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Maintaining Your Floors

by Jennifer Weldon

After the time and money spent on remodeling your home, you will want your new floors to look their best for a long time to come. While there is bound to be some wear and tear, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent damage to your new floors and keep them properly maintained.

The Basics

Doormats A doormat should be placed at each and every doorway into and out of your home. This includes the front door, back door, patio doors, and garage door. Doorways are where the most dirt and dust enter your home. A doormat will trap most of this and keep it from being tracked throughout your home onto the new floors. Wash your doormats frequently to ensure they are not part of the problem.

Shoes Every member of your household should remove their shoes before entering the home, or at a designated, protected area right inside the doorway. Dirt and dust is carried on the soles of our shoes and can remain in the crevices. Not only will you eliminate this dirt and dust from being carried into your home, you will also prevent any damage to the floors from the shoes themselves, especially high heels.

Cleaning Regardless of what your flooring material is, the appropriate cleaning must be done frequently to keep your floors looking their best. Carpets should be vacuumed at least once a week. Ceramic tile and laminate flooring should be swept at least once a week. Stone or hardwood flooring will have to be swept and mopped approximately twice a week or more. And polished stone will require mopping almost daily to keep its brilliance. High traffic areas may need more frequent cleaning, as will flooring in households where outdoor/indoor pets have access to.

Spills Spills of any kind should be cleaned up immediately so that they cannot set in and damage the floor. If the spill happens on ceramic, hardwood, or laminate, you can quickly wipe up the spill with a paper towel. You should then go over the area with an appropriate cleaner to ensure the spill is completely gone. If the spill occurs on carpet gently remove any solids from the area. You will then want to pour warm water on the area and carefully blot it. You do not want to rub the stain in. You will have to continue the water and blot cycle until the stain is removed.

Protective Measures You can apply protective measures to your flooring to help prevent stains and help it maintain its new look. Hardwoods can have an extra coat of polyurethane applied. Tile and stone can have a sealant applied, even to the grout areas. A stain guard treatment is best for carpet. Waxing your vinyl flooring will protect it.

Repairs

Tile can chip or break if you drop a heavy object onto it. It is possible to replace a single tile, but it will have to be done by an experienced professional so the remainder of the floor isn’t affected. This can cost you more than you are prepared to spend. If you have small chip on a tile you can use nail polish that matches the color of your tile. It will hide the chip temporarily. You will have to reapply the polish until you can afford a professional repair.

Hardwoods will get scratches over time. Some can be deeper than others. Refinishing the floors is a big undertaking and should only be done when the entire floor looks worn and tired. You can use a crayon to help disguise any deep scratches in the meantime. Match the crayon to your hardwood, take off the paper cover, and melt it in the microwave. When the crayon is like putty, carefully handle it and use it to fill in the scratch. This will help hide those deeper scratches.

Final Tips

By performing regular and proper maintenance you can keep your floors looking newer longer. From time to time, a professional may be needed to perform repairs or further preventative measures. A professional carpet cleaner should be called in once a year and you should have a professional re-seal tile and hardwood as needed.

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