Seasonal Maintenance Tips for Engineered Hardwood Flooring

a sage green kitchen with oak flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring adds both beauty and durability to your home. However, they need the right care to keep their beauty and last longer.

As the seasons change, your hardwood flooring requires different types of care. In this article, we will go over important tips for taking care of your wood floors all year long.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring is a type of flooring that combines the beauty of natural hardwood with enhanced stability and durability. Unlike solid hardwood, which is made from a single piece of wood, engineered hardwood consists of multiple layers.

Spring Cleaning: Make Your Floors Look New Again

oak flooring in a hallway

Spring is the ideal time for a fresh start at home, especially for your engineered hardwood floors. It’s a season for rejuvenation, ensuring your floors continue to contribute to your home’s beauty and comfort.

This period is also perfect for assessing the need for refinishing engineered hardwood floors, which can restore their shine and protect them from wear and tear.

Sweeping and Vacuuming

Dust removal should start with thorough sweeping. A soft broom or microfiber mop is great for collecting dust, pet hair, and small particles, helping prevent scratches on your floor.

For vacuuming, it’s best to use a vacuum with a hardwood setting that avoids harsh suction and prevents scratching.

Mopping

When mopping, choose a flat mop with a microfiber pad and a cleaner made for engineered wood floors. This combination is both effective and gentle.

Mop lightly, avoiding too much water, as excess moisture can harm the wood. For spots or spills, gently clean them with a damp cloth and the cleaner, avoiding abrasive scrubbers.

Regular Maintenance Tips

  • Clean Regularly: Make sure to clean your hardwood floors every week to prevent dirt accumulation and maintain their appearance.
  • Prevent Scratches: When moving heavy furniture, be cautious. Place pads under the legs of the furniture to avoid scratching your floor.
  • Shield from the Sun: Excessive sunlight can cause fading in engineered hardwood floors. Use curtains or blinds to control the sunlight exposure on your hardwood.

Summer Care: Protecting Against Humidity and Sunlight

oak flooring in a hallway

In the summer, the extra warmth, humidity, and longer daylight can be tough on engineered hardwood. Protecting them from these seasonal changes is very important.

Managing Humidity

During summer, the high humidity can cause engineered wood floors to take in moisture, leading to swelling or warping. Constant humidity can also lead to mold and mildew, damaging both the look and strength of the floors.

To handle this, using a dehumidifier in your home is a smart move. It keeps the air’s moisture at the ideal level, usually between 35% and 55%, which is best for wood floors.

Keeping your home well-ventilated and using air conditioning can also help move air around, reducing humidity and maintaining a stable temperature.

Protecting Against Sunlight

Extended exposure to sunlight can fade or change the color of engineered wood floors, especially in sunnier spots. Protecting your hardwood from sun damage can be done effectively with blinds, curtains, or UV-blocking window films.

These reduce the UV light that enters your home. It’s also a good idea to occasionally move furniture and rugs to ensure that sunlight exposure is spread out evenly across your floors, preventing uneven color changes.

Extra Tips for Summer Care

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep up with your usual cleaning to make sure your hardwood doesn’t get dirty. Use a dry mop or a lightly damp cloth to clean, but don’t use too much water.
  • Clean Spills Fast: Spills might happen more often in the summer. Clean them up right away to stop the wood from getting wet.
  • Mats and Runners: Put mats and runners in places where people walk a lot to keep your surface from getting worn out. This is important if you’re going in and out a lot and might bring in dirt.

Fall Focus: Preparing for the Cooler Months

oak flooring with a dark blue island and white quartz

As autumn rolls in, bringing cooler, drier air, your engineered hardwood floors require special care to stay in top shape during the cold months.

Spotting and Addressing Gaps in Flooring

Wood tends to shrink when the air becomes cooler and less humid, which might cause tiny spaces between your engineered hardwood planks. This is a natural occurrence, but if these gaps are too large, it could be cause for concern.

You should inspect your floors for any noticeable gaps, using simple tools like a ruler or a coin to measure them. While small gaps, roughly less than the thickness of a dime, are typically fine, larger gaps should be looked at by professionals.

Hardwood floor specialists can advise on solutions like adjusting indoor humidity or using wood fillers for more significant gaps.

Rug Placement and Maintenance

During the colder months, indoor activities usually increase, leading to more foot traffic on your hardwood. Placing rugs in these high-traffic areas can help in reducing wear.

It’s important to choose rugs with a gentle backing to avoid scratches on the surface. Also, make sure to clean under these rugs frequently to prevent any unseen damage.

Other Tips for Fall

  • Controlling Humidity: Think about using a humidifier to keep the humidity in your house stable. This helps stop the wood from shrinking too much and prevents gaps.
  • Keep Up with Cleaning: Stick to your usual cleaning, but remember you don’t need as much water. The air is drier, so there’s less risk of water damage, but still, be careful not to make the floors too wet.
  • Get Ready for Mud and Leaves: Fall means more mud and leaves can get into your house. Put mats at all doors to keep out as much outdoor mess as possible.

