12 Flooring Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

Woman using a broom and cleaning her floor

Flooring is one of the most significant investments in your home. However, proper maintenance is crucial to ensure its longevity and appearance. Neglecting your flooring can not only affect the overall aesthetic but can also be quite costly when it comes time to replace it. Whether you have hardwood, laminate, tile, or carpet, avoiding common maintenance mistakes can help prevent damage and keep your floors looking their best. 

Keep reading to learn about twelve of the most frequent flooring maintenance mistakes homeowners make and tips on avoiding them.

1. Neglecting Regular Cleaning

Common Mistake: Skipping regular cleaning routines. 

Dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on your floors, quicker than you think, causing scratches and wear. While pets can surprisingly help with reducing overall allergies in children, they do accumulate dirt and dust much faster than pet-free homes. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the integrity of your flooring.

Solution: Establish a consistent cleaning schedule. For hardwood and laminate floors, sweeping or vacuuming daily and mopping weekly with a manufacturer-recommended cleaner can prevent buildup. For carpets, vacuuming at least once a week and a deep professional cleaning every 12-18 months will help maintain their appearance and overall hygiene.

2. Using the Wrong Cleaning Products

Common Mistake: Using harsh or incorrect cleaning products. 

Different flooring materials require specific cleaning products. Using the wrong products can cause discoloration, residue buildup, or damage the finish. This is especially true if you have hardwood floors, you need to be very careful with what you use to clean them. 

Solution: Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products. Use pH-neutral cleaners for hardwood floors, avoid excessive water on laminate floors, and use mild, non-abrasive cleaners for tile. For carpets, use the appropriate cleaner designed for your specific carpet type to avoid damaging any of the fibers.

3. Ignoring Spills and Stains

Common Mistake: Not cleaning up spills and stains immediately. 

Allowing spills to sit can cause permanent stains and damage, especially on hardwood and carpeted floors. This can be a major challenge for families with children, as they can spill and leave it unfound for days. 

Solution: Clean up spills as soon as they occur. Use a damp cloth to wipe up the spill for hardwood, then dry the area immediately. For carpets, blot the spill with a clean cloth, apply a carpet cleaner, and blot again until the stain is removed. Although it might be tempting, try and avoid any rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fibers and cause lasting damage.

4. Using Excessive Water

Man sweeping a floor with lots of natural light coming through

Common Mistake: Overwetting the floors during cleaning. 

Too much water use when cleaning can seep into the seams and cracks of hardwood, laminate, and tile floors, causing warping, swelling, or damage to the subfloor.

Solution: Use a damp mop rather than a wet one. For hardwood and laminate floors, wring out the mop thoroughly before use. Ensure that grout lines are correctly sealed for tile floors to prevent water infiltration.

5. Neglecting Floor Protection

Common Mistake: Failing to protect floors from furniture and heavy traffic. 

Furniture can scratch and dent floors, and heavy foot traffic can cause wear and tear.

Solution: Use felt pads or furniture coasters under the legs of heavy chairs, tables, and other furniture to prevent scratches. Place rugs or runners in high-traffic areas to protect the floor from wear. Move furniture slightly regularly to prevent indentations from forming in the carpet.

6. Not Using Door Mats

Common Mistake: Not placing door mats at entryways.

Dirt, grit, and moisture tracked in from outside can damage your floors. They aren’t just for looks and happy sayings; they really help keep your house cleaner. 

Solution: Place door mats at all entryways to catch any dirt and moisture before entering your home and leaving a trace on your floors. Encourage family members and guests to wipe their feet or remove their shoes when entering the house. Don’t forget to also clean the mats to ensure they remain effective.

7. Overlooking Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Common Mistake: Ignoring the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. 

Each type of flooring comes with specific care instructions that, if not followed, can void warranties and cause damage.

Solution: Read and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines for your flooring type. These guidelines provide essential information on the proper cleaning products, techniques, and maintenance schedules.

8. Allowing Pets to Scratch Floors

Common Mistake: Letting pets’ nails scratch the flooring. 

Pet nails can cause significant scratches and damage, particularly on hardwood and laminate floors.

Solution: Keep your pets’ nails trimmed to minimize scratches. Place rugs in areas where pets frequently play or rest. Consider using pet-friendly flooring options, such as tile or vinyl, which are more resistant to scratches.

9. Failing to Address Humidity Levels

Common Mistake: Not controlling indoor humidity levels. 

Excess humidity can cause hardwood floors to expand and warp. This can happen with anything that is hardwood, even doors to places like the basement or a bedroom closet. Low humidity can do the opposite and cause them to contract and crack.

Solution: Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Use a humidifier during the dry winter months and a dehumidifier in the summer to regulate humidity levels. Monitor your home’s humidity with a hygrometer and make adjustments as necessary.

10. Ignoring Professional Maintenance

Common Mistake: Skipping professional maintenance services. 

Professional cleaning and maintenance services can extend the life of your floors and keep them looking their best.

Solution: Schedule regular professional maintenance services, such as deep cleaning for carpets and refinishing for hardwood floors. These services can address issues that regular cleaning cannot and ensure your floors remain in top condition.

11. Dragging Heavy Objects

Common Mistake: Dragging heavy objects across the floor. 

Dragging furniture or appliances can cause deep scratches, dents, and gouges that you can’t buff out. 

Solution: Lift heavy objects when moving them, or use furniture sliders to move them safely across the floor. Enlist help when necessary to avoid accidents and ensure the safety of both the flooring and the movers.

12. Using Incorrect Vacuum Attachments

Common Mistake: Using vacuum attachments that can damage floors. 

Some vacuum attachments, like beater bars, can scratch hardwood or laminate floors.

Solution: Use a vacuum with a hard floor setting or a brush attachment for hardwood and laminate floors. For carpets, ensure the vacuum is set to the correct height and use a beater bar attachment suitable for your carpet type.

Keep Your Floors Fresh & Clean

Maintaining your flooring correctly is essential for preserving its beauty and extending its lifespan. By avoiding these common maintenance mistakes, you can prevent damage and keep your floors looking their best for years to come. 

Remember, a little care goes a long way in safeguarding your investment and ensuring a beautiful, functional floor.

You might also be interested in: 5 Timeless Flooring Options For Your Next Remodel

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