Adding finishes to your reclaimed wood not only enhances it aesthetic appeal, but it also protects it.  Dust and dirt inevitably collect on wood floors, especially if they are outside exposed to the natural elements, and a finish helps protect against permanent buildup and damage.

There are several different finishing options from which you can choose.  Finishes range from wax and varnishes to lacquers and urethane. The type of wood finish you need depends on the specie of your wood, as well as your lifestyle and where your wood floor is located.

To best maintain the functionality of your wood finish, you need to care for it from time to time. The first thing to keep in mind is that different wood finishes require different kinds of care and maintenance. Even though a particular cleaner or cleaning technique may apply to one type of wood finish, it may not be appropriate or strong enough for another type of finish.

Below are some useful tips for properly maintaining different types of wood finishes:

  • General rule: water is the primary enemy of wood regardless of the type of finish it has. Although some types of wood are more penetrable than others, water is never good for it.
  • Know more about your wood finish. Educate yourself on the factors that can contribute to the fast damage to your finish and what you need to do regularly to protect it against those things.  There are some wood finishes that require regular cleaning and upkeep, while other finishes do better with only occasional cleaning.
  • Water-based cleaners and wet mops are fine for some finishes, but not others. This means that you must find out which type of floor yours is because if you use water-based cleaners on floors that shouldn’t have them, they will easily crack or change in color. For instance, wood floors with wax should not be cleaned with water-based cleaners, but urethane can.
  • Know the ingredients of your cleaners, even if they’re natural. Green cleaning has become a popular way to help protect the environment. However, even if you use natural cleaners, it’s still important to know which ingredients they contain to be sure they are safe for your wood floors. Vinegar, for example, is a good cleaning ingredient, but not all wood finishes can tolerate its high level of acidity.

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