Caring for Your Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Tips and Best Practices
Engineered hardwood flooring provides the desired look of solid hardwood flooring while offering increased stability and resistance to moisture. With proper care and maintenance, engineered hardwood floors can last for decades. In this guide, we'll explore the best practices for caring for your engineered hardwood flooring, including cleaning and maintenance tips and addressing common issues such as scratches, water damage, and discolouration.
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
- Sweep or vacuum regularly: To keep your engineered hardwood floors in good condition, sweep or vacuum them regularly to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Use a soft-bristle broom or a vacuum cleaner with a hardwood floor attachment to avoid damaging the floor's surface.
- Use a dry microfibre mop: A dry microfibre mop is an excellent tool for cleaning engineered hardwood floors. The microfibre's electrostatic properties help attract and hold dust and dirt, preventing them from being redistributed across the floor.
- Use a damp mop: Occasionally, your floors will require deeper cleaning. Use a damp (not wet) mop with a cleaning solution specifically designed for engineered hardwood floors. Avoid using excessive water, as this can cause damage to the flooring.
- Don't use harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools, as these can damage the floor's finish. Stick to gentle, pH-neutral cleaners designed for engineered hardwood floors.
- Use protective pads: Place felt or rubber pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents on your engineered hardwood floors. Regularly check and replace these pads as needed.
- Avoid high heels: High-heeled shoes can cause dents and scratches on engineered hardwood floors. Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before walking on the floor.
- Use area rugs and mats: Place area rugs or mats in high-traffic areas to protect your engineered hardwood floors from wear and tear. Ensure the rugs and mats have a non-slip backing to prevent slipping hazards.
- Maintain consistent humidity levels: Engineered hardwood floors can be sensitive to changes in humidity. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain consistent humidity levels in your home, ideally between 40% and 60%.
Common Issues and Solutions
Scratches on engineered hardwood floors are inevitable, especially in high-traffic areas. Here are some tips for dealing with scratches:
- Use a touch-up kit: Purchase a touch-up kit specifically designed for engineered hardwood floors. These kits typically contain a marker or crayon to fill in the scratch and a sealant to protect the repair.
- Refinish the floor: If the scratches are deep or widespread, consider refinishing your engineered hardwood floor. This process involves sanding down the top layer of the floor and applying a new finish. Remember that engineered hardwood floors can only be refinished a limited number of times, depending on the thickness of the top layer.
Water damage can cause engineered hardwood floors to warp, buckle, or discolour. To prevent water damage:
- Wipe up spills immediately: Clean up any spills on your engineered hardwood floors as soon as possible to prevent water from seeping into the layers.
- Use a dehumidifier: If you live in a humid climate or have experienced flooding, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
- Seal the floor: Consider sealing your engineered hardwood floor to protect it from water damage. This process involves applying a water-resistant coating to the surface of the floor.
If your engineered hardwood floor has already suffered water damage, you may need to take the following steps:
- Assess the damage: Inspect the affected area to determine the extent of the damage. Look for signs of warping, buckling, or discolouration.
- Dry the area: Remove any standing water and use fans or dehumidifiers to dry the affected area thoroughly. This process may take several days.
- Replace damaged boards: If the damage is localised, you may be able to replace the affected boards. Consult a flooring professional for guidance on this process. Removing and replacing individual boards without damaging the surrounding floor can be challenging.
- Refinish or replace the entire floor: If the water damage is extensive or the floor has been repeatedly exposed to moisture, you may need to refinish or replace the whole floor.
Here are some tips for preventing and addressing discolouration:
- Use window coverings: Prevent exposure to direct sunlight by using curtains, blinds, or window film to protect your engineered hardwood floors from harmful UV rays.
- Rotate area rugs and furniture: Periodically rotate area rugs and furniture to ensure that your floor receives even exposure to sunlight, reducing the risk of uneven discolouration.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools that can damage the floor's finish and cause discolouration.
- Refinish the floor: If your engineered hardwood floor has become discoloured, refinishing may be necessary to restore its original appearance. This process involves sanding down the top layer and applying a new finish. Consult a flooring professional to determine if refinishing is the best option for your floor.
Additional Tips for Caring for Your Engineered Hardwood Flooring
- Be mindful of temperature changes: Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause engineered hardwood floors to expand and contract. To minimise the risk of damage, try to maintain a consistent indoor temperature throughout the year.
- Trim pet nails: Pets can cause scratches and damage to engineered hardwood floors. Keep your pet's nails trimmed to minimise the risk of damage.
- Clean pet accidents immediately: If your pet has an accident on the floor, clean it up immediately to prevent staining and damage.
- Use pet-friendly area rugs and mats: Protect your engineered hardwood floors by using pet-friendly area rugs and mats in areas where your pets frequently spend time.
- Act quickly: The sooner you address a stain, the better your chances are of removing it. Always clean up spills and stains as promptly as possible.
- Use appropriate cleaning products: Use cleaning products specifically designed for engineered hardwood floors to remove stains.
- Consult a professional: If you cannot remove a stubborn stain, consult a flooring professional for guidance on the best course of action.
The Importance of Professional Assistance
While proper care and maintenance of your engineered hardwood flooring can go a long way in preserving its beauty and longevity, it's essential to recognise the value of professional assistance. Flooring professionals have the knowledge and expertise to help you address complex issues such as extensive water damage, discolouration, or the need for refinishing.
By following the tips and best practices outlined in this guide, you can enjoy the beauty and durability of your engineered hardwood floors for many years. Remember, a well-maintained floor not only enhances the appearance of your home but also contributes to its overall value and appeal.