How to Keep Wood Floors in Shape When You’re Away
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Ensure your wood flooring stays in good condition even when no one’s around to maintain it.
If you own an overseas property, you might have had a rude shock at the rundown state of the floor upon returning after a long absence due to Covid-19. Developers with an intervening period between building a property and selling it also often face the challenge of making sure the floor stays in mint condition.
Generally, if you’re going to be away, or if your property’s going to be untenanted, for six months or longer, your wood flooring could decline in condition without regular care. However, this can be avoided by taking a few simple and straightforward measures.
Here’s what to do if your wood floor is going to be left untended for an extended length of time:
Guard against water leaks
Go around and make sure that the windows are closed, to prevent water from wetting your wood floor when it rains. Becoming excessively wet can cause your wood floor to soak in the water and swell up.
Remove any rubber-backed rugs
Store away any rugs or mats with rubber backings, such as anti-slip ones usually placed in front of bathrooms. These tend to trap moisture under them in conditions of high humidity, which can damage the floor. The rubber may also break down over time and stick to the floor.
Ventilate the property
Keep the property as well-ventilated as possible to allow heat and moisture to disperse. Timber is an organic material, so humid conditions can cause mould to grow on wood floors. Also, if the wood gets too hot, it could dry up and result in gaps in the wood.
To ensure ventilation when you’re away, keep the bathroom and bedroom doors open to allow cross-ventilation within your home. You can also keep bathroom windows ajar.
Close your curtains or lower your blinds to protect against heat and keep your apartment as cool as possible. If your air conditioner has an automated function, have it turn on for one hour a week to further cool the place down and dry out the air.
Maintenance upon returning
When you return or when your property is about to be rented out, you can easily clean and freshen up the floor. Vacuum up the dust, and use a well-wrung mop to apply water or a floor cleaner – be sure to use one designed for wood floors, such as the Bona Cleaner. Other detergents can dull the surface of your floor. For example, products meant for polishing and cleaning metal and stone could damage the coating of the floor.
If you come back to find that mould has grown, or the wood has warped, call in a specialist to resand, recoat and/or replace the wood as needed. The advantage of having wood as a floor material is that it can always be repaired and restored.
Leaving your wood flooring alone in an empty property isn’t a problem if you plan ahead. Just follow the steps above to prime your wood flooring for a long period of no maintenance.
For other times when you’re able to carry out regular floorcare, check out how to best clean your wood floor in this article.