Winter Wisdom: How to Keep Your Floors Safe and Sound

Winter brings special problems for engineered hardwood floors. Dry air and salt and water from snow can harm them, so taking care is important to keep them in good shape.

Using a Humidifier

In winter, the main issue is the dry air inside, which can dry out the wood, possibly causing it to shrink or crack. Using a humidifier is very helpful. It keeps the moisture level in your house stable, which is crucial for the health of your floors.

Try to keep your home’s humidity between 30-50%, a safe range for wood floors that helps prevent shrinking. It’s smart to regularly use a hygrometer to monitor your home’s humidity, adjusting your humidifier settings when necessary.

Cleaning Up Salt and Water

During winter, it’s common to bring in salt and water from icy paths and roads, which can be harmful to hardwood. Salt can leave a white mark and damage the finish, while water can cause stains and warping.

Cleaning up any spills of salt and water quickly is important. Use a soft, dry cloth to absorb water and then a damp cloth with a gentle cleaner for salt residues.

After wiping, ensure the surface is completely dry with a dry cloth. Prevent problems by placing strong mats at all doors to catch moisture and dirt, and encourage removing snowy boots at the door.

oak flooring in a living room

More Tips for Winter Care

  • Keep Cleaning: Stick to your normal sweeping and vacuuming to keep the surfaces free from rough stuff like salt and tiny stones from the outside.
  • Don’t Overheat: In winter, you might want to turn up the heat, but too much heat can dry out your wood floors. Use rugs for warmth and keep your house at a steady, not-too-hot temperature.
  • Look for Damage: Regularly check your hardwood for signs of winter damage, like cracks or splits. Finding issues early can stop them from getting worse and save you money on repairs.

All-Season Floor Care: Keeping it Consistent

Taking care of engineered hardwood floors is an important task that needs attention all year. You’ll need different approaches for different seasons, but remember, some key care methods are crucial no matter the time of year to keep your surface in top shape.

Steer Clear of Strong Cleaners

Always opt for cleaners specifically designed for engineered hardwood floors. These are tailored to clean effectively while preserving the wood’s finish and structure.

It’s essential to avoid cleaners with aggressive chemicals like ammonia or bleach. These substances can harm the floor’s finish, leaving the wood open to damage and discoloration, and can make the floors less shiny.

If you’re into natural cleaning solutions, a diluted mixture of water with a bit of mild soap or vinegar can do the trick. Just remember to use them sparingly and ensure your cleaning tool is barely damp to prevent water damage.

Use Felt Pads on Furniture

Keep your wooden floors scratch-free by sticking felt pads under your furniture legs., these pads act as a shield. Make sure to clean and change these pads often to stop dirt from gathering, which can scratch the floor.

When you need to move heavy furniture, it’s better to pick it up instead of dragging it. This helps prevent scratches or deep marks, even if you’re using felt pads.

Quickly Clean Up Spills

Deal with spills right away. Engineered hardwood floors are more resistant to water than traditional ones, but they can still get damaged if wet for too long.

To clean a spill, gently press a soft, absorbent cloth on it without rubbing. If the spill is tough, use a damp cloth, then a dry one to keep the surface dry.

Acting fast can reduce the risk of the wood warping, bending, or changing color because of water. Quick cleaning can also reduce the likelihood of needing to refinish the floors.

General Tips for All Year

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your floors often by sweeping, using a dust mop, or vacuuming. This gets rid of dirt that could scratch them. Keeping your floors clean helps them look new for longer and reduces the need for repairs.
  • Protect from Sunlight: Keep your hardwood floors away from too much sunlight. Sunlight can fade or change the color of the wood over time. It can speed up the fading process, which may mean you need to refinish them sooner.
  • Control the Climate: Keep the indoor temperature and humidity constant. Sudden changes can cause the wood to either expand or shrink. Extreme changes in temperature and humidity can make the wood change shape, and you might need extra work to get it back to how it originally looked.

To sum up, looking after engineered hardwood floors means both regular and seasonal care to keep them looking great and lasting long. You need to clean them often, protect them from things like sunlight and water, and quickly clean up any spills.

If you follow these steps, your floor will stay beautiful and strong. Taking care of your hardwood floors is a good way to make sure they keep adding beauty and value to your home for a long time.

How often should I clean my engineered hardwood floors?

Regularly sweep, dust, or vacuum the floors weekly to remove dirt and grit. Avoid excessive water; use a damp mop for more thorough cleaning.

Can I use a steam mop on engineered hardwood floors?

It’s generally not recommended to use steam mops, as the moisture and heat can damage the wood and adhesive layers.

Is it okay to wax-engineered hardwood floors?

Typically, waxing is not recommended for engineered hardwoods, especially those with a urethane finish, as it can dull the finish and create a slippery surface.

How can I fix minor scratches on engineered hardwood?

Minor scratches can often be repaired with a touch-up kit or color-matched wood filler designed for engineered hardwood.

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