Sweep, sweep, sweep. A well finished hardwood floor is easy to maintain. It is important that you keep grit off the surface of the finish. Once it’s on there and then walked upon, it will act just like sandpaper. The frequency of cleaning depends on your household. A house with two adults, two children and a dog should be swept at least every other day. I also recommend you clean your floor weekly with the same method we use to prepare the floors for finish. We vacuum the floor first with a soft felt head. We then use micro-fiber mops as our final step in cleaning the floors before we apply finish. We wet the heads with water, ring them out thoroughly, and go over the floor never breaking contact. This traps the dust and small grit, holding it to the front edge of the mop. We go around the perimeter first and then use a figure eight pattern to clean the field. When you’re done, you should have a small pile of debris that can be pinched up into the mop head and washed out.
Additionally, you should use a floor cleaner
Additionally, you should use a floor cleaner once a month. The only one I feel comfortable recommending is the Pallman floor cleaner. I am sure there are plenty on the market that are adequate, but beware of any that promise anything but a clean floor. Never use anything that “enhances” the sheen of the finish. These typically will have some acrylic finish or wax in them and interfere with the re-coating of your floors, potentially forcing you to do a full re-sand. Products like Orange-Glo, Lemon Pledge, etc. should never be used any of our flooring products.
Pets are amazing. Whether you own a dog, a cat, or something else, you probably love it. I'm guessing no matter how much you love your floors, you love your pet more. However, pets as a general rule are not good for hardwood flooring. We use a very durable finish called Pallman 96, but there is no finish ever created that can withstand the nails of an animal. Their nails scratch the finish and mar the wood. Their urine has acid in it which will turn the wood permanently black. You need to be aware of what they are doing and try to prevent as much damage as possible. If they are messy drinkers, place waterproof mats under their water bowls. If they have a favorite place they like to lay down you can put a blanket or bed there. If your pet urinates on the floor get it up immediately. Most of the scratching from dogs comes from older dogs getting up or younger dogs "dancing." You will definitely get scratching from dogs running through the house. We use Pallman 96 which is very durable, but there is no finish on the market stronger than a dog's nails. I have even seen cats scratch floors by running on them and taking a very sharp turn.
Knowing when to re-coat is a little tricky. You always want to keep an eye on the heavily trafficked areas such as in front of the refrigerator or sink. The finish will tend to have an ashy white appearance when it gets excessive wear. In time it will not be able to repel water. This is bad. It means the finish is worn completely through. Depending on the finish you can spot coat only the affected areas or you can re-coat the entire floor. If you catch it before it gets too bad you can extend the life and look of your floors considerably.
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