Caring for a Wood Floor

Water is the natural enemy of wood. Since water seeping between boards can cause stains or swelling, avoid wet-mopping wood flooring and using water-based waxes.

In general, vacuum or dry-mop wood flooring about once a week, or as often as you vacuum carpeting. Most wood floors should be waxed once or twice a year.

Wood flooring is finished with either a penetrating sealer or a surface finish.

If you’ve installed a floor with a factory-applied finish, the manufacturer will specify whether the wood has been finished with a penetrating sealer or a surface finish. But if you don’t know how your floor was finished, assume a surface finish was used. Treating a penetrating sealer as a surface finish can do no harm.

Cleaning floors finished with penetrating sealers. For occasional cleaning up of spots, use mineral spirits and steel wool. After wiping the area with a clean, soft rag, buff the floor lightly.

When the floor shows signs of excessive wear, clean a small area at a time with a mineral- base cleaner, going over the area with rags or #3 steel wool. Wipe off any excess cleaner with a clean rag. After a few hours, buff the floor with a bristle buffing pad.

Finish with a good paste wax (one intended for use on hardwood floors) and buff the floor.

Cleaning surface-finished floors. For periodic cleaning of spots and stains, go over the floor with a barely damp sponge mop. If any stains remain, use a mild cleanser, such as ammonia or white vinegar, to remove them. Rinse the floor with a clean, damp (not wet) sponge mop to remove any residue. To restore the floor’s luster, you can buff it lightly.

For a more thorough cleaning, use a mineral-base cleaner in the same way as described for floors finished with penetrating sealers.

Though manufacturers of polyurethane finishes claim no waxing is necessary, floor care experts agree you’ll get better wear and appearance if you wax the surface once or twice a year.

Apply a light coat of paste wax (suitable for use on hard wood floors) and buff the surface to a luster using a buffing ma chine or clean, soft rags.

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Wednesday, 2008-11-19 0:32