4. Care of your Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is resistant to scratching, staining, wear and tear, even moisture, but it is not indestructible. As with anything, proper care will lead to longevity, and prolonged beauty. Let’s look at some basic tips, and let’s get the bad out of the way first.
Cleaning things to definitely avoid
Laminate flooring not only has no need of polish or wax, but those chemicals can even dull the surface by leaving a film behind. They really aren’t made for each other. Any product with a name like “Mop & Gloss” is a home version of the same. Just leave those at the store. They take time, and do harm rather than good.
No sanding. No lacquer. These are not friends of the laminate floor as they are with other types of flooring.
Also do not seal your laminate flooring after a proper installation has been completed. If it is not meant to be glued together, then don’t do it, and if it is, then only do what the installation instructions direct.
That said, since your floor has not been (as it should not be) sealed, please do not use any kind of a steam cleaner on it. Forcing steam into a carpet will allow you to pull out a lot of stuff you want out of your floor. Forcing steam into the micro-gaps between your laminate planks merely sends water to a place you don’t want it to go, and keeps it there, where it will expand and warp your boards. And absolutely do not use a buffing machine on your laminate. One should generally never buff photographs with industrial devices.
Likewise, avoid abrasive cleaning materials, from obvious things like steel wool to easier to miss items like scouring powder. Even some liquid cleaners can be abrasive. With the inordinate and directed pressure that comes in the cleaning process, these can scratch or dull your floor’s surface.
Finally, heavy, pointy objects should not contact your laminate floor. These would include things like a dropped pair of quality scissors. Your AC rating may be high, but why find the limit by accidentally passing it?
Regular cleaning things to definitely do
Laminate floors come with warranties lasting 10, 25, 50 years, even lifetime for residential uses. They are designed to last for years with a minimum of maintenance effort, yet, while well protected against scuffing and scratching, mere sand and dirt, left to gather, can be a stealth enemy of the laminate floor. You see, in a high traffic area, especially an entrance, grit particles rolled or compressed and drug under a shoe can act like tiny little chisels, not making deep gouges, but creating micro-scratches in the surface, which will appear as a gradual dulling. We want to prevent dirt buildup, and the best ways to do this are to regularly:
If something gets stuck to the floor, like gum or dripped candle wax, do not panic. It’s surprisingly easy to remove these. Use an ice cube to freeze, or at least harden the offending substance, and then just go under it with something plastic, a thin scraper, a credit card, something not likely to scratch the floor. The dropped former goo should pop right off, then you can wipe under it with a damp towel.
If someone draws a detailed map on your floor with a sharpie, again, do not panic. In many cases, even sharpie ink will come up with application of acetone wiped around with a soft cloth.
With some damage you will need to replace a plank to correct it. If you installed the flooring yourself, then it’s essentially pretty easy. You just do what you did in reverse, removing the trim nearest the offending plank, and lifting out boards until you get to it. Replace it with one of the extra boards you saved (be sure to select a board whose image is not duplicated by a close board), and then put everything back. If you did not install the floor, or this process sounds daunting, then you should call your trusted installer.
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David is has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with W. David Lichty
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