Maintaining Hardwood Floors.

I just moved into a house with new hardwood floors.

They are not “composite” hardwood, but the real thing.

I’ve never had to take care of hardwood floors before.

Is there any recommended cleaner or wax that is especially good for floors.

Any advice is appreciated, this is an issue my wife and I are discussing endlessly.

Thanks in advance.

I use a good vacuum on my hardwood floors (Miele), and a hardwood floor cleaner when I mop (Bona). Other than that, common sense will keep them beautiful- don’t drop heavy stuff, don’t spill grape juice or other stuff that stains, try not to track around sand or other grit, put slides on furniture feet if they will scratch, etc.

Your floors should last a hundred years with reasonable care.

You can put waxes and things on them to make them shiny but that also makes them slick and I have busted my ass hard from that sort of thing. As per above, you don’t have to do much at all except keep them clean. Most wooden floors can be lightly mopped with something like Murphy’s Oil Soap. That is what we do and it seems to work great. Our floors are 250 years old and don’t look a day over 10.

<hijack> What’s the general opinion on the durability of composite floors? When I eventually buy a house, I want to have wood floors, but I don’t think I can afford actual hard wood. Same question for bamboo.

Is the coating Varnish or Polyurethane?

I think this seems to be the subject of the Hardwood Floor Wars.

Fer example:

I damp mop mine. Use one of those static cleaners thingys to get up the dust. Use pads/felt on the feet of funiture, no high-heel shoes, a little scratch or dig gives character.

I have old wood floors, quite possible the original wood (house built in 1910). Anyone know the correct ratio of water to vinegar for cleaning?

Yes, I have made the mistake of using Murphy’s Oil Soap during this first year in this house. :frowning:


Bamboo is a touch too soft for my needs, but lots of people like it. In general, a normal family should do fine with bamboo (we are not normal- we live with Newfoundlands).

As far as the “composite” floors, do you mean laminate flooring? Because some are just a s good as hardwood. We looked at some that was pretty good. In fact, the sandable surface of several laminates was exactly the same as the hardwood! The sandable surface of most wood floors is 1/4-1/2 inches IIRC, and many laminates now have that same amount of hardwood on the surface.

What do you do for significant scratches that penetrate the shiny coating? How do I know if I have varnish or polyurethane? Would it hurt to q-tip some polyurethane on the scratches?

I just had some installed, and got a long speech from the installer about how to care for the floor. The floors are prefinished but all wood (not composite).

Basically, he said “felt pads are numero uno.” Always have pads under furniture.

Be careful not to scratch the floor, even with a vacuum cleaner. He prefers to use a broom. But if the vac doesn’t have any sharp edges it should be OK.

After you sweep (or vacuum), you can use “hardwood floor cleaner” and a special mop-thing called a “shmop.” Here is a link showing what I mean.

In lieu of “hardwood floor cleaner” you can use water with a small amount of ammonia.

He said it’s VERY IMPORTANT to NEVER use wax on the floor. It will attract dirt and eventually lead to scratches.

By composite I assume you mean veneer where a thin layer (usually less than 1/8") of wood covers a plywood base. When I installed our wood floor that is what we used. Looks great, but is only 6 mo old so I can say anything about the durability. One thing we found out quickly-our vacuum is a no-no. It scratched the floor first time. So we use a broom.

From my research there are two key considerations in wood floors: the base and the straightness. That is, you have to put something under a wood floor, at least a water vapor block. Almost always you put in a thin cushioning pad. The more attention and money you apply to the pad the better your floor will be. Shop for the pad and once you have a good one, you have a good supplier and can get the wood from there. Equally important, especially as part of installation, is to make sure the wood strips are completely straight. Even if they can be forced together, they will separate over time and squeak. We got 1/2 through our install, the remaining wood was slightly warped, and we threw away all $1000 of wood flooring and started over (the store replaced the entire shipment for free). As for care, keep grit off the floor, don’t spill anything that stains, and enjoy!

You might try these- we have had very good luck with them.

Miele vacuums. They don’t mar the floor at all.

If you use a vacuum make sure there are NO beater brushes, looks **EJsGirl’s ** suggestion is a good one.