A solid wood floor is a fantastic and practical floor covering popular since the 1600's. They are naturally hard-wearing and often many old buildings still have their original wood flooring. Of course, they will be full of signs of use over many years, but many consider this to be a floor that is then rich character and history. Today, many new floors are already distressed to offer an instant lived-in appearance. It is important to understand that natural products are limited to the characteristics of the material used. They are not indestructible, even when classed as hard wearing. They can still become damaged or scratched. Following our maintenance guides will help to ensure that this does not happen.
It’s important to note a few characteristics of solid wood flooring
- They will expand and shrink with varying heat and moisture
- Real wood will scratch
- It can darken over time
- Oiled and lacquered flooring requires different maintenance.
Despite these points, which may at first sound like negatives, solid wood flooring is actually extremely easy to maintain.
Moisture Levels and Heat for Solid Wood Flooring
Assuming correct installation in line with our solid wood flooring installation guide, it then becomes important to maintain correct humidity levels. We recommend humidity levels for solid wood flooring are kept between 45-65%RH (relative humidity) to reduce the risk of excessive shrinkage or expansion. This is considered normal internal humidity within the UK and Ireland. If you want to ensure that the humidity in your home is correct, it can be measured using a home hygrometer.
The room should be heated and ideally kept between 15-28deg. Heating the room will reduce the build-up of humidity and reduce any risk of overexpansion. If the room is unused for long periods of time, we still recommend that minimum heat levels are maintained.
Avoiding Scratches On Solid Wood Flooring
To help reduce scratch marks on solid wood floors, we highly recommend the following tips.
- Use a dirt catching entrance matt at external doors
- Felt pads should be installed on all furniture
- Check worn shoes for metal nails obtruding
- Do not drag items, always lift.
- Use quality maintenance oils or lacquer protection kits
If a wood floor does scratch, it's usually nothing to worry about. Light scratches will blend in over time or can be hidden by maintenance oils (provided you have an oiled floor). More serious scratches can be removed with light sanding and refinishing in oils or lacquering. Even heavy deep gouges can be repaired by flooring repair kits.
Cleaning A Solid Wood Floor
Hards surfaces are easy to keep clean and wood is one of the easiest surfaces to maintain. For all wood floors, a hoover with the brushes extended is ideal for regular use. When using a wet cleaner it is important to ensure the mop is well-drained before use. Too much moisture can damage a solid wood floor. It is also important to use the correct type of wood flooring cleaner. A cleaner for oiled wood flooring will differ to a wood floor cleaner for lacquered flooring. We have a range of recommended wood floor cleaning products in our accessories section.
For oiled wood flooring, as well as using the correct cleaning products, we also recommend the monthly use of maintenance oil. This will feed new oil into the grain of the wood, helping to protect and maintain it.