Hardwood flooring remains a popular choice for home improvements and upgrades. But this beautiful flooring also comes with a list of common problems that require a little bit of knowledge and the right approach. Get the most out of your wood flooring investment by learning how to care for hardwood floors.

Dealing With Everyday Cleaning

Use a dry mop or microfiber broom on hardwood flooring to avoid damaging the finish and adding excess moisture to the area. Wood floors cup, crown and buckle when exposed to moisture, and even one wet mopping episode could damage your hardwood.

Wipe up spills quickly and efficiently, paying particular attention to the gaps between planks. The finish provides a certain amount of protection on the flooring pieces, but those gaps allow moisture to enter the space below and absorb into the wood.

Avoid using steam cleaners on hardwood as well. Ask your flooring retailer about good quality wood flooring cleaners that are designed for the finish applied.

Dealing With Smudging and Smearing

Hardwood flooring with a high gloss finish presents a challenge to homeowners. Although this shiny look complements modern decor, it also allows smudges and smearing to stand out.

Regular polishing is the best way to remove these markings. Plan to clean or wipe the flooring on a daily basis to retain the high gloss look and avoid smudging and smearing. Pets often leave marks on shiny floors, as do family members walking barefoot. A matte finish works best in these situations and reduces the amount of maintenance required for a pristine room.

Dealing With Oxidation

Solid hardwood flooring naturally darkens over time, especially when exposed to the sunlight. This process, called oxidation, may leave a blotchy, spotted finish in your room, depending on the location of windows and other sources of natural light.

Bright and sunny rooms darken hardwood flooring noticeably. Should you decide to move furniture after the oxidation process has occurred, you’ll discover lighter areas of hardwood underneath. These patches will darken with exposure to sunlight, but it takes time.

Another way to lessen the risk of discoloration due to oxidation involves window treatments. Keep direct sunlight from contacting the floor and you can significantly reduce or avoid oxidation altogether.

Dealing With Loose or Noisy Boards

Faulty installation and inadequate subfloors are the most likely cause of loose hardwood floorboards and squeaking, noisy flooring. Did your flooring installer use thin particle board for the subfloor? Are the floor joists spaced too far apart or missing the necessary blocking pieces? Both of these issues result in loosened boards, which most often creates noise and other deterioration.

Add nails or adhesive to the flooring planks and inspect the subfloor, if possible. Put in blocking wedges between floor joists to avoid movement and consider replacing weakened subfloors. This project requires an extensive investment in time and money, but it may be the only option for certain noisy floorboards.

The fear of common hardwood flooring problems should not deter you from purchasing this beautiful product. Durable, attractive and highly valuable, hardwood floor presents many benefits that far outweigh problems like smudging, oxidation and noisy planks. An efficient cleaning routine will keep your hardwood looking gorgeous for years to come.