NEW FLOORS. NOW WHAT?
You’ve made an investment in new carpet or wood flooring. Now, how do you maintain your investment? These simple steps will help you keep your floors looking great.
Wool and Synthetic Carpets
When dry soil is left to accumulate in the carpet, its razor sharp particles will abrade carpet fibers giving it a dull appearance. Regular vacuuming will extend the life of your carpet and enhance its appearance. A general rule of thumb is to vacuum once per week for every person in the household. Don’t forget your four legged friends, they count too!
Today’s fibers are much softer than in previous years and may require an updated vacuum. Important features include adjustable height, efficient airflow and larger wheels allowing it to easily glide across the surface. Carpets with a thick loop pile or cable yarn, particularly wool, may be sensitive to brushing or rubbing of the pils surface and may become fuzzy. For these products it is recommended that a suction only vacuum be used or adjust the brush higher and away from the carpet. To check out the Carpet and Rug Institute’s list of approved vacuums, visit www.carpet-rug.org.
Stain and soil issues should be dealt with promptly using care to follow the stain chart for your specific carpet fiber. Work from the outside in, blot – don’t rub, don’t over wet and leave weighted white toweling down for several hours or overnight. This process may need to be repeated until the stain is gone. I recommend the Resista Capture cleaning products, however you can also look for additional ways to clean your carpet at www.carpet-rug.org.
In addition to general cleaning, carpet and fiber manufacturers require professional hot water extraction every 12 – 18 months. Natural fibers such as wool will require specialized care. Consult your warranty for details. Know which warranties and care apply to your carpet since each fiber can have slightly different care and maintenance schedules. Receipts from all cleanings should be kept for any warranty claims along with your original flooring store receipt.
Hardwood, Cork, Laminate and Vinyl Products
Wood is a natural product that expands and contracts. Whether you have purchased a pre-finished, sand on site hardwood floor, or even a laminate floor, one of the most important things to consider is the relative humidity in your home. Controlling your humidity is key in preventing excessive swings that can cause gapping and swelling in these products or even splitting and cupping in hardwood. The recommended range is 35% – 50% and can be easily monitored with a hygrometer.
For hardwood floors use a cleaner such as Bona Swedish Formula to care for your wood floors. Avoid the use oil soaps and household cleaners for your urethane finished hardwood floors and laminate floors.
If you purchased an oil finish hardwood, it will require specific cleaners and maintenance schedules based on the individual finish however, they are generally more forgiving when it comes to an active household and pets. Steam mops are a definite no-no – regardless of how tempting those infomercials might be!
For luxury vinyl planks, tile and vinyl sheet goods, occasional mopping with a rinse-free cleaner is all that is needed. Do not use soap or detergent products as they will leave a dulling film.
With any of these hard surface products, regularly sweep or vacuum your floor with the non-beater setting and wipe up spills promptly. Areas with exterior doors require extra protection. Place a walk-off mat just outside the door to trap dirt and prevent tracking indoors. Combine this with a small, non-rubber backed rug on the interior and remember to shake or vacuum frequently. Place felt protectors under the feet of all furniture and remember to leave your high heels at the door.
In closing, remember, no floor is bulletproof. They all require routine care and maintenance but with a little bit of TLC, yours will stay looking their best for years to come.
Submitted by Colleen Kelly