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Care for Wood Floors

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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How should I care for my wood floors? Today's wood floors are easier to care for than ever before. It is best to wait a couple weeks after new floors are installed before covering with rugs. This gives the finish time to set. Wood floors should be protected with a sealer. Penetrating sealers go into the wood pores, worn spots can be resealed. Lacquer, shellac, and varnish stay on top of the wood; if worn off in traffic areas usually the whole floor will need to be sanded and refinished.

The type of finish on your floor will dictate how to care for it. Check with the manufacturer for directions.

To keep wood floors in good condition following these tips:

*Protect high traffic areas by using non-rubber backed mats or rugs at exterior and interior doorways, in front of sinks and refrigerators to prevent the tracking of dirt and grit.

*Avoid scratches by using felt pads or floor glides under chairs and other furniture. Replace pads, occasionally.

*Pick up heavy furniture and appliances when moving them to protect the flooring. Use "gliding" furniture pads underneath the piece to aid in sliding it across the floor.

*Never use wax, vinyl, or tile floor care products on wood floors. Ammonia cleaners can dull the finish.

*Vacuum with a soft brush attachment or use a dust mop regularly to keep dirt from scratching and grinding into the floor finish or sticking to it. Vacuum once or twice a week to remove dirt and sand.

*Wipe up spills immediately. A damp (not wet) cloth may be used on a well-sealed wood floor to wipe up food spills or mud. Wipe dry with cloth or paper towel.

*Condensation from potted plants set directly on the floor can cause damage. Use a protector under pots.

Clean when necessary with a damp mop or rag and water. Daily maintenance will help with the care and longevity of the floor. Check the care and cleaning recommendations given with wood floors in newly built homes.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was added January 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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