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Essential Handbook for Hardwood Maintenance

The Essential Handbook for Hardwood Floor Maintenance

TL;DR: Regular maintenance is essential for extending the lifespan and preserving the value of hardwood floors. Key practices include understanding your floor’s specific wood type, maintaining proper humidity levels, and following a consistent cleaning regimen to prevent damage. Professional maintenance services complement these efforts by offering expert deep cleaning, scratch repair, and periodic refinishing, ensuring your hardwood floors remain in pristine condition for years.


A well-maintained flooring system made of wood can last up to 18 years. Regular care, highlighted in the essential handbook for hardwood floor maintenance, is essential to protect your investment. By adopting proper hardwood flooring care, you preserve not just the appearance but the value of your flooring.

This article will explore key strategies for caring for hardwood floors, from regular cleaning to preventing scratching. It serves as a comprehensive guide to ensure that your hardwood floors remain pristine and durable through years of use.

Understanding Your Hardwood Floor

Identifying wood variants helps to ensure proper hardwood floor maintenance. Each one has unique characteristics and maintenance needs. For example, red oak typically shows a pink hue, while white oak has a brown or greenish tint. 

The Janka Hardness Scale is an essential tool in determining the durability of hardwood flooring. This scale rates the density and hardness of wood species, with a higher number indicating a harder wood. Knowing the hardness can help you choose the best hardwood floor type for high-traffic areas or homes with pets.

Key Maintenance Tips for Different Hardwood Floors

Once you identify what type of wood you have, it’s time to learn how you can maintain its quality and secure its longevity: 

  • Oak Flooring: Maintain a stable indoor humidity level to prevent warping. Use a damp mop for weekly cleaning, which helps preserve oak floors.
  • Engineered Wood Floors: Install these after all wet work (like drywall and painting) is complete. The subfloor must be structurally sound and level to avoid future issues.
  • Walnut and Hickory Floors: These floors are known for their uniqueness and quality. They require regular cleaning and immediate spill cleanup to prevent damage.

The Role of Regular Hardwood Floor Cleaning and Care

You must adhere to a regular cleaning regimen to maintain the ideal condition of your hardwood floors. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you keep your floors looking their best.

  1. Daily Dusting and Sweeping: Use a broom or a microfiber mop to sweep away dust, dirt, and crumbs daily. 
  2. Weekly Vacuuming: Set your vacuum to the ‘hard floor’ setting and ensure the brush roll is off to avoid scratches. Vacuum at least once weekly to remove finer particles and pet hair from crevices and corners.
  3. Spot Cleaning and Mopping: Immediately clean up any spills with a damp paper towel and dry the area thoroughly. Use a damp mop for weekly cleaning with a cleaner recommended by your floor’s manufacturer. 
  4. Monthly Deep Cleaning: For a deeper clean, use a flat mop with a microfiber head or a wood floor mop along with a diluted wood floor cleaning product. Focus on high-traffic areas and follow the dilution instructions on the cleaning product label.

Preventative Measures for Long-Term Care

There are a few things you can start doing today to prevent your hardwood floors from getting damaged. 

  • Use Mats and Rugs: Place mats or rugs at all entryways to catch dirt and absorb excess moisture. This can significantly reduce the amount of debris tracked onto your floors.
  • Maintain Appropriate Humidity Levels: Keep indoor humidity levels between 30-50% to prevent wood swelling or shrinking, which can lead to cracks.

Preventing Scratches and Damage

You must incorporate several protective measures into your daily routine to prevent scratches and damage to your hardwood floors. Here’s a structured approach to safeguarding your flooring:

  • Remove Outdoor Footwear: Encourage household members and guests to remove shoes before walking on the floors to avoid scratches from high heels or sports shoes.
  • Use Felt Pads: Attach felt pads under all furniture legs, especially those frequently moved, such as chairs and tables, to prevent scratching the floor.
  • Furniture Sliders: When rearranging heavy furniture, employ furniture sliders to distribute weight evenly and prevent gouges.

How Professional Maintenance Can Help

Engaging professionals for regular inspections can help catch issues like peeling or scratches early, especially for high-end wood exotic species. Here is how they carry out the maintenance and refinishing process.

Routine Cleaning

The first step in maintaining hardwood floors is routine cleaning, which prevents dirt and grit from scratching the wood surface. Brooms or vacuums with a hardwood floor attachment work best to remove loose dirt. Professionals use a damp mop with a mild, pH-neutral cleaner for more detailed cleaning of hardwood floors. 

Periodic Deep Cleaning

Over time, hardwood floors accumulate residues that regular cleaning cannot remove. Professionals perform deep cleaning using specialized equipment, such as buffing machines with soft pads, to clean and rejuvenate the wood gently. 

Scratch and Damage Repair

Despite careful maintenance, hardwood floors can suffer scratches and other damage. Professionals address these imperfections by spot-repairing scratches with matching wood stains or a touch-up kit. More severe damage, such as deep scratches, may require sanding down the affected area and reapplying finish.


One of the major aspects of hardwood floor maintenance is refinishing, typically done every 7 to 10 years, depending on the floor’s condition and traffic. Refinishing involves sanding the floor to bare wood, removing the old finish, and then applying a new stain and topcoat. 

Professional Insights and Maintenance Recommendations

After experts complete the hardwood floor maintenance process on your property, they also provide valuable insights and advice for future reference.

  • Expertise Benefits: Hiring professionals for hardwood floor refinishing ensures a high-quality, durable finish due to their expertise and experience. They can effectively handle complex issues like warping or severe water damage.
  • Maintenance Frequency: High-traffic areas should be refinished every 3-5 years. Regular inspections and recoating every few years with a polyurethane finish can significantly extend the life of your floors.
  • Ongoing Care: Maintain the floors between professional services by keeping them clean and dry, using appropriate wood cleaners, and promptly addressing any spills to prevent moisture damage.

Humidity Tips and Tools for Hardwood Floors

You must maintain a stable indoor humidity level to safeguard your hardwood floors from warping, gapping, or cracking. You can ensure the indoor humidity is under control with the following tips:

  • Hygrometers and Humidistats: Investing in a hygrometer helps you accurately monitor indoor humidity levels. For automated control, consider installing a humidistat that adjusts the humidity levels automatically.
  • Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers: Use humidifiers during dry seasons or in arid climates to add moisture to the air. Conversely, in humid conditions or during rainy seasons, employ dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture and prevent the wood from swelling.
  • Ventilation and Air Sealing: Proper ventilation helps maintain a consistent humidity level. Open windows on mild days to balance indoor and outdoor humidity. Additionally, air sealing techniques can improve humidity control by preventing unwanted air exchange.
  • Winter Care: In colder climates, use heaters to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and pair them with humidifiers to counteract the drying effect of heating systems.
  • Summer Strategies: During hot, humid months, air conditioning can help keep humidity levels in check. Ensure that your AC system is appropriately sized and maintained for efficient operation.
  • Special Attention Areas: Pay extra attention to rooms like bathrooms and kitchens, where humidity tends to be higher due to activities like cooking and showering. Employ localized exhaust fans to help manage moisture effectively.


The essential handbook for hardwood floor maintenance outlined helpful techniques to safeguard your flooring investment. From recognizing the unique needs of various hardwood species to adopting routine cleaning rituals and preventing damage, you must preserve hardwood floors with detailed upkeep. 


Our commitment to regular care and professional upkeep promotes a future where the elegance of hardwood floors is recognizable for years to come. Contact our Excel Pro team today to ensure your floors remain a timeless complement to the property, worthy of admiration and pride.


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