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.