Once you have your amazing new wooden flooring in place, it’s really important to look after it properly so it stays looking great for many years to come. It’d be a shame to get that bargain from a discount flooring depot only to have to replace it five years down the line. Engineered wood floors are similar to hardwood floors, but they may need a bit of extra care, depending on how thick the top layer is. Some floors have a “wear layer” that’s 0.75” thick and can, if badly scratched, be sanded down and resealed. Others have a much thinner wear layer and can’t be sanded more than once, so you’ll need to take extra precautions here.
Image credit: Transport Executive
Caring for engineered floors
With most engineered or hardwood floors, a very slightly damp mop or cloth is all that’s needed to clean the surface. If you need something extra, use a product that’s been formulated for hardwood. The top, or wear layer, is made of hardwood, so care is broadly the same. Work with the grain rather than across it, as this will remove more dirt.
You should always sweep or vacuum the floor before you mop it, to remove grit, dirt and other abrasive debris which may be dragged along by the mop, scratching the floor.
Dry up spills as soon as you see them. Engineered flooring is more resistant to water than full hardwood, but if spills are left for a long time, warping and swelling will happen.
Use curtains or blinds during bright sunlight hours so that the UV light doesn’t damage or discolour the wood.
Any furniture or large plant pots must be placed on felt or rubber pads so that feet and bases don’t scratch or compress the wood.
If there are visible nail marks, you can disguise them by filling them with a matching colour wood putty. Wipe away the excess putty, apply a thin coat of urethane and leave it to set for an hour.
A light dusting and wipe-over every day is better than an intensive clean once a week, as you’ll be dealing with a build-up of dirt that may need harsher cleaning methods.
If you have pets, keep their claws filed smooth so they don’t scratch the surface.
Make sure your floors aren’t exposed to excessive humidity or dryness, and especially not to fluctuations between the two. This flooring might not work too well in a bathroom, for example.
If you live in a hard water area, you may prefer to use de-ionised water and/or specialist cleaners on the floor, as hard water can leave dulling mineral deposits over time.
Don’t put electronics directly onto the floor as the heat they generate can dry out and warp the floor eventually.
Generally, a cleaner that’s good for hardwood floors is good for engineered wood floors, but do take advice and read the labels before you buy and try.
If your wooden flooring is quite a pale shade, you should avoid any detergents or cleaners that have a strong colour, as this may stain the floor with repeated use, Similarly, you should never be tempted to use bleach on a white wooden floor (or, indeed, on any wooden flooring).