Wood Flooring Care
There are many types of wood flooring; various hard or soft wood species are used and even bamboo (although strictly this is a grass). Solid wood or engineered composite ‘planks’ are available and the surface can either be, lacquered, oiled or waxed. Raw wood can also be used, but a protective surface finish is necessary to maintain the floor quality and so raw wood is not covered by this guide.
General care and maintenance of each type will be similar, a different approach only being required when restoration of the surface is required.
Softwood - usually sanded and sealed floorboards - is much more prone to damage than hardwood and so will need more care and attention. However, as even hard woods like oak are susceptible to scratching and damage, no wood floor will remain pristine.
By following the preventative measures covered above you will greatly prolong the look of your floor and minimise the chances of damage.
A good source of information on all things relating to wood is the Timber Research and Development Association.
Wood Floor finishes
There are three types of finish; polyurethane, oil and wax. Each is cleaned in a similar way, but how you restore the surface depends very much on which finish you have.
Polyurethane: This is effectively a layer of plastic which protects and seals the wood. It is by far the most common sealant used today. Never apply oil or wax to polyurethane. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with diamond pads.
Oil: The wood is impregnated with natural oils to give a water resistant finish. To maintain the finish re-apply the specified oil product. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with standard (in conjunction with further oil treatment or diamond pads).
Wax: Sometimes considered a contentious treatment for hardwood floors, adding wax to your hardwood floor can improve its look relatively quickly. Wax is easy to clean and buff. It is also easy to add wax to continuously improve the look of your hardwood floor. However, an excessive build up wax may be difficult to remove. Also wax must never be put on an oiled or polyurethane surface. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with standard pads.