Caring for Timber or Laminate Floors
Timber flooring is beautiful, hard-wearing and can last for generations in a home. Laminated flooring is an economical alternative that gives the appearance of wood at a fraction of the cost. Both types of flooring need proper care to look their best and last as long as possible, but fortunately that care is simple as long as you maintain them consistently.
Protect the floor
Furniture can scuff and wear both types of floor; to prevent this, fit furniture legs with protective pads or casters. Pads are a better choice for the floor, but if you have to have the mobility of a caster, choose a barrel-type caster rather than a wheel. If you've varnished your timber flooring yourself, allow the varnish a week to cure before putting any furniture on it at all.
Grit can scratch the floor if it gets trapped under a rug, so carefully clean the area before placing rugs. If the room has doors to the outside, place dust-trapping mats at the entrances to prevent people tracking particles in that could scratch the floor.
Clean carefully and regularly
Timber and laminate floors are different in some ways, but they both need regular cleaning and they're both vulnerable to damage from moisture. You'll need to rely on cleaning techniques that use a minimum of water. Vacuum the floor regularly using a cleaner with a soft brush head.
Keeping the floor free of dust and grit is the largest part of maintaining these floors, but you may also need to clean up a spill or stain. The right technique depends on the type of floor. For timber floors, wet a mop in a solution of water and a small amount of vinegar; you can also buy dedicated floor-cleaning solutions. Wring the mop until barely any moisture remains, then gently mop the area along the direction of the wood grain. For laminate flooring, spray laminate floor cleaner directly onto the mop and mop the affected area gently. You want to avoid the floor absorbing any moisture.
Expect colour change
Timber floors typically change colour as they age; this is part of the appeal of natural materials. Exposure to sunlight also causes fading in laminate floors, leading to patches of darker colour under rugs and furniture. If you want to ensure even colour change, you can move rugs and furnishings around, but gradual colour change over the years is to be expected.