Hardwood Floors Add Value, but Require Attention

Associated Press

Hardwood floors add to the beauty and value of a home and deserve special attention.

Follow these tips from the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Home Front newsletter for keeping wood floors looking great.

--Vacuum or dry-mop wood floors often. Wax lightly and buff floors finished with shellac or regular varnish every three months. Use a good solvent-base paste or liquid wax, never a self-polishing or water-base wax. Apply thin coatings each time to avoid wax buildup.

--All wood floors, even those coated with polyurethane and factory finishes, can sustain damage from water. If water has soaked into the wood, causing a dark stain, sand the area with medium-grit sandpaper. To remove white stains, rub with fine steel wool dipped in mineral oil.

--Remove shallow scratches, dark heel marks or minor burns with fine steel wool and dry-cleaning fluid.

--Rub crayon marks, candle wax, chewing gun or tar with ice cubes (in a plastic bag) until the residue is brittle enough to scrape off. Use cleaning fluid to loosen any substance still sticking.

--After removing stains, rub the spot with wax or, if necessary, apply a matching finish, feathering it out into the surrounding areas.

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