Hardwood floors are a popular flooring choice for their appearance and durability, but they are susceptible to water damages, knicks and cuts, and regular wear and tear. To protect them from damages it is important to keep them dry, seal the wood so water can not access the wood directly, and use kitchen mats to protect the floor in areas of the kitchen that have frequent traffic or are most likely to have spills.
Prevention & Protection
The first step to protecting your hardwood kitchen floors is to clean up any spills that occur. This will prevent the liquids from damaging the floor and will keep it safe for you and others to walk through the kitchen. Not only can spills damage the wood, but they can also cause slip and fall accidents. Encourage everyone in your home to clean up any spills as soon as they happen, but to protect floors further it is necessary to seal them with a good wood floor sealant.
When selecting a wood sealant look for an oil based product that is intended for floors, and ensure that it is applied correctly. After the wood floors are installed, they must be sanded to avoid splinters and other occurrences, then apply the oil based sealant. Select oil based rather than water based as the water based will wear faster and is more susceptible to water damages. Apply thin layers according to the directions included, and then allow to dry for 24 hours. It is important to allow it to dry fully before walking on the floor as it will be tacky and can stain clothing as well as interrupt the seal as it bonds to the flooring.
For areas that are high traffic or that have many spills, such as in front of the kitchen sink, near the fridge, and in any place that people walk through the kitchen while going to other areas of the home. These spaces will get the most wear and water damages, so require the most protection. A nonslip mat near the sink and/or dishwasher will offer additional safety as they will prevent slip and fall accidents in those areas, can easily be wiped clean if they become wet, and will cushion the feet of those who stand there to do dishes or other tasks. When wet you are less likely to slip on a nonslip mat than on a wet floor itself.
Once your floor has been sealed it will require regular maintenance. This maintenance includes sweeping debris frequently with a soft broom or one with gentle rubber bristles and mopping as needed. All spills need to bed cleaned quickly and effectively to prevent water damage to the floor. Wood floors will need to be sanded and resealed periodically in order to repair areas of wear, and near any scratches that occur. Any furniture should have protective covers on the bottom of the legs to avoid scratching the floor, and use protective covers when moving furniture.