Floors do a tough job and they need to be well-maintained in order to help them stay beautiful and effective for as long as possible. Consider how much time, effort and money you are prepared to invest in this before you finalize your choice of material: some fantastic floors are very high-maintenance! Hard floors will need to be swept daily and washed weekly. Soft floors need regular vacuuming and occasional professional cleaning.
Identify the high-traffic areas of your home and plan the flooring accordingly. Entrances, staircases, landings and kitchens take a lot of punishment from busy feet so go for the most durable material you can afford. In living rooms and bedrooms comfort is the priority, so plush carpet or thick-pile rugs are excellent choices.
Regular care will prolong the life of the floor and help ensured that the warranties are honored. Dirt and stain are inevitable and the longer are left, the more damage they will do. The first step in keeping all your floors in good condition is to keep the dirt out. Don’t have sand or small rock particles near t he door entrance because they will find their way in. Put dirt-trapping mats at external doors (coconut matting, not carpet). Lay a good hallway carpet for about 15 feet. This allows time for the grit and dirt to drop off shoes before it can get into your home. If you only have space for a doormat, fold a few sheets of newspaper under it to collect the dirt.
Wood is a fairly soft material compared with stone, so it can be dented by heavy objects and stiletto heels. Heels can cause enormous damage, permanent damage in case of wood-veneer floor. If subjected to too much water, wood will swell or even warp, so you have to be very careful with your cleaning regime. Pre-finished wood floors are easy to maintain because the sealer is baked into the wood. Most urethane finishes can be damp-mopped with white vinegar and water. Mix one cup of vinegar per gallon of water or use a mild detergent.
Untreated boards must be varnished, oiled or waxed ( a process that will need to be repeated regularly).When cleaning, beware of using oil soaps, lemon oil, sprays, liquid waxes and always check with the manufacturer or supplier before applying them. You can judge if it’s time to reseal wood floors by checking the finish. If the finish has become dull or if water soaks in, rather than resting on the surface, it is time to seal again.
The cleaning routine is simple: sweep the floor frequently with a soft broom to remove abrasive particles and mop up spills quickly so that water doesn’t soak into joints or the wood itself. Wash with mild, diluted detergent once a week, being careful not to get the floor overly wet and dry it off with a dry mop straight afterward.
Protect the surface of a wooden floor by attaching felt pads to the bottom of the furniture. Cover chair legs with protective rubber caps to prevent scraping and scratching. A potted plant can be a swift route to a damaged floor. Place it on half an inch of dense cork so that no water seeps through and check the overflow bowls regularly.
This type of flooring is the most susceptible to damage from the wrong kind of treatment. Vinyl has a reputation as an easy-maintenance material. While it is resistant to oil, water, fats and many chemicals, it will be damaged by sharp or abrasive objects such as grit or stiletto heels. In addition, vinyl can be damaged by cleaning products such as bleach, scouring powder and strong alkaline detergents. Treat as recommended for wood, sweeping it regularly, wiping away spills promptly and cleaning with a mild, diluted detergent.
Linoleum sheets should be treated similarly and will resist most stains, apart from those with high solvent content such as dry-cleaning fluid, nail polish and over cleaner. Linoleum has been used for a long time. One time-honored recipe for refreshing it is to wipe it down with one part fresh milk mixed with one part turpentine: rub the mixture in and polish with a warm, soft cloth. Almost as old is the problem of children’s wax crayons marking places they shouldn’t: if they mark linoleum or vinyl, a little silver polish will remove it