7 Unforgivable Sins of Hardwood Floors (With Infographic)

September 22, 2015 - 12:08pm
high heeled shoes on wood floor


Here is a list of seven unforgivable sins of hardwood floors you can avoid.

Using the beater bar on your vacuum when cleaning your wood floor. Regular vacuuming or sweeping is beneficial for your floors to prevent ground-in dirt and tracking. However, always use the brush attachment or a soft broom.  The beater bar can scratch or dent your floor.  There are also many dust mops made with microfiber or cotton that are excellent.  We sell a Bona cleaning kit complete with dust mop at our store.

Cleaning with products that are not made for your wood floor. For prefinished floors, you should follow the direction of the flooring manufacturer.  If your floors are finished on the job, you should refer to the finish manufacturer.  Using non-recommended cleaning products can ruin the appearance of the finish, cause trouble with recoating and void some manufacturers warranty. Most prefinished floor manufacturers say do not use oil soaps, ammonia based cleaners, abrasive soaps/polishes or acidic materials.  For a wax finished floor, you do not want to use detergents, soaps or ammonia. If you have urethane finish you are not cleaning raw wood you are cleaning a finish that protects your wood floor.  So do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax, products that contain citrus oils, lemon oil, tung oil, or silicon, polish to restore gloss, ammonia-based products, acrylic finishes, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, abrasive cleaning soaps or acidic materials such as vinegar.

Leaving excess liquid on your wood floor.  This can be mopping with a wet mop, pet accidents or spills.  Standing water can not only cause surface damage but also cause the wood to warp.  If you mop a wood floor it should be wrung out to almost dry.  Pet accidents need to be addressed immediately as the longer urine stands the more damage it creates.  Be sure that you check under rugs if an accident happened on them.  Clean and dry both the rug and the floor.  Another mistake is using a steam cleaner.  Although widely promoted as hardwood floor cleaners, steam cleaners are the most damaging. Water damages the finish, and heat and steam can actually crack the wood.

Forgetting to use rugs at entrances, around sinks and heavy traffic areas.  Rugs at the points of entrance can catch dirt and moisture before it reaches your wood floor.  While it will not help a big spill, a rug can catch small splashes around a sink.  Use of runners in heavy traffic can protect your floor surface longer. Be sure to choose wisely when you pick out your rugs and under pads.  Some rug dyes have been known to stain floors.  If the rug has a plastic backings it may affect the wood finish.  Even the underpads can stick and pull off your finish.  Natural material without sticky finishes is best.

Moving heavy objects across your wood floors.  Even though you have a protective coat over your hardwood floor, it is not damage proof.  When you drag heavy furniture or appliances over it, you can cause dents and scratches. There are felt pads for sliding chairs that help protect the floor.  It is best to get help lifting that couch you want to move.

Wearing spike heel shoes or broken heel taps on wood floors. High heel shoes can cause dents in wood floors.  If you have taps or damages to the sole of your shoes they can also cause scratches. A high heel can exert 15 times more pressure than an elephant's foot.  If there is an exposed nail head, it can be even higher.  It can be like taking a hammer to your floor as you walk across it.

Waiting too long between refinish projects. All floors will eventually show wear and surface scratches.  Don’t wait until you see bare wood.  If you have the floor recoated every 3 to 5 years it may not need refinishing and sanding.  Call us to see what you floor needsWe have the experts who can recoat, sand and refinish floors.

7 ways to ruin your hardwood floors Infographic