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The Spic ‘n’ Span of Douglas Fir Floors

March 3, 2011 by | nell | There have been 0 comments

They say a messy desk is the sign of a genius, but when it comes to your Douglas fir flooring that thinking will wreak havoc. Follow the conventional wisdom when considering your floors and keep ‘em clean.

How? We’ll tell you. And with your help, your Douglas fir flooring will last, well, more than your lifetime. Read on for our list of preventative measures for maintaining both new and existing fir floors.

Dents & Dings

Though durable, Douglas fir floors are not indestructible. They can dent and ding, especially in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Be careful when moving your sofa or that exquisite clawfoot dining table. We recommend using furniture coasters or moving pads before trading spaces. And taking the time to put felt floor protectors on the ends of furniture legs is well worth it.

When it comes to the family’s feisty pup, be sure to keep your pooch’s paws clean and nails trimmed – for every one of your legs that walk across the floor, Fido’s got two. And loving dog owners, before you go blaming the dog for every dent and ding, take a look at your own feet – those 3” pencil thin heels are like two tiny daggers repeatedly hammering your fir floors. If you relieve your feet when you walk into the house, you will save your floors in the process. Actually, we recommend that everyone take their shoes off when they enter the house to prevent troublesome street stuff – gum, gunk, goo, and rocks too – from getting anywhere near your floors. Not gonna happen? Then the next best thing is to place a doormat or entry rug to stop the street stuff from coming indoors.

Sun damage to a wood table.

Tykes and Toys

When playtime spills out from the kid’s room into the living room, be ready for dropped toys and rambunctious play. Today’s toys are marvels of invention with their sensors, buttons, and detachable parts. Invest in a large durable rubber-lined play mat, or two, to contain and soften the blows from little Tessa’s make-believe rocket launch and Billy’s block-building.

Fading and Shading

You can’t judge a fir by its floor. That’s because no two firs are exactly the same, though there are similarities, such as its rosy hue and exquisite grain pattern. Most notable is the wood’s natural tendency to deepen to a warm orange almost rust-like color over time. But, there’s a difference between natural shading and premature aging from the sun’s rays, causing discoloration and fading. You can help prolong your wood’s youthful glow by closing curtains and blinds on those bright days. Also be sure to periodically rearrange that large area rug. Leaving it in one place too long can cause uneven shading over time. And, don’t forget to place a rubber rug liner underneath to catch fine dirt that falls through the rug.

Cleaning Dos & Don’ts

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Just make sure that someone knows what they’re doing when it comes to cleaning your fir floors. Although dents and dings do happen, this is one maintenance measure you can control. Here’s what we recommend.

1. To prevent dirt buildup from scratching and dulling your floors, sweep or vacuum regularly. Once a week should do it. Use a fine bristle broom or a lightweight vacuum. If you do vacuum, check to make sure it’s not scratching your floors.

2. Quickly wipe up spills to prevent staining. Use a clean towel or rag and allow the area to thoroughly dry. Wet spills and water exposure will damage your floors if left untreated.

3. To “wash” the wood, use a neutral wood cleaner and a quality mop. Microfiber pads work best because they attract dirt while “washing,” though it’s best to sweep and vacuum just before using the wood cleaner. Your choice of wood cleaners are plenty, but be sure to read the label. Many inexpensive shelf brands are soap or wax-based and leave residue, streaks, and stickiness behind. Bona produces a high-end line of floor care products including a non-toxic cleaner.

Home-remedies like vinegar and water will leave your floors looking dull over time, even cloudy. And, definitely don’t steam clean. Concentrated heat, steam, and water droplets, not to mention the motion of heavy machinery, all pose a threat to wood.

We’d like to think this next tip a no-brainer, but never scrub your fir floors with harsh powders or concentrated cleaners, and save your steal wool pads for pots and pans.

4. Read and follow directions on the labels of everything: cleaning products, complete wood care kits, and cleaning supplies. They’re there for a reason, so don’t skimp on the prep time unless you want problems.

A Note on Existing Floors
If you’ve been fortunate enough to inherit fir floors, you may have already spent a weekend’s worth of time examining every scratch and splotch wondering whodunit. As we all know, this mystery is likely to go unsolved. Look at those scratches and splotches this way, your floors have character. With a bit of elbow grease – buffing & waxing to restore luster or re-sanding & finishing to erase severe scratches – they will appear aged to perfection.

Following our preventative measures for maintenance will help you prolong the life of your Douglas fir flooring. After all, a clean floor is a happy floor.

- Nicole Morales


This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, maintaining wood floors, maintaining fir floors, cleaning wood floors

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