Reclaimed wood flooring is popular for older, restored homes and in homes where the owners want to create a classic feel.
Any flooring with the title “reclaimed” has generally been taken from another previous use and salvaged to allow the wood to be used again. This differs from “recycled” wood, which often indicates scraps or incidental pieces that are produced by another process involving wood, then processed to create a “wood based” product such as composites or decking.
Reclaimed wood floors were originally used as wood floors in another building and are repaired and refinished for use in another, usually newer or restored, structure.
Caring for these classic floors does require extra care. Key to maintenance is protection and prevention. Try to avoid problems rather than having to repair them with questionable results.
Step 1 - Protection from Furniture
Place a felt, soft plastic or fabric faced furniture glides under every leg of each piece of furniture on the reclaimed wood floor, whether you expect to move it or not.
Never slide furniture across the floor. Instead, lift it completely off of the floor and carry it to a new location.
Step 2 - Protection from People
Put throw rugs at each doorway to a room with a reclaimed wood floor to catch any dirt, grit or debris from being tracked in and marring the floor surface.
Use a rug in front of the kitchen sink to catch any water spillage and protect the floor from water damage. If a large spill occurs, move the rug and immediately dry it up.
Do not allow anyone to wear shoes on the floor, particularly high heels, cleats or other sporting footwear. These sharp shoes exert a full 8,000 lbs. per square inch, and will dent any flooring surface, but particularly vintage wood floors.
If possible, wear slippers in the home.
Step 3 - Cleanliness
Basic cleaning is vital to the maintenance of a reclaimed wood floor.
Use a soft broom, a vacuum made for hardwood floors and a floor duster with disposable cloths to keep the dirt and debris off of the floor. Dirt and grime left on the floor can mar and scratch the floor’s surface as you walk on it.
Use a damp towel to quickly wipe up spills. Do not use a wet mop on the floor. Standing water of any kind will damage the floor surface.
Use a professional quality hardwood floor cleaner (see a professional) periodically to really get a deep clean for your reclaimed hardwood floor. Avoid products made for vinyl or tile floors, since they cause wood floors to dull and become slippery.
Step 4 - Control the Humidity
Ideal humidity condition for a wood floor is between 40 and 60 percent humidity. Particularly during the winter months, use a humidifier to keep the humidity at a safe level for your reclaimed wood floor.