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Living room with timber flooring and brown couch.
Whether you’re looking after tiles or timber, carpet or vinyl, these top tips will get your place glowing from the ground up.

Hold the floor

What’s the best way to get sad-looking floors like new again? Read on for advice on cleaning and caring for the most popular types of flooring.

1. Sweep it

Dirt and sand can scratch a solid timber floor, so the top tip is simply to vacuum or sweep with an electrostatic mop. “These floors are best vacuumed weekly, as dust, dander and other allergens can work their way into the cracks between floorboards,” says Craig Knighton of Vax.

2. Mop up

You can also use a damp but thoroughly wrung out mop on timber – microfibre flat mops are better than sponge or string ones here. Check your cleaning product is pH-neutral and not spirit or solvent based, avoid abrasive or concentrated detergents, and never use scourers or steel wool.

3. Deal with scratches

Minor scratches in floorboards can often be touched up using a tinted wax crayon. You can also try a touch-up pen or buff-and-polish fluid. If there is a deeper scratch or ding, but the damage is not extensive enough to justify refinishing the whole floor, a timber touch-up kit might save the day.

4. Go for vinyl

Denise Retallick of Gerflor (Senso) says, “Vinyl flooring is by far one of the easiest types of floors to maintain. Scuff marks, dirt and grime will effortlessly wipe away with any pH-neutral cleaner.” Bear in mind that decades-old vinyl flooring that’s sustained heavy wear might need to be replaced.

5. Tackle repairs

Consider self-adhesive vinyl planks which are easy to install and very hardwearing – and in the unlikely event you manage to gouge or scrape one, there’s a simple solution: “Using a hair dryer, gently warm the damaged plank for several minutes, then prise up the edge with a utility knife until you can grab it,” says Denise. “Then just remove the plank and replace it with a new one.”

Carpet with grey bean bag on it

6. Look after the soft stuff

Clean spot stains on carpets or rugs using a specialist carpet stain remover, and once or twice a year, treat your carpet to a steam clean to wash out ground-in dirt; deep cleaners are available from the Hire Shop. 

7. Take care of timber

As with solid timber flooring, abrasion from soil and sand particles is damaging to both engineered and laminate-type floating floors. Engineered floorboards have a thin layer of real timber under the surface, so they can be sanded and refinished like solid floorboards, giving you an opportunity to reverse any damage. Laminate floors don’t have this timber layer and can’t be fixed the same way.

8. Keep it dry

Laminate floors are particularly sensitive to moisture, so wipe up any spills immediately. If something gets stuck on, use a plastic or wooden spatula to gently remove it; never use a scouring pad or metal implement.

9. Treat your tiles

As with other hard floors, vacuum tiles weekly, then give them a solid clean by mopping with a solution of water and white vinegar; often vinegar makes ceramic tiles sparkle more brightly than chemical cleaning solutions, and it’s also gentle on the environment.

10. Go easy on stone

Stone tiles tend to need more frequent cleaning, so a microfibre power cleaner can be an effective way to save elbow grease. Only use mild solutions such as water with dishwashing liquid to avoid damaging the sealant. If they do become damaged, tiles can be difficult to repair. A cracked tile will need to be removed and replaced, which is fiddly but achievable for a confident DIYer. If you’re laying new tile floors, hold back a few spare tiles in case of future accidents.

More information

Learn how to fix damaged floor tiles with our step-by-step guide.

 

Photo Credit: Senso by Gerflor and Brigid Arnott

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.