Hardwood flooring, unlike other types of floor coverings can be kept looking new, regardless of wear, with a minimum amount of effort. To protect against damage, just follow some basic, common sense guidelines. If your floor happens to get damaged, don't panic. One of the benefits of wood flooring is that because it is a natural flooring material, it can be repaired and/or refinished to look just like new. Adhering to the following preventative care guidelines will lengthen the time between (and perhaps even eliminate the need for) major renovation or restoration such as recoating or refinishing.
IMPORTANT: Wood and Water Don’t Mix
Never allow water (or other liquids) to stand on a hardwood floor for any length of time. Also, don't ever pour water on your floor—it can cause damage to the wood's structure and to the finish.
Relative humidity is also water, and maintaining a range of 30%-50% relative humidity will contribute to the satisfactory performance of your flooring. If relative humidity is allowed to become too dry or too wet, various problems may result, such as small splits/cracks, cupping, gapping, etc. [30-50% is consistent with NWFA docs and our SHF installation guidelines]
Steam mops use water vapor under pressure, and we cannot recommend them for that reason. Water causes wood to swell, resulting in raised edges, possible finish peeling, etc. We recommend using Somerset's specially-formulated Ultimate Cleaner. We also make available a Mop Kit and replacement mop heads to make cleanup easy.
Protect Your Floor with Rugs and Mats
Place doormats at all entrances to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked on your floor. Make sure you keep doormats and rugs clean.
Use the Right Cleaning and Maintenance Products
Make sure you follow all product labels and use only Somerset Ultimate Cleaner. Don't allow water to stand on your floor. Sweep, dust-mop or vacuum your floor regularly, but do not use household dusting products, because they can cause your floor to become slick and may damage the finish. The use of Somerset's specially formulated Ultimate Cleaner will ensure that your floor is properly maintained.
Use Furniture Protectors
To avoid scratching and damaging the floor's surface, place felt furniture pads or other protective pads such as gray rubber non-marking casters or fused felt casters on chair and table legs and any other furniture surface that could possibly cause finish indentations. Be sure to keep the pads clean and free of grit and dirt. Don't use ball-type casters or casters made of hard materials such as plastic or metal—these can damage your floor.
If you have furniture fitted with plastic, vinyl, or metal leg tips, it is not sufficient to to stick a piece of felt under such tips—in fact, it can put your floor at risk. Often times, the felt pads will come off and leave the original tip free to damage the floor. Instead, for plastic and vinyl tips, purchase replacement tips with fused felt that will ensure a permanent bond between the tip and the felt pad. As for metal tips, we recommend that you purchase tips on which felt pads have been applied at the manufacturing plant.
Watch Your Shoes
Make sure the heels of your shoes are in good repair—especially high heels. Heels that are missing their caps or are worn through exposing metal or other abrasive surfaces can cause scratches and dents on any floor's surface. And, of course, never walk across your floor in shoes that have cleats or spikes.
Protect from Spills in the Kitchen
Place rugs or mats in areas that are prone to spills, such as in front of the sink, refrigerator and stove. Cotton mats are recommended because they're easily cleanable. Mats with rubber backings can trap moisture on the floor and cause damage.
Move Area Rugs Regularly
When exposed to ultraviolet (sun) light, wood's natural oxidizing properties can cause the color of your floor and finish to change, taking on an age-worn patina. To keep a consistent color across your floor, rotate area rugs on a regular basis and use window coverings to protect against sun exposure.