By LAUREN ODDO
Just like you have to feed, take care of and maintain your body in order to maintain your overall health, the same will need to be done with your flooring after it’s installed. Of course, just like different types of bodies require different levels of maintenance, depending on your flooring selection and your standard of ‘healthy,’ your flooring will too.
Cleaning Does not Equal Maintenance
This can be one of the most difficult things for new floor owners to wrap their heads around. When you choose a product, you’ll want to check the manufacturer’s warranty and product specifications to ensure that you are aware of their recommended cleaning AND maintenance routines. While most customers focus on how products can be cleaned, what they can be cleaned with and how often they should be cleaned – they rarely ask about maintenance.
I understand most people don’t work with flooring on a daily basis, so let’s compare this to something we all know fairly well – a car. You just purchased a brand new car off the lot, got the color you wanted, leather interior, the whole shebang. After the first month of owning that car, I bet you’ve given it a wash or two and it’s still looking beautiful. But even if you wash that car every week, in a year or less, it’s still going to need an oil change and new windshield wipers; and the same goes for you floors! Even if you keep them as clean as can be, they will still need to be maintained. In fact, products that are cleaned more often tend to require more maintenance.
That said, if you are looking for a maintenance free floor, that’s something you can shoot for. There are options like luxury vinyl and tile that require very little maintenance – making keeping the floor clean and avoiding accidents that cause imperfections just about the only requirements to keeping it beautiful. Why wouldn’t you want to go maintenance free? Well, with no way to revamp the flooring, it will never look as good as the first day it is installed. Floors that require maintenance give us a chance to bring new life to them without replacing them completely.
Clean Floors Often Require More Maintenance
When you think of a clean and sterile environment you probably think of bright, light and shiny surfaces with crisp corners and minimal detail. After all, polished, smooth surfaces do tend to hold on less to dirt and be easier to clean in comparison to matte, rough surfaces – even if the product/material is technically nonporous. That said, shiny and reflective surfaces often require the most amount of maintenance and upkeep simply because dirt and imperfections tend to be easier to see on shiny surfaces (think of how noticeable a dirty mirror is in a public restroom).
A great example of a floor that’s easy to clean but a little more difficult to maintain is anything with a wax polish or site-applied finish on it like VCT – also known as vinyl composition tile. Think of the flooring in a Publix Supermarket – white, bright, almost always clean looking because they’re fortunate enough to have the downtime to maintain it properly. And although some may think a waxed floor is wonderful because it can be brought back to life by buffing and re-waxing, others may see buffing and waxing as a time-consuming requirement they’d prefer to avoid if at-all possible.
Clean Floors Show Dirt
A popular misconception is that to have a clean floor the best thing you can do is choose a product that hides dirt. My opinion? There’s nothing worse than a mess you can’t see. If the floor doesn’t show the dirt, how will we know to clean it? Choosing a floor with heavy texture, color variation and with a low sheen will allow the dirt to hideaway and go unseen. But is that what you want? A clean looking floor and a clean feeling floor are not the same thing.
Maintaining the Floors in Your Home
While you most likely won’t go with a waxed floor in your own home, there are types of flooring that you might choose a product that will require a bit more maintenance than others. Residentially, an oiled wood floor is the most beautiful product you can go with, but it comes with specific cleaning and maintenance requirements. That said, not only does the oil enhance the natural grain and beauty of the wood, it offers a chance for reparability if any scratches or imperfections are created they tend to be very easy to hide with an oil floor.
Lauren Oddo has been with US Design Source for six years managing sales and specifying products. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship, she sought a career that would allow her to combine her love for home design and education in entrepreneurship into one passion. The owners of US Design Source, Michael and Ginny Hill, have been part of the Orlando flooring and building industry for over 50 years. As a company, we've installed hundreds of thousands of square feet of flooring throughout Central Florida.