Historic Homes and Antique Floors: caring for hardwood assets

Perhaps one of the most endearing features of old houses are the old hardwood flooring – rustic and classic, it has history and has been seasoned to imperfection.

This is where most historic homeowners make the mistake of covering up or worse, ripping off and throwing out the original flooring all too hastily to make the house look new again. One thing to keep in mind about antique hardwood flooring is that they can withstand multiple refinishing (when done properly).

Most antique hardwood flooring are durable enough to last for a century or 2 and generally, historic flooring like these are rarely beyond repair. There are only two reasons flooring professionals would be too quick to tell you that the antique flooring in your home is beyond repair: one is that they are either lazy or unsure of how to go about the work; and 2, they are trying to sell you a new product.

In most cases, after restoration the routine will simply be a refinish once in a year or 2 and regular cleaning to keep them in great condition.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning

So how do we care for old hardwood floors? Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Sweep. Regular sweeping with a soft-bristled broom to avoid scratching or vacuum cleaning is one way to preserve historic wood floors. Not only does this remove dirt but also get off debris and other abrasive materials that might cause scratching off the floor.
  2. Wipe. Wiping completes the process by removing deep-seated dirt. When you’re not quite sure what cleaners would sit well with your floors, you can always be safe with mixing 10 parts of water with a part of vinegar and a terry-cloth mop.
  3. Wipe again. However, since water and wood don’t go well together, don’t forget to wipe the floor again. Wipe it dry this time to make sure water doesn’t seep in and moisture is immediately removed on the floor’s surface.
  4. Protect. There is no absolute way to damage-proof historic wood floors but this can help keep them in top shape despite daily wear: first, by having protective area rugs and doormats in critical areas like entryways and near the kitchen sink. Another is by applying floor wax not only for protection but to eliminate dullness.
  5. Repair. At the first sign of damage, quickly act on it. If it’s something you’re sure you can DIY, go ahead by all means. If its not, then get help and don’t risk further damage.