8 rookie errors that ruin your solid wood flooring

A hardwood floor is one of the most sought after features among homeowners. While more affordable types of flooring can mimic solid wood, the unique shapes, textures and tones of natural solid wood is something that can never be 100% matched. However, while solid wood flooring is luxurious and versatile it is not indestructible. In fact there are more than a few different ways that you can cause damage to your wonderful wooden floor if you don’t take special care in looking after it. Here are 8 mistakes that you need to avoid making.

#1 - Forgetting to place mats at entrance and exit points
One of the biggest dangers to hardwood flooring is that of dirt and grit. Every pair of shoes that makes its way through your home is likely to bring with it dirt and debris from outdoors. Besides making a mess, particularly hard particles can cause nasty scratches across the surface of your wooden flooring. The easiest way to prevent this is to have a welcome mat at your door for visitors to wipe their feet. Even a simple rug or mat with a felt back (to prevent discolouration) at entry or exit points to a room which has hardwood floors will offer some protection.

#2 - Neglecting to sweep your floor
Even if you have mats at your entry and exit points you’re still bound to end up with some debris on your floors, whether from outdoors, the dinner plate or other means. By regularly sweeping your wonderful wooden floor you can lock in shine and prevent grit from being caught underfoot causing scratches and scrapes. 

#3 - Using too much water when cleaning
While hardwood floors often have a barrier to safeguard against moisture they are still porous and will soak up water given half the chance. Because of this you should never drench it in any kind of liquid, including cleaning products. Instead, you should give your wooden floor a light damp mop which will avoid excessive soaking and subsequent swelling.

#4 - Using harsh chemicals when cleaning your floor
In general you should avoid any cleaning products which are not specifically designed for wooden floors. Many supermarket cleaning products will contain chemicals which are too harsh and abrasive for your wooden floor, upsetting its PH balance, dulling its shine and causing cracks. Always read the instructions on your floor cleaner and only use the amount advised otherwise you once again risk the floor swelling.

#5 - Leaving spills and stains for too long
Whether it’s red wine, milk or a mess made by your pet – you should never let a spill or potential stain sit for too long. This goes for any type of flooring really, but it’s worth remembering that wooden flooring is porous and so will soak up liquids. So be sure to clean and dry it up pronto before it sets in.

#6 - Wearing shoes indoors
Wearing shoes indoors can spell bad news for most types of flooring. Even if you give your shoes a wipe on a mat, there is still the chance that you could bring through small pieces of grit which could mark your wooden flooring. The best option is to have a shoe rack by your front and back doors so that both you and your visitors can simply take them off as they enter your home.

#7 - Don’t cut your pets nails
Another easy way to do damage to your wooden flooring is to forget to trim the nails of your beloved pets. Not only is the noise likely to make the hairs on your neck stand up, it can also leave scratches and scrapes behind. Make sure that you give your pets regular nail trims and consider placing rugs or carpet in areas where your dog frequents. Alternatively you could install small pet gates to keep your dog away from rooms with wooden flooring.

#8 - Dragging heavy furniture around your floor
One last tip for keeping your hardwood floors free of scratches and scuffs is to add felt pads to the bottoms of heavy furniture or appliances. This will help them to glide along when you move them and reduce the chances of scuffing or scratching the floor. 

For more tips on cleaning and maintaining your floors, please read our free guide on how to maintain and clean your floors and carpets.

  • 28 Feb 2017