Tips for caring for your laminate floors
Laminate floors can be a beautiful addition to your home. Whether you are moving in for the first time or looking to remodel your family home, laminate is definitely worth your consideration. While installing a laminate floor has many benefits, however, you will need to put in a bit of work and care to properly maintain your new flooring. Here is what you need to know to keep your laminate floors in good condition.
Laminate and Water Don’t Mix
When water comes in prolonged contact with laminate surfaces, it’ll cause swelling and displacement— essentially ruining your floors. Making sure that your laminate floors have a finish is a great way to help increase water resistance. It’s also a good idea to promptly wipe up any wet messes and to avoid the traditional “wet mop and bucket” cleaning. Instead, consider a cleaning method with a minimal wetness factor such as a damp mop with a gentle cleaning solution. Likewise, you should avoid constantly steam cleaning your laminate floors. Once or twice a year, you may consider steam cleaning for a deeper clean, but steaming more often will cause premature damage.
You can also incorporate mats or rugs in high-spill areas such as the dining room, kitchen, and under the pet water bowl. The protection will vary depending on your needs, but it does give you a good excuse to add a few more personal touches to your décor.
Avoid Residue Buildup
Certain cleaners will cause residue to build up on your floors and will actually cause your laminate to lose shine. Some common culprits are pine-scented cleaners and Murphy’s oil. Instead, stick to a mild detergent for larger messes and simply a damp, not wet, cloth mop. Likewise, you should take care of how you use furniture cleaner and window cleaner around your home. Sprays can often land on the floor if you aren’t careful, so it is usually best to apply your cleaner directly to the surface that you are trying to clean or to your cleaning cloth.
Be Careful With Vinegar
Vinegar is an extremely powerful home cleaning product and most messes in the house can safely and efficiently be cleaned with a mix of vinegar and water. When it comes to laminate flooring, however, vinegar is to be used with caution, if at all. This is because vinegar is highly acidic and can strip the laminate’s protective coating. If you do use vinegar to clean up tough messes like pet grime or stains, do so sparingly and occasionally.
Before cleaning with anything damp, you want to sweep your floor and vacuum. Many modern vacuums have a variety of different settings that make them acceptable for different types of flooring. Just remember to be gentle and avoid using a brush or vacuum with hard bristles to avoid scratches.
Avoid Abrasive Shoes and Claws
This usually includes stilettos but can also extend to tap shoes and other footwear with a heavy sole or a sharp heel. Wait until you are at the front door to pop on your heels and encourage guests to take off their shoes by providing house slippers as an alternative.
Likewise, you want to trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis to ensure that they aren’t scratching the laminate. Even small scratches can be enough to break the protective finish causing water to seep in and destroy your flooring so it is best to be vigilant.
Secure Your Furniture
Make sure to lay out some sort of protective covering during your move-in day and place a permanent protective covering under tables and chair legs. Small cracks from furniture can leave an entrance for moisture which will, over time, not only spread the damage but will cause your floor to swell.
While laminate floors may require building a few habits, they aren't overly complex in terms of care and maintenance and well worth the effort.