Looking After Your Timber Flooring

Having timber flooring in your home is a real treat and can help to give your home a rustic feel. It's such a versatile material that is perfect when coupled with a good Persian rug, treated with different stains and oils or just left as it is. However, because it's a natural product it needs to be cleaned and treated differently to tile flooring and other man-made materials in order to preserve its structural integrity and prevent problems that will require you to replace it. 


If you decide to treat your floor, there are a couple of different main options available to you. Firstly you can opt for a polyurethane floor varnish, which provides a high level of protection for your floor, especially in areas of the home where you, your family or your pets walk frequently. This means it's a great option for entrance halls and corridors as it will seal the wood and prevent damage. Varnishes can come in a variety of colours and are designed to sit on top of the wood rather than penetrating deep into the fibres; however, because of this it means that you cannot touch up small areas of the floor as it wears away, but instead must re-varnish all of it. 

Oils offer less protection but are designed to penetrate the wood and harden the fibres. They will stain the floorboards often a brown or yellow tinge but don't come in the variety of colours found in varnishes. Oils don't provide much of a barrier against traffic, so it's advised that it be used on floors in rooms that don't have many people walking through them to prevent scratches and other forms of damage.


In order to clean timber flooring you need to be careful about how much moisture you use. If water penetrates the wood and gets under the varnish or into untreated fibres, it can cause water damage. This can present itself in a number of ways, often through dark damp patches and mould, which will stain the timber or lead to warping. Warping is where the wood expands and becomes deformed, requiring you to replace the timber flooring with new straight planks. It will cause the wood to either rise or sink, leading to uneven surfaces and unnecessary pressure on adjacent planks, which could cause them to come loose as well. 

When cleaning, vacuum up as much dirt as you can, moving with the grain to prevent any debris getting trapped in the cracks and crevices. Then either use a dedicated timber floor wash or a mop dipped in hot water and rung as dry as possible.