How to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
One of the main reasons why people would opt for the engineered flooring is because it is very easy to care and maintain. If you just learn the proper way of cleaning and maintaining your engineered flooring, then you can be guaranteed that the floor will last for several years and even for a lifetime. Learning the proper steps on how to clean engineered hardwood floors can also help to maintain the high quality luster of the flooring which makes it to stay aesthetically pleasing despite of the daily wear and tear. Furthermore, having well maintained engineered hardwood flooring can also help to increase the overall value of your home which is a good thing if you are planning to sell your property.
Wooden surfaces, even those that are protected by rugged coating of polyurethane or other finishes, must be cleaned well and in a regular basis as well. The dirt, debris, dust and sand on your floor could act like sandpaper which will just dull up the finish or remove the luster of the floor. In addition, liquids that are spilled on the floor and not attended to quickly can further damage your engineered flooring.
This article can serve as your guide. It will give you an overview of what it takes in order to keep your engineered hardwood flooring to look great even for the many years to come. In order to get the most out of your investment, you must give it consistent care and maintenance.
Prepare the Tools, Equipment and Supplies
First, you will need to prepare something in order to remove all the loose dirt, dust and debris. Thus, before you go on with the steps, you have to first prepare the materials that you will need for this project. The basic tools that you will need are a dustpan as well as soft broom. You can also make use of a vacuum instead of a broom. A lightweight vacuum that does not have a rotating bristle bar or one that comes with the hardwood floor mode is a great choice.
You can also make use of a mop that is slightly damp in removing the debris off the floor. If there is excess water on the floor right after you clean it, then grab a towel to dry it up. For tougher spots, you can go for a manufacturer recommended cleaner and refer to the instructions and use it as instructed. Most manufacturers will make cleaning kits to be used for cleaning their own flooring. Here are important tips to keep in mind.
Avoid using vinegar or ammonia as cleaners as this can ruin your floor.
Do not use steam cleaner in cleaning your engineered hardwood floors since the moisture can be forced down towards the wood and will cause damage on your floor.
Make sure that you follow the instructions specific for the kind of flooring that you have.
Refinishing the Flooring
When you purchase the engineered flooring, you will have two options. One is the kind of material that can be refinished and another that should be replaced when worn. The thickness of the top layer of the wood can help determine whether or not the engineered flooring should be refinished. It is also important to note that the cost of the engineered hardwood flooring will also depend on the type of flooring that you choose.
Some of the thicker flooring, which is usually 3/4 inch, can be possibly refinished more than once and this can significantly extend its useful life. If that is the case, you will get as much as 80 years of wear and even more. The thinner materials which are usually 3/8 inch might have a wear layer that’s very thin to be refinished and will provide ten to fifteen years of wear.
How heavy the traffic is on a certain area of the flooring will also determine the amount of care that it needs and how long the flooring will last. The different thicknesses will also give you options and you can decide based on how long you plan to live on your current home or how long you use the building, if it is a commercial one.
Cleaning the Spills
The first step is about cleaning spills. Remember that it is important that you immediately clean the spills on your engineered flooring the moment it happens. Remember that engineered floors are not designed for a longer exposure to moisture.
In addition, some of the liquids can possibly stain the laminate floor if they are to be left on the area for a longer time. These liquids can work their way in between the layers of the boards and the veneer. When this happens, it is important that you replace the stained boards instead of trying to clean the stain.
Using rugs is a great way to keep the high traffic areas on your floor fully protected against hazards, like high heels and other damaging scuffmarks. But the problem with rugs is that they have the tendency to trap fine dirt and dust on the floor so you have to be very careful with using them. As much as possible, lift the rugs regularly and clean the areas down below. Remember that the dirt that gets trapped below the rug could scratch off your engineered floors especially when someone would step on the rug and slide it on the floor.
For floors that will lead to the outside, it is best that you place mats on such area both in the indoors and outdoors. This can help to remove any excess dirt coming from the dirty footwear.
Regularly Sweep the Floor
It is important that you regularly sweep your floor with a soft bristled broom or perhaps, a dust mop. You need to do this twice or thrice in a week. This can help to prevent much bigger dirt particles from being grinded into and then end up scratching your floor. This can also remove the finer dirt that will serve as sandpaper on the finish of the floor especially when subjected to heavy foot traffic. This is very important especially for those with pets in the house.
One of the tips is to make use of a vacuum. But make sure that you are using the vacuum cleaner with soft brush and try to vacuum your floor at least once a week. This can help to take off even the finest dirt and dust particles that will accumulate on the cracks as well as on the floor joints. If you leave this unattended, the dust and dirt could compromise the seal of the floor and will cause the boards to buckle or shift.
Your engineered flooring could appear soiled in some instances even with regular vacuuming and sweeping. If the floor’s shine will begin to dull, make use of a damp mop with a small amount of cleaner in bringing back the original luster of the floor. The best way to this is deep cleaning and this can be achieved by using a mop that is damp but not soaking wet. The important thing is that you will be able to remove the thin layer of the film and not to thoroughly soak the wood. It is also important that the engineered flooring is slightly damp while you mop it and then thoroughly dry it within minutes.
Sometimes, your kids and pets will leave your floor heavily soiled. In this case, make use of a straightforward cleaning solution in cleaning your floor. The solution is made of one part of white vinegar and three parts of hot water. Then, grab a damp mop and wipe it on the floor. Make sure that you wring the mop thoroughly right before you apply it to the floor since excessive moisture is the number one enemy of the wood.
The hot water can loosen the soil while the white vinegar is a great cleaning agent. Since the solution is diluted, the white vinegar will not leave any foul smell on the floor. Furthermore, since the vinegar is a strong cleaner, your engineered flooring will end up dry and with a streak free shine.
Now that you know the steps, it’s time that you apply it on your engineered hardwood floors at home.