3 ways to prevent your floors from needing replacing or repairs

July 28, 2015

Whatever your floors are made of, keeping them clean will help them last. There are other ways to prevent floors needing repairing or replacing sooner than they need to. Here are some:

3 ways to prevent your floors from needing replacing or repairs

1. Keep out grit

  • Taking off your shoes when entering the house is a great way to preserve wooden and vinyl floors. Like sandpaper, the grit on your shoes abrades the floor finish, shortening its life.
  • If you are not up to going shoeless, clean the floor frequently to prevent grit from getting ground in.

2. Choose a good doormat

  • Any dirt you can keep outside is dirt you won't have to clean up, so doormats are the first line of defence in extending the life of your floors.
  • The traditional welcome mat is helpful if people remember to rub their feet on it.
  • Better is a "walk-off" mat — an extended mat that is at least long enough so that both feet rub across it. Mats for outside your door are usually made of rubber- or vinyl-backed synthetic turf.
  • The indoor variety is available in several dark, dirt-defying colours to coordinate with your décor.

3. Seal hard floors

  • Tile and stone floors are porous. To prevent dirt from grinding into the pores and permanently discolouring the floor, be sure to seal it when first installed.
  • Recoat with sealant occasionally, up to every year for high-traffic area like mudrooms.

4. Account for expanding and shrinking

It's inevitable. Wood will expand across its width when it's humid and shrink when it's arid. When it comes to real solid-wood flooring, this can cause gaps between boards in dry weather when the wood shrinks. There is no way to completely prevent gaps in solid-wood flooring, but there are a few things you can do to keep gaps tiny and unnoticeable when you install new solid flooring:

  • Use narrow flooring boards. Each board will shrink proportionally less, so the narrower the boards, the narrower the gaps.
  • Bring the flooring into the room a few days before it will be installed. If it is wrapped, unwrap it. This will let the flooring acclimate to the humidity level in the room.
  • Don't install flooring on humid days.
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