So you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your home and install some new flooring. Something as simple as hardwood can enhance the look of your home while also adding value and boosting your return on investment if you ever decide to sell.
But let’s be honest—floors take on a lot. From daily traffic to inevitable spills and scuffs, they can be a lot of work to upkeep.
It can seem intimidating to decide to install your own flooring in your home, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It also doesn’t imply that you’ll have to live in a construction zone for a few weeks during renovations.
With a few tips and tricks, installing hardwood flooring can be as seamless and easy as you want it to be.
Want to know some best practices for installing and maintaining hardwood flooring? Continue reading for our best tips!
Our Hardwood Floor Installation Best Tips
When learning how to install hardwood flooring, there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, a great foundation is vital if you want a beautiful floor that lasts for years to come. For best results, install your new floor over a flat, clean and smooth surface. This surface can be anything from the concrete slab (moisture sealed), plywood subfloor, or an existing floor in decent condition that is levelled.
If you plan to do more than just install new flooring, it is generally best to do flooring last as it is prone to damage during construction.
Before you begin installing, make a plan. Pre-laying the boards (without securing them) is a great way to visualize how they will look and allows you to change them before you begin installing them.
It is also crucial to have the correct amount of flooring for the room. Because hardwood is supplied in full case quantities, always round up when ordering to avoid having to return for more.
You should also allow your hardwood to acclimate for five days prior to installation in the space you’re installing it in. The room’s temperature should be kept between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity should be kept between 30 and 55 percent.
First and foremost, safety. Make sure that the individuals installing the floors are wearing work gloves and knee pads for both safety and comfort.
If at all feasible, start with the straightest, longest wall, and lay the flooring perpendicular to the joists. Also ensure that the flooring is being installed on or above the grade level.
If your floor comes into contact with an obstruction (which it probably will), such as a counter or fireplace, create a border around it through the use of mitre boards. This safeguards it and prevents damage. It’s crucial to arrange the boards so that the tongue or groove match the rest of the floor.
Our Best Tips for Floor Maintenance
When it comes to floor care, the type of hardwood floor will play a role in determining the best method of floor care — taking small preventive measures to preserve your flooring and reduce your cleaning time. Some precautions we recommend are floor mats, both outside and inside exterior doors. It is equally important to ensure that boots and shoes are left outside in snowy or rainy weather and don’t make their way onto the hardwood. This is because tracked in water, dirt, and grime can damage your floors. You can also keep a cleaning cloth nearby to clean any puddles or traces of water quickly.
In seasons outside of fall and winter, shoes such as heels and cleats should not be worn on hardwood flooring to prevent scratches.
To further protect your flooring, use floor protectors under furniture and add rugs. In addition to these best practices, follow our tips for cleaning and maintaining your wood floors to keep them in good condition.
1. Clean Them Daily
When protecting your floors, keeping dirt and debris off is essential. Not only can it ruin the surface, but if someone happens to walk over it, they can scratch the floor in the process. A best practice is to sweep and vacuum (on the hard floor setting) daily. Dusting or mopping with a microfiber dust mop also keeps your floors looking clean. While this may seem excessive, it is the best way to ensure no pieces of debris get left behind.
2. Keep Them Dry
As mentioned above, the floor finish can play a factor in determining floor care. Once you find a cleaner that works for your finish, use it on the floors with a damp mop. Soaking the floors with a mop can cause the wood to swell, so we recommend keeping it very dry. We also advise against using steam. While it does an excellent job cleaning, it simultaneously allows vapour to enter small spaces and as a result, damages your floors.
3. Touch Up Surface Scratches
While we recommend taking preventive measures to avoid scratching your floors, they are inevitable and will most likely occur at some point. While it can be frustrating, it is what comes with wood flooring. If you do not wish to fix surface scratches, they can easily be touched up using a stain marker from a wood furniture touch-up kit, making them unnoticeable.
4. Mop Monthly
With hardwood floors, cleaning doesn’t need to be a big job. Just ensure that you’re using a hardwood floor cleaner monthly. These cleaners are generally alcohol-based, so they evaporate and don’t leave moisture on the floor (bonus: they kill germs too). Simply lightly dampen a microfibre mop, spray the cleaner on the floor and wipe away. This allows you to remove dirt, dust or other debris sitting on your floor.
Always avoid dish soap, detergent, or DIY floor cleansers formulated with tea, lemon juice, vinegar, or other acidic ingredients, as they can wear down the finish on your floor over time. Most modern floors don’t require polishing so it is important to keep this in mind as improper cleaning of the floor will result in your warranty being voided by the manufacturer.
5. Deep Clean Every Few Months
Your lifestyle will be a key indicator of how often you deep clean your hardwood floor. For individuals with kids and/or pets, we recommend deep cleaning every three to six months. Otherwise, you can also stick to doing it once a year.
When thoroughly cleaning your floors, use a hardwood cleaner that is appropriate for your finish type and then mop in the direction of your floors with a microfiber mop to remove filth lodged between the boards.
By now, you should have a good idea of best practices for installing and maintaining your hardwood floors. Preparing beforehand will ensure a seamless installation. Additionally, taking small preventative measures is the best way to protect your hardwood flooring and improve its longevity.