Malaysia's humid climate can present some challenges in maintaining the beauty and durability of your parquet flooring. In this guide, we will discuss tips on how to keep your parquet flooring looking its best in Malaysia's humid climate, including regular cleaning, using the right cleaning products, and protecting the floor from moisture.
Understand the Impact of Humidity on Parquet Flooring
Before diving into the tips, it is essential to understand the impact of humidity on parquet flooring. High humidity can cause wooden floors to expand, which may result in warping or cupping. Conversely, low humidity can cause the wood to contract, leading to gaps between the floorboards. To maintain your parquet flooring, minimising these fluctuations in humidity levels is crucial.
Monitor Indoor Humidity Levels
Invest in a good-quality hygrometer to monitor your home's indoor humidity levels. Ideally, the humidity should be between 45% and 60% for optimal parquet flooring maintenance. If the humidity levels are consistently outside this range, consider investing in a dehumidifier or humidifier to help regulate the indoor climate. Running a dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture from the air, reducing the risk of humidity-related damage to your parquet flooring. Be sure to empty the water reservoir regularly and maintain the dehumidifier according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Dirt and grit can scratch and damage your parquet flooring, so it is essential to clean it regularly. Sweep, vacuum, or use a dry microfibre mop to remove dust and debris from the floor's surface. Be sure to use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment or a hardwood floor setting to avoid causing damage. Clean the floor at least once a week or more frequently if necessary.
Use the Right Cleaning Products
Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your parquet flooring, as they can strip the finish and damage the wood. Instead, use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for wooden floors. When mopping the floor, use a damp (not wet) microfibre mop or cloth to prevent excessive water from seeping into the wood. Remember to wring out the mop or cloth thoroughly before using it on the floor.
Address Spills Immediately
Accidents happen, and spills are inevitable. However, clean up any spills as soon as possible to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and causing damage. Use a soft, absorbent cloth to blot up the spill, and then dampen the cloth slightly with water to clean the affected area. Dry the area thoroughly with a clean cloth to remove any residual moisture.
Protect the Floor from Moisture
Take extra steps to protect your parquet flooring from moisture. Place waterproof mats or trays near entryways, in the kitchen, and under potted plants to catch any water or dirt that might be tracked onto the floor. Additionally, consider using a water-resistant sealant or finish on your parquet flooring to provide an added layer of protection.
Maintain Proper Ventilation
Ensure that your home is well-ventilated to help control humidity levels and prevent the growth of mould and mildew. Keep windows open when the weather permits, and use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to remove excess moisture. Regularly check and clean your air conditioning units and filters, as dirty filters can reduce airflow and contribute to increased humidity levels.
Control Direct Sunlight
Excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause your parquet flooring to fade or discolour over time. Use curtains, blinds, or window films to control the amount of sunlight that enters your home, especially during the hottest parts of the day. This will not only help protect your parquet flooring but also help regulate indoor temperatures and contribute to a more comfortable living environment.
Regularly Inspect for Signs of Damage
Periodically inspect your parquet flooring for signs of damage, such as warping, cupping, or gaps between the floorboards. Addressing these issues early can prevent further damage and help maintain the appearance and integrity of your flooring. Consult a professional flooring specialist if you notice any significant issues or need help handling a particular problem.
Refinish and Repair When Necessary
Over time, your parquet flooring may require refinishing or repair to maintain its beauty and durability. Depending on the type of finish and the level of wear and tear, refinishing may be necessary every 7-10 years. This process involves sanding down the floor to remove any scratches or damage and then reapplying a protective finish. If you notice individual floorboards are damaged or warped, consult a professional to assess whether they need to be replaced or repaired.
Follow Manufacturer's Recommendations
If your parquet flooring comes with detailed care and maintenance instructions from the manufacturer, be sure to follow them closely. These recommendations are based on the specific materials and finishes used in your flooring. They can provide valuable guidance on keeping your floor in top condition.
Acclimate Your Flooring Before Installation
One often-overlooked aspect of maintaining parquet flooring begins before installation. Allow your parquet flooring to acclimate to your home's humidity levels before installing it. This typically involves storing the flooring in the room where it will be installed for at least 48 hours, ensuring that it adjusts to the specific conditions of your home. Proper acclimation can help prevent warping, cupping, and other humidity-related issues once the flooring is installed.
Schedule Regular Professional Maintenance
In addition to your regular cleaning and maintenance routine, scheduling periodic professional maintenance can help prolong the life of your parquet flooring. Experienced flooring specialists can assess the overall condition of your floor, recommend necessary repairs or refinishing, and provide expert guidance on maintaining your flooring.
Educate Family Members and Guests
Encourage family members and visitors to remove their shoes before walking on the floor, and inform them about the risks of spills or using harsh cleaning products. By fostering a shared understanding of proper parquet flooring care, you can help protect your flooring investment.
Maintaining parquet flooring in Malaysia's humid climate requires vigilance and a proactive approach to care and maintenance. By implementing these tips and regularly monitoring your home's humidity levels, you can continue to enjoy the timeless elegance and warmth of parquet flooring.