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Have you ever been in a building that is over 100 years old—one that still has its original hardwood floors? The planks might be dull, scratched, creaky or even a bit warped—but they’re still there. You can walk on them. And sometimes those vintage floors even make the home more valuable.

If you’ve ever had that experience, you understand why wood flooring remains one of the most popular flooring options: When properly cared for, wood floors can outlast humans—just like the trees from where we got the wood in the first place. That said, wood floors are durable, not invincible. They are sensitive to dramatic changes in temperature and humidity. They can be bleached by the sun. They can be scratched by dirt, claws and furniture feet. In other words, hardwood floors must be cared for properly if they are to last. Here are a few helpful tips to make sure you have floors that last.

Guard Against Direct Sunlight

The sun’s rays can cause your flooring to fade or become discolored over time, largely due to the ultraviolet light. You don’t have to keep the windows darkened, of course—just provide some protection during the times of day when the sunlight hits the wood directly. Venetian blinds or opaque curtains can accomplish this easily.

Guard Against Dirt and Dust

Grains of dust and dirt can scratch hardwood floors, particularly when they are inadvertently ground against the wood by someone’s shoes or feet. To guard against this, place mats or rugs at the entryways to catch the grit of the outdoors as people walk in. For even more protection, have people take off their shoes when entering your home. Place area rugs in high-traffic areas to protect the wood. And use a dust mop or soft-bristle vacuum on the floor at least weekly to pick up any stray particles.

Guard Against Excessive Changes in Humidity

Wood is a porous material that absorbs moisture, so it expands or contracts naturally in relation to the humidity in the air. It can adapt to gradual, natural changes in humidity, but immediate and drastic changes can cause warping or cracking of the wood. Here in humid Oklahoma, wood floors are generally able to adapt, but times of high humidity might cause temporary cupping of the wood. You can compensate for this by incorporating humidifiers and de-humidifiers in your HVAC unit to help your home retain a consistent moisture content year-round.

Don’t Clean Wood Floors with Water

For the same reasons described in the previous section, wood can be damaged when it comes into contact with liquid water. If your hardwood flooring is coated with polyurethane, a damp mop once in a while probably won’t hurt it—but pouring water directly on any wood floor can cause permanent damage, especially if it seeps through the seams. Always clean up liquid messes as soon as possible. For regular cleaning of our wood floors, Renaissance recommends using Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner.

If you have other questions about extending the lifespan of your hardwood floors, we are always here to help. Give Renaissance Hardwood Floors a call at 918-298-4477.