How to Protect and Maintain your Beautiful Hardwood Flooring

How to Protect and Maintain your Beautiful Hardwood Flooring

Whether you already own gorgeous hardwood floors or you are in the market for flooring and considering them for your home, you should think about the upkeep when choosing. While hardwood flooring can increase the value of your home while selling, and they are an upgrade that many homeowners must have, they also require regular maintenance. Hardwood flooring can be a beautiful investment, and to protect them against moisture damage, abuse, and keeping them shiny and inviting, here are tips to help you decide if hardwood flooring is for you and your family home.

Protect your investment from moisture damage.

Homeowners often think of moisture damage as flooding incidents in their homes or large amounts of liquid being spilled on their hardwood floors. While these are possible and should be dried up immediately, moisture damage can stem from spills, but also climatic changes in the humidity levels in your home in the summer time. Ensure that your home is kept at a reasonable level for air conditioning and humidity control throughout the season. In the wintertime when it is dryer in the air, heat can cause the opposite affect and cause wood to pull apart at seams of planks. Once again, keep humidity levels constant to keep your wood flooring from reacting drastically.

Be aware of changes in your hardwood flooring.

Since hardwood is made from natural wood products, the tendency for flooring to expand and contract is natural. Although, when your flooring tends to raise and dip in areas unnaturally, this is called cupping. This can occur from humidity, a plumbing leak, or sitting water.  Be aware of areas of your floor that don’t feel even and investigate where the root of the cause is before your flooring is ruined. Once you find the source your floor can be renewed with sanding. For areas that have been cupping for long periods of time, it may be necessary to replace the entire plank or several planks of your hardwood flooring.

Keeping your wood floors looking shiny:

There are several products, theories and suggestions for how to care for your hardwood flooring. From wood soaps and cleaners to waxes that you can buff on. To clean your floors, suggestions of water and vinegar sprayed on a sponge mop will clean your floors effectively while also protecting the finish, without stripping. For making your floors shiny, many hardwood flooring experts suggest natural products such as olive oil as opposed to wax-based cleaners. If you do decide to use these, alternate the use with natural products to give your floor a healthy break from the waxy products.

Protecting your hardwood floors from a day-to-day basis.

To protect your floors from getting scratched daily, consider using cloth furniture protectors under the feet or legs of your tables, chairs, and heavy furniture. Also consider removing shoes, especially high heels and shoes that can scuff and scratch the floor. For pets and kids that regularly track through your home, you will have to be more diligent for keeping up with sanding and maintenance. While many homeowners feel scratches and natural wear can add to the character of the flooring.

Hardwood flooring can be an integral part of your home and making it feel beautiful and well lived in. Enjoy your hardwood flooring in your home and use these tips to decide if your home and lifestyle will benefit from the addition of hardwoods. With their natural beauty and inherent characteristics, hardwoods will look different in every home, and can be the difference between average interiors to a fabulous interior. Discover hardwood flooring and care for it properly, and it will last as long as your home!

Freshome readers tell us why you love hardwood flooring, and why you would choose it again for your next home.


  • farida June 20, 2011 at 12:16 PMLogin to Reply →

    thanks for the tips on maintaining hardwood floors. I decided on this type of flooring in the hope of helping my daughter get relief in her eczema and asthma. We had wall to wall carpets in our old house and she was wheezing constantly. We are now in a colder area but she has not wheezed at all! It’s been a worthwhile investment. ;)

  • Graham June 20, 2011 at 13:53 PMLogin to Reply →

    Ive heard of instances from some flooring contractors where they have seen vinegar dull a floor from continued use. Its a cheap and environmentally friendly cleaner, but there are other healthy alternatives that will preserve your finishes better.

  • Adrian at Peak Oak FLooring June 20, 2011 at 14:34 PMLogin to Reply →

    This is a very good overview of caring for hardwood flooring.

    You didn’t mention the difference between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring.

    Although caring for both these floor types is the same, we would recommend engineered flooring for areas where moisture is likely to be a problem, like kitchens and bathrooms.

    One last thing – always use a natural oil or wax on your floor. If the floor is damaged, it’s so much easier to sand out and reapply a natural finish like Osmo Polyx oil or Blanchon Hardwax

  • RoniqueGibson June 20, 2011 at 17:01 PMLogin to Reply →

    Thank you Adrian for pointing out about engineered hardwood flooring, great alternative to solid hardwood flooring, I learn along with the readers! Adrian since you said engineered hardwood can be used around moisture, can they stand up to water puddles – like outside of a bathtub or shower? Do they have to be cleaned up immediately? Thanks for the further insight. :)

  • RoniqueGibson June 20, 2011 at 17:02 PMLogin to Reply →

    Thank you Graham, yes I’ve heard of many different alternatives. Thanks for letting us know about vinegar. Are there any other healthy alternatives that you would recommend to the Freshome readers?

  • RoniqueGibson June 20, 2011 at 17:04 PMLogin to Reply →

    Ahhh, glad to hear that! Yes, allergies, and common reactions to wall to wall carpet is one of the top reasons why homeowners prefer hardwood flooring. Glad to hear it helped you and your family. :)

  • Rebecca June 20, 2011 at 20:57 PMLogin to Reply →

    Love that you suggest using vinegar to clean and olive oil to polish hardwood floors. Natural products are safer for humans, pets and better for the environment. It’s wonderful that you are encouraging their use over chemically enhanced cleaners.

    17th and Riggs Contemporary Home

  • Reece Carmichael June 21, 2011 at 15:50 PMLogin to Reply →

    Great blog Post! I found this really informative since I just had hardwood flooring installed in the main floor of my home, and I was looking for some “green” cleaning solutions.

    Something I thought your readers might also be interested in, and I didn’t realize was available is wood floor vents. I found vents to match my hickory wood floor at, great shipping rates too!

  • Graham June 22, 2011 at 15:19 PMLogin to Reply →

    Ronique, great follow up and discussion!
    Bona is one we use at our place, its the only residential cleaner listed as Greenguard certified. (other listings are for large facilities maintainence sizes)
    But Ecover and Dragonfly Organix both make good ones as well.
    consider vinegar has a pH of ~3 its pretty acidic, so if you are using it be sure to dilute!!

  • Jane Suchow September 9, 2014 at 13:37 PMLogin to Reply →

    After struggling with my allergies for many, many years, I decided to take a different approach (anti-biotics and steroids weren’t working anymore). I took the natural path: I removed all blinds, carpeting and rugs, etc. from my home. I have changed my diet – basically everything! I can’t express how wonderful it is to see more and more people choose natural products for their home, such as cleaning with vinegar and polishing with olive oil! I also use/add lemon or lemon juice to make my home smell fresh. Thank you for posting such great suggestions and a very well written article with great tips! Caring for hardwood floors is not easy, but every little helps. I also found this article with some step-by-step suggestions: I never wear shoes (of any kind) inside my home, always slippers.

  • Kristen Dockery February 13, 2015 at 15:52 PMLogin to Reply →

    Thanks for these great tips about taking care of your hardwood flooring. I guess I never realized that it was normal to experience problems like this with your hardwood floors. I am glad that I came across this information because I know how to keep my floors looking nicer for longer.

  • Dave Thompson April 7, 2015 at 22:45 PMLogin to Reply →

    Love the way that hardwood floors look. The warmth they bring into a room is the best thing ever. Plus they are way easier in my opinion to maintain then Tiles or carpet.