Wood maintenance tips – how to care for your wooden flooring and furniture

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
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Wood is a natural material that brings unmatched warmth to any area, which is why many people like to use it in their homes. While wooden floors, furniture and other accessories can add to the beauty of the interiors, the downside of the material is that it can get scratched easily, doesn’t handle moisture well and can get warped over time, especially when it is exposed to the natural elements. However, with proper care and maintenance, wooden flooring and furniture can last a lifetime.

In today’s ideabook, we provide you with wood care tips that will help you to maintain this material to perfection so that it looks good for years.

Understanding the needs of wooden flooring

In modern homes, wood has become a popular choice for flooring as it creates a luxurious and cosy ambiance in the interiors. However, wood is not suitable for the flooring in every room or for that matter, for every home. If you have pets, then wood may not be the ideal choice for flooring, unless you are willing to undertake frequent wood maintenance to keep the surface free from scratches. Similar damage can be caused by pointed stiletto heels or the cleats from your children’s football shoes.

It’s always advisable to assess whether wooden flooring is the best fit for your lifestyle, before you invest in expensive hardwood flooring. You can consult your interior designer to get advice on this. If you decide to install wooden flooring or already have it in your house, the following wood care tips will help you to maintain it well.

Day-to-day maintenance for wood floors

Over time, dust gathers on the surface of the wood, making it difficult to clean. Therefore, a key tip for proper wood maintenance is to sweep or mop your floor daily, or at least regularly. Remember to use the only a soft bristle broom or a microfibre mop to avoid the surface getting scratched.

Sunlight and excessive heat can damage your hardwood flooring when it is exposed to these elements for extended periods of time. Install curtains or window coverings to limit the amount of direct sunlight on the wood. Alternatively, you can use a rug to protect the floor in the areas where sunlight falls on the floor.

Avoid mopping the surface with a wet cloth or harsh cleaning agents. In fact, an important tip in wood care is not to use water or any other liquids, including oil soap, liquid soap or paste wax, to clean the floor. To prevent scratches, don’t scrub the surface with steel wool, scouring pads or any other hard and abrasive material. If you have pets, trim their nails regularly to prevent the floor from getting scratched.

Dragging or moving heavy furniture on hardwood floors can cause it to get scratched. When you move the furniture lift it instead of dragging.

Periodic maintenance for wooden floors

For wood maintenance, especially to ensure that dust doesn’t settle on the surface, vacuum clean your wooden floor at least once a week using the bare floor setting on the machine. If you must deep clean the wooden floor, use a recommended wood floor cleaner that doesn’t spoil the natural material. Don’t do this more than once a month.

While waxing the surface of wood brings a lovely shine to the floor, this should not be done too often as a wax build up on the surface does more harm than good. If the wax floor loses its shine, try buffing it instead of reapplying a coat of wax. Ideally, waxing can be done every 6-12 months.

For long term maintenance of wood, you should reapply the protective coat on the surface every three to five years. Additionally, a complete sanding and refinishing can be done between 10 to 15 years, depending on the condition of the floor.

By following these wood care tips, the wooden flooring in your house can last a lifetime.

Wooden furniture

In many homes, wooden furniture is passed down generations. There’s no denying the comfort and beauty of upholstered wooden chairs and sofas. Wooden dining tables are also something that almost everyone has on their wish list for their home. However, like with wooden flooring, you need to follow a regular wood maintenance schedule to keep the furniture looking good always.

Protecting wooden furniture

As a material, wood is prone to warping when it is exposed to heat or sunlight, so one of the primary tips in wood care is to keep your furniture away from heat sources such as radiators or fireplaces. Additionally, avoid placing wooden furniture in an area where it is exposed to sunlight for many hours.

While wooden furniture is coated with wax or polish to protect it from gathering dust and grime, this coating is heat sensitive. Therefore, you should avoid placing anything hot on the surface, whether it’s a cup of coffee or a dish straight out of the oven. Instead, use coasters or trivets so that hot items don’t come into contact with the polished surface.

If you are wondering how to clean wood tables, the best way is to dust them daily to ensure that the surface doesn’t accumulate dirt that becomes hard to tackle later. If necessary, use a damp cloth to remove stubborn dirt or grime. Regular dusting is vital to keep your wooden furniture in good condition.

For a wooden dining table, one of the ways to protect it is to use a table cloth or mats to protect against spills. If you are wondering how to clean a wooden table that has not been dusted in  long time, you can try using a sponge soaked in oil soap and wrung out so that it doesn’t have too much water. Wiping the surface of the table with this will help to loosen some of the dirt, after which you can mop the surface with a soft, dry cloth or microfibre pad to wipe off any remaining dirt.

Get tips on how to paint wooden furniture.

Periodic maintenance of wooden furniture

Once the polish or wax coating wears out, wooden furniture tends to look dull. You can reapply the coating to restore the shine. Keep in mind that you should choose between polish or wax; never use both as it can become a sticky mess. Wax is used for wood maintenance to create a long-lasting finish. However, it requires quite a bit of work to do this yourself. You may need to hire an expert or a carpenter.

Polish is easier to apply than wax and can present a D-I-Y solution for maintaining wooden furniture. However, you should take care not to polish too often as this will cause a build up on the surface and spoil the natural look of the wood. Instead of polishing frequently, try to buff the surface of the furniture with a dry cloth to bring back the shine. The same rules should be followed if you use furniture sprays. Don’t use the product too often and as far as possible, buff instead of respraying.

Restoring or refinishing

Even if you maintain your furniture well, every decade or so it will require some extra care and finishing so that it lasts longer. For this, it’s best to use the services of a wood care professional or an expert. The process can be time consuming and messy as it will involve sanding down the surface and applying a couple of coats of stain or wax to give the furniture a long-lasting finish. Additionally, if there are any cracks or holes in the furniture, the professional will fill this up with a special wood putty and then sand and finish the surface so that the damage is unnoticeable.

While wood care and maintenance aren’t easy, for those who love the natural charm of this material, it’s a compromise that is worth every effort as well looked after wood, whether it’s the flooring or furniture, will bring timeless beauty to a home’s interiors. Moreover, wood can match almost every style, whether it’s rustic, modern or Scandinavian, so it can last through several makeovers without having to spend more.

if you love wooden houses, get inspired to build your own after seeing these super 7 models of wooden houses.

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