Timber floors are easy to clean.
For day to day use, you only need to sweep or vacuum the floor. Most marks can be wiped off with a damp cloth or with mild detergent. Occasionally, you can give the floor a general clean with a well wrung, damp cloth or mop. Do not use any oil-based or wax cleaners on your floor. They make the surface slippery and hard to clean.
Simply wipe up occasional spills.
While the timber is sensitive to moisture, it will tolerate spillages. Just wipe them up straight away.
A surface coating protects your new timber floor.
Floors coated with a varnish (polyurethane) finish are generally maintenance free for 8-15 years. The floor can then be recoated or sanded down to remove any marks. You can then choose the surface finish you want and the floor will look like new.Oiled floors take a little more care. Once or twice a year, you may need to polish the floor. Heavy wear areas may need more regular treatment. Kitchens can often take the most wear. These may need to be recoated more regularly.
Stop dirt at the door.
Dirt scratches away at the coating. Wipe shoes on a door mat outside and you will avoid bringing in water, dust or dirt. A textile mat inside the door provides extra protection.
Place a rug on the areas of the floor that takes the most wear.
This may be in a hallway or under a desk.
Put pads on the feet of your furniture.
These eliminate unnecessary marks and scratches. Check under each piece of furniture. Self adhesive felt pads can be cut to size and are easy to attach. Avoid stiletto heels. They can dent and scratch your floor.
Always protect your floor when moving heavy objects.
Lift them clear of the floor or use a towel or rug with the soft side to the floor and slide them
Do not use too much water when you clean.
Make sure the cloth or mop is well wrung out. Wash the floor with an almost dry sponge mop using a mixture of a ½ cup of methylated spirits to a half a bucket of cold water - Do not wet mop the floor. It is unnecessary and can damage the timber. If there are persistent leaks from sinks or dishwashers, have them repaired straight away.
The boards move slightly with the seasons.
As timber is a natural material, it reacts to the weather, getting slightly larger in wet weather and slightly smaller in dry weather. The small gaps that open in the boards as a result are perfectly normal.
Timber may darken or change tone over time.
If this is a concern to you, use curtains or windows treatment to minimise the effects. Occasionally moving around rugs and mats ensures that the floor tones evenly.