How to Damage Your Hardwood Floors in 5 Steps

In our previous blog post, we discussed five proven facts about hardwood floors that just make sense. From being durable and long lasting to adding value and warmth to a home, there are many advantages to having hardwood floors. 

As we mentioned, the best way to keep your floors looking like new is to establish a cleaning routine. By taking proper care of your hardwood floors, you’ll get to experience all the beauty they provide and not have to replace or refinish them sooner than expected.

Another way to keep your hardwood floors looking like new is to be cautious of what goes on on your floors and to stop bad habits. We’re here to help and point out How To Damage Your Hardwood Floors in 5 Steps.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for solid and engineered hardwood floors, not to be confused with laminate or vinyl flooring.

Now let’s get into it – 

DIY Cleaning Errors

One of the most common ways to damage hardwood floors is by using the wrong tools and methods. When cleaning hardwood floors yourself, there are certain things you should watch out for.

As a general disclaimer, proper cleaning tools and methods are dependent on the type of hardwood floors you have. There are fundamental similarities between different types of hardwood floors, but for specific guidelines, please speak to the retailer or manufacturer of your hardwood floors. 

For the purposes of this article, we will discuss cleaning tools and method errors for any hardwood floors. 

With cleaning tools, one mistake that hardwood floor owners make is using abrasive mops and brooms. Abrasive tools can lead to scratches on your hardwood floors, which damages the finishing. Instead, it is best to use microfiber tools that are less abrasive and more mild on hardwood floors.

We did mention mops and brooms, but one tool to steer clear of are steamers. Moisture, and liquid in general, is an enemy of hardwood floors. Too much liquid, such as in a steamer or on a mop, can do more damage than good.  

Similarly, we suggest steering clear of cleaning with harsh chemicals, soaps, and of course, water. Different hardwood floors have different finishes, and thus different cleaning solutions. A tip to keep in mind is to not use oily or waxy cleaners on urethane finished hardwood floors as they leave residue that can often be difficult to remove.

Another tip is to not drench your cleaning tool and floors with the cleaner. In this case, a little goes a long way, but if you accidentally use more than you need, it’s best to quickly clean, and from there, to use a damp cloth or mop to finish cleaning.

Some hardwood floor owners also use water or vinegar to clean their floors. This is an acceptable method of cleaning provided the water and/or vinegar are not poured onto the floor directly but rather used with a well wrung out mop / rag as too much liquid can seep through the planks and damage your floors. It is important to dilute the vinegar with water so that the acidity does not damage your finish.

The bottom line – when it comes to cleaning tools and methods, use exactly what your manufacturer instructs you to. Not only do they know what’s best for their own products, but they also offer a warranty, which if you choose to follow your own cleaning preference, may not be supported by the manufacturer.

Moving Furniture

When it comes to furniture, there are two mistakes hardwood floor owners are making that are damaging their floors.

The most common mistake occurs when you’re moving furniture. Whether you’ve just moved into your new home or you’re just rearranging furniture, one thing to keep in mind is that furniture can cause scratches, dents, and gouges, or indentations on your hardwood floors.

Furniture is heavy, so dropping them on your floors can cause minor damages now, which could worsen as time goes on. This is especially true when the furniture is nudged a little bit here and there, or when it’s dragged on the floors. 

A second, less common and less obvious mistake that most homeowners may not fully be aware of until it’s too late is that daily use of furniture that is unprotected, can cause serious damage too. 

Sitting on the couch or a chair, putting heavy items on a table, and other day to day tasks where you’re putting weight on furniture can lead to slight shifts and sliding. In return, this causes scuffs, scratches, scrapes, dents, and aggressive wear that can shorten the longevity of your hardwood floors.

Similarly, if you have furniture with wheels, specifically hard plastic wheels, such as office chairs, rolling storages, and ottomans, this can also scratch your wooden floors. If you’re not careful, they can do further damage, like dig into your hardwood floors and wear off some of the finish or the wood itself. Using rubber casters underneath heavy furniture can help reduce the possibility of damage. 

The easiest solution is using furniture pads, rubber mats and rubber casters underneath heavy furniture, this can greatly reduce the possibility of damage .

Furniture pads are used primarily for moving furniture. Some moving companies use moving blankets for bigger and heavier furniture that may be too heavy to carry so they would need to be dragged across the floor.

Although furniture pads are used for moving furniture, they are also used to protect your floors. These rubber disks are usually two-inches thick and help keep your furniture from sliding and moving around. A piece of advice from flooring experts is to use felt furniture pads for added protection.

Nonetheless, the best way to protect your floors, in addition to furniture pads, is to always lift your furniture completely off the floor when moving across hardwood floors, and of course, set it down gently. 

We also suggest considering rotating your furniture, especially in heavily trafficked areas, to slow down normal wear and tear on your hardwood floors. In regards to furniture with wheels, if you’re unable to replace the wheels with legs, one tip is to use a rug or a rubber mat underneath to prevent any damage to your floors.  

Phew, that was a lot of information!

One of the biggest cons of hardwood floors is that they’re a natural element and require some extra attention. Daily wear can cause scratches and dents but can be minimized, as seen above, by using the appropriate cleaning solutions and protective accessories. 

But there’s more!

Check back for our next blog to find the next 3 steps of How To Damage Your Hardwood Floors and get several tips and tricks from industry professionals to keep your hardwood floors as pristine as possible for as long as possible. 

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