Whether you live in a traditional home or a more modern dwelling, natural wooden flooring is likely to be one of the types of flooring you choose, perhaps even the sole choice for the entire home. Natural wooden floors are available in such a wide variety of woods and stains that you can be sure to find a flooring option to suit your home décor and needs. Sought-after for their durability and natural beauty, wooden floors do require a degree of care and maintenance to keep them looking fresh for years to come.
Protecting your wooden floors
Wooden floors are not simply an interior design choice; they are a long-term investment that you make in your home. A well-maintained, beautiful wooden floor is not only a joy to look at and walk upon, but also adds tangible value to your home. Wooden floors may be damaged in a variety of ways; dirt and debris can wear at the floor’s finish and cause dents and scratches over time, while heavy traffic in certain areas of the floor will cause isolated spots of intense wear and damage.
Before you begin maintaining your wooden floors, you need to know a bit about the type of protective finish your floor has, since this will determine how your floor should be properly cared for. There are two types of wooden floor finishes: surface finishes and penetrating seals. Surface finishes are the types of finishes you will find on most wooden floors, with the most popular being polyurethane. Other types of surface finishes include water-based urethane and catalysed finishes. Surface finishes form a protective layer over the surface of the wood and shield the floors from harm with a glossy barrier.
The second type of wooden floor finish is the penetrating seal, which includes acrylics, waxes and oils. Penetrating seals are a frequent choice in eco home design, particularly the oil finishes, since many of the surface finishes can have high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that may be present during the application and clean-up stages, as well as in the air for some time afterward. Penetrating oil finishes, such as linseed oil and tung oil, do not provide a lot of protection for your floor, though tung oil is the more durable of the two.
When you look into what maintaining wooden floors in your home will require, think about the traffic patterns that the floor will have. Area rugs and runners are an excellent way to protect your wooden floor in high-traffic areas, protecting the finish from being scratched by dirt and debris on shoes, as well as the scratches that may result from pet nails tapping along.
Enjoying your natural wooden floor
Wooden floors, when properly maintained, are a lasting investment in the home itself and the life lived within. Taking care of your floor, protecting it from the elements and damage, as well as cleaning it, will keep it looking beautiful for years to come.