Once you have gorgeous wood floors in your home, you want to protect them at all costs. Engineered hardwood adds a lot of value to your property. Even if you don’t care about monetary value, there’s no denying the elegance, style, and charm your wood floors bring to your home. You don’t want that beauty to go to waste after just a few years. Even though engineered hardwood is a durable, long-lasting flooring option, an active lifestyle can lead to dents, scratches, and other wear and tear over time. That’s why it’s essential to develop and maintain a care routine for your wood floors—especially if you lead an active, busy life. Make sure your floors stay gleaming and gorgeous for years to come with this guide on how to care for engineered wood floors in an active home.
Challenges of an Active Home
Why does the activity level in your home matter? Running feet, pet claws, and lots of foot traffic can take their toll on your floors. The more people you have walking in and out of your house every day, the more wear and tear your floors will see. There are many different types of active households, and each presents its own challenges for hardwood floor owners. For example, families with a lot of pets have to be careful about fur piling up or claws scratching against the floors. Young families need to watch out for kids running through the house, food and drink spills, or little hands dropping heavy objects. There’s nothing wrong with these and other challenges—after all, they’re a natural part of life. However, being aware of these dangers to your floors can help you develop a proactive cleaning routine that minimizes damage to your home.
The Type of Wood Matters
Engineered hardwood comes in a wide variety of designs. You can choose between different species, stains, grades, finishes, and other details to find a flooring option that perfectly suits your home design. Your flooring choices affect more than just aesthetics, though. Certain engineered hardwood floors are better suited for busy households. For example, if your home sees a lot of activity, you probably want a harder wood species. Hickory has a Janka hardness rating of 1820, making engineered hickory flooring one of the sturdiest options on the market. Your flooring’s color also plays a huge role in how it looks over time. If you’re worried about scratches from pet claws, you might want to opt for a lighter flooring color. Scratches won’t contrast as much with a light-colored floor, making them easier to conceal. Light or mid-tone floors also do a good job of hiding pet hair.
Establish Rules and Preventative Measures
While a maintenance routine is important, the best way to start caring for your floors is with a few key preventative measures. If you’re proactive about maintaining your hardwood flooring, you won’t have nearly as many issues down the line. Simple rules like taking your shoes off at the door can prevent you from tracking in dirt and other debris that will grind into your floor’s finish and cause damage. It also helps to place a doormat at your home’s entrances so that you and your guests can wipe off your feet and keep the floor clean. Protect high-traffic areas like hallways and staircases by adding carpet runners. You can also put area rugs beneath heavy furniture—like couches or coffee tables—to prevent damage to your wood floors. Speaking of furniture, felt pads under furniture feet are a great way to prevent scratches as you move or adjust pieces in the room.
Keep the Right Supplies on Hand
Another major part of how to care for engineered wood floors in an active home is keeping all the necessary cleaning supplies on hand. The last thing you want is to start cleaning your wood floors, only to realize you don’t have the right tools in your home. Make maintenance easy by keeping a broom and dustpan on hand. Sweeping regularly is a huge part of caring for your wood floors. Additionally, invest in a good vacuum that works on solid floors. Avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar, as this can damage your floors as much as it cleans them. If you don’t want to use a vacuum, you can work with a microfiber dust mop or another form of dry mop instead. Finally, invest in gentle cleaners that work well with natural wood flooring. Avoid using harsh chemicals that harm your floor’s finish. If you’re not sure where to start, look up recommendations from your wood flooring manufacturer.
Stay Vigilant Against Spills
No matter what kind of home or lifestyle you have, spills and water damage are the biggest threats to your wood floors. Standing water can seep into the wood and cause the boards to expand, buckle, and crack. Keep a towel on hand so that you can quickly clean up any spills and keep your floors dry. If you have engineered hardwood in spill-prone rooms—such as the kitchen or bathroom—strategically place waterproof mats to keep trouble areas dry. Additionally, be careful when using wet products on your floors. Never use a wet mop on engineered hardwood. Instead, use a damp mop or a dry dust mop to capture dirt, hair, and other debris. After cleaning your floors, dry any leftover moisture quickly so that it doesn’t linger and ruin the wood.
How To Handle Dents, Scratches, and Other Damage
Accidents happen no matter how careful you are, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Fixing a spill, scratch, or dent quickly will help you minimize damage. Use scratch concealer to fix scratches. In addition to masking the obvious white lines of a scratch in your floors, scratch concealer seals the flaw and prevents further damage to the area. You can also buff out shallow scratches if your wood veneer is thick enough. By addressing damage quickly, you prevent further problems and keep your floors looking beautiful even as the years go by.
Life happens, especially in a busy household. But with a little care and attention, you can make sure your wood floors hold up against all the stress, excitement, and action life throws at you.