With regular sweeping and dusting, as well as some common-sense everyday cleaning tips and a once-in-a-while refinishing, your hardwood flooring will always look great. Wood floors add richness, warmth, value, and elegance to any home, with low, not high, maintenance. The biggest thing to remember is wipe spills immediately since water is "public enemy #1" of wood. Here are some tips from Bob's Carpet Mart, your source for wood flooring in the Tampa Bay Area.

Each element brings different challenges

While you won't have seasonal changes in Florida, you will have plenty of rain and humidity, dirt, chlorine, ocean saltwater, and leaves. It's best to be proactive and clean them up immediately, and here's what each one can do: Chlorine is corrosive and seeps into the grains to change the texture and even distort the boards' appearance. Leaves harbor bacteria and water; humidity makes the boards expand, resulting in cupping and crowning. Like any excess water, rain can create warping, and saltwater, whether from the ocean or fish tank, can wear down the finish.

Develop a routine

While it doesn't need to be a strict schedule, regular patterns keep one focused and organized. Dust or sweep regularly, and be sure to detach vacuum beater bars ( rotating brushes) because they can scratch.

Once in a while, you'll want to do a deeper cleaning and, when that happens, combine four cups of water and a few drops of castile soap. Make sure the mop is very well wrung, and if you do polish the floor, wipe it up thoroughly so there's no excess liquid. Don't use bleach!

Additional tips

Strategically placemats, use protective furniture pads, keep pet nails trimmed, and avoid wearing stilettos on the floor. When floors seem excessively scratched or dull, ask about refinishing.

Since 1969, Bob's Carpet Mart has been a flooring leader, with a large inventory, quality installations, a shop-at-home service, and free estimates. To learn more about hardwood, visit any of our 16 locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, especially if you live in St Petersburg, Brandon, Largo, Carrollwood, Clearwater, Wesley Chapel, New Port Richey, or Sarasota.