How to maintain oak flooring

Written by cathryn whitehead
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Oak flooring is beautiful, better for your health than carpet and fairly easy to clean. But it does have two enemies: moisture and dirt. Water can warp floors and destroy finishes, and dirt scratches, dents and dulls oak floors. You can maintain your oak flooring with cleaning methods and protection that keep dirt, sand, grit and moisture from making your floor look bad.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Floor cleaner
  • Furniture pads
  • Doormats
  • Vacuum
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Rags

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  1. 1

    Put mats in front of all your doors, inside and out, to keep dirt from being tracked in and onto your oak floors. Use throw rugs to protect high-traffic areas in the house.

  2. 2

    Sweep, dust-mop or vacuum daily, and damp-mop when necessary. Make sure your mop is only slightly damp and will dry quickly. Use pH-neutral floor cleaner, available at cleaning-supply houses. Those formulated especially for wood floors are the best.

  3. 3

    Put soft pads on furniture, such as table and chair legs that come into contact with your oak flooring. This keeps them from getting scratched or marked up.

  4. 4

    Wipe up spills as soon as they happen, to prevent stains and warping. Fill in scratches on your oak flooring finish with some matching finish. Use more than one coat for scratches that go down to the wood.

  5. 5

    Refinish your oak flooring when the finish is worn and the surface is warped, split or gouged. Hire a professional or do it yourself, but choose a time when humidity is low, since you have to leave doors and windows open to ventilate because of sanding dust and fumes. High humidity increases the time your floor will take to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a dust mop with a cotton head 1-1/2 feet long, or a vacuum with bare-floor attachments.
  • Avoid using oil soap on your oak flooring. It builds up and makes it hard to recoat.
  • Close blinds or curtains to keep sunlight from discolouring your oak flooring.

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