Let's talk about Pets

We have already addressed the need for you to keep your pets nails trimmed. Here are some other things you need to be mindful of:

  1. Place a towel or mat under your dog's food /water bowls. Pets are sloppy when it comes to eating and drinking. You don't want to have a damaged floor due to a "water bowl incident."

  2. Pet "accidents." Accidents will happen. You want to do your best to make sure you clean them up as soon as possible.

Here's a great DIY Youtube video entitled: "How to Remove Pet Urine Stains From Hardwood Using Hydrogen Peroxide."

Please Don't Forget About The Chair and Table Protectors

Felt pads can be purchased at any floor covering store, as well as most hardware stores. They are just a few bucks and come in a container of 12 or 24. You need to put them on every table leg and chair that sits on your hardwood floor.

Credit: Felt Pad Remove Clean and Replace

Why Do The Joints In My Hardwood Floor Expand and Contract?

The moisture content of your hardwood floor is going to change depending on the relative humidity of the surrounding air in your home. This makes wood expand. If you live in an area that has 4 seasons of the year, you want to make sure your home has a humidifier. You need to keep the humidity levels in your home between 45% - 55%. Gaps in your floor start to occur when the humidity level gets below 40%.

Credit: ThermoPro TP55 Temperature and Humidity Monitor

Easy Ways You Can Damage Your Hardwood Floors - FAQ

How Can I Remove Scratches? One of the tricks of the trade is to use stain markers to cover your stains. This is a great way to rehab your existing floor.

Credit: How To Fix A Long White Scratch On Wood Flooring

What Is The Best Vacuum For My Hardwood Floor? There is no "best" vacuum. you just want to make sure your vacuum has an option to work without the bristles spinning on the hardwood, as this might damage the floor.

What Is The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner? You should use the cleaner recommended by your hardwood manufacturer. If you inherit an existing hardwood floor, and don't know the manufacturer, contact a local flooring store and purchasing a cleaning product from them. We also think Bona Products are very good.

Is It Safe To Install Hardwood In A Kitchen? Yes and no. Many people have hardwood throughout their kitchen. Just keep in mind your kitchen can be a dangerous area for a hardwood floor. If you have a dishwasher water leak, or accidentally overflow your sink, it will most likely casue damage to your floor.

Is A Solid Hardwood Floor Better Than An Engineered Hardwood Floor? No. Solid floors are made for homes that have wood sub-floors, while engineered hardwood floors can be installed over a concrete sub-floor. Both floors are very durable, look beautiful and will last for years.

Can We Install A Hardwood Floor Over An Existing Floor? Sometimes. Depending on what kind of material is on the floor, you might be able to have a "floating installation" or "glue down installation." However, in most cases, it is always best to get to the the base sub-floor. always consult with your flooring professional before you buy your product.

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