Unfinished wood flooring

10 Tips For Maintaining Unfinished Wood Flooring

September 24, 2021

Unfinished wood flooring, especially oak, has become increasingly popular over the years. Why? Because if you want to invite a bit of nature into your home, you leave the floors in their natural state.

Unfinished floors are pretty impressive, and they help create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in your home.

Nevertheless, unfinished wood floors come with some specific requirements. If you want your floor to last long, and look good, then you kinda’ have to follow some maintenance rules.

Wooden floors, finished or unfinished, are a long-term investment. If carefully maintained, they can last a lifetime.

Pre-finished and Unfinished Wood Flooring. What’s the Difference?

Well, first and foremost, finished wood floors are usually covered with a lacquer or oil finish.

Finished wood floors, like oak, might fade over time. They are also more susceptible to signs of wear. So, no matter what finish you’ve chosen, it would be good to refresh them from time to time. Revive the boards, give them a new finish.


There are a couple of good maintenance oils that you can use. If you see some serious marks on the floor, we recommend you sand them away. After that, apply a new coat of finish.

Pre-finished wood floors have been pre-finished before installation. So, before they arrive at your door, a specific stain or sealant has been already added to them. However, it might prove quite challenging to determine the product applied initially. This will also make it difficult to finish your floors again in the future.

Unfinished oak flooring is more natural and raw. You can order it like that and apply a finish of your own later. Or, you can keep it unfinished.

Nevertheless, either finished, pre-finished or unfinished, wood flooring needs careful maintenance. This will make your floor last longer and look great in the process.

So, always make sure you sweep the floor frequently to prevent dust from accumulating—vacuum regularly.

7 General Maintenance Tips

These are some general tips that everyone can follow to keep their wooden floors in good condition.

1. Make use of floor protector pads

Install floor protector pads on the bottom of all your furniture legs to avoid unnecessary scratches.

Furniture protective pads

Moreover, you should consider placing rugs at all entrances. They keep the dirt and grit at the door and help absorb some of the moisture.

2. Take Rugs out Regularly

You should take the rugs out and clean them thoroughly regularly. Moreover, whenever they get too wet, get them outside and dry them.

3. Move the rugs around

Keeping rugs in the same place for an extended period could cause colour differences.  So, it could prove an excellent idea to try and reorganize your living spaces regularly. This way, you can avoid different floor shading.

4. Mind the humidity

Solid hardwood floors might shrink, leaving gaps between the boards. To minimize this occurrence, consider controlling the humidity levels in the house.

5. Trim your dog’s nails regularly

This might sound weird but listen carefully. Pets, especially large dogs, can cause a lot of scratching to the floors just by walking on them. Not to mention that at times, they also like to run and jump around. They’re cute, and we also love them.

Unfinished wood flooring dogs nails

However, to protect your wooden floors, we recommend trimming their nails regularly to avoid any accidents.

6. Mind the spill areas

You should pay attention to the usual spill areas. Check your dishwashers, sink and radiators for any potential leaks.

House plants are frequently ignored. It is an excellent practice to double-pot them. Or simply put a small plastic blate below the flower pots.

7. Avoid wearing shoes in the house

If possible, avoid wearing shoes in the house or at least don’t wear them all the time. This small action can make a big difference in the long term.

In general, you should adopt a regular cleaning and maintenance routine. It is not as complicated as it sounds.

The first step is to keep the floor dust, dirt and grit away through regular vacuuming. Always use the soft bristle setting so that the vacuum head doesn’t scratch the floor.

The second step of your routine should be mopping. Make sure you use eco-friendly floor cleaners and never clean with too much water. The mop should be damp.

10 Specific Tips for Unfinished Wood Floor Maintenance

So, here are 10 tips for maintaining unfinished wood flooring.

1. Be gentle

Unfinished wood floors require a bit more gentleness. Remember that they are not covered with any layer that could guarantee a degree of protection.

So, you should not clean them with any sharp or abrasive objects. The floor is more delicate and prone to damages, and you can very quickly leave marks or scratches.

2. Use a damp cloth

You should use less soap and water than you’d typically do on a finished wood floor. Soap and water can really damage the wood. The excess moisture will easily get in between the boards.

Use only damp cloths made from delicate fabric, if possible.

3. Avoid wet-mopping

If you have large wood floors to clean, we recommend you use a moist microfiber mop. Use a spray bottle of water to mist your floors, and then wipe them clean with the moist microfiber mop. In this way, you will avoid any problems with humidity.

Regular mops can leave a lot of water on the floor. So, avoid wet-mopping.

4. Choose the right wood care products

Make sure you use floor cleaners that are suitable for untreated floors. There are many different wood flooring cleaning products on the market, and it’s pretty tricky to choose the products you need. Nevertheless, only in this way can you get a great result and protect your floors.

So, stay away from cleaning products for finished wood floors. They can stain the unfinished wood flooring.

5. Gently sand the stained area

When facing stubborn stains, it might be better to sand the given area. Sanding is a suitable method of removing stains, but do not use it too often.

6. Vacuuming

Vacuum your unfinished wood floor at least once a week. Regular vacuuming helps remove dust and dirt particles. These particles could really scratch the floor. In time, they will dull its surface.

7. Avoid floor soaking at any costs

If you need to remove some hard stains, make sure you only wet-mop that area. Do not soak the entire wood floor in water at the same time.

8. Try to avoid spills as much as possible

Spills are probably the worst nightmare of a homeowner who decided to install unfinished wood floors in his house. So, make sure you remove spills right after they’ve occurred. Clean them up immediately using a soft cloth to avoid the permanent soiling of your floors.

9. Get some sturdy doormats or rugs

Mats and rugs represent a great type of preventive care for your unfinished wood floors.

Doormatts unfinished wood flooring

Buy some high-quality doormats and place them at all entrances, both outdoor and indoor. Make sure they are absorbent. Moreover, ensure they are cleaned regularly.

This way, you will prevent dirt and grit from getting into the house. Encourage your friends and family to use the doormats and even take their shoes off indoors.

10. Clean the floor before moving the furniture

Moving furniture can cause a lot of problems for any type of wooden floor. However, sometimes we need to do that at times, right?

So, before you move the furniture, remember to clean your wood floors as much as possible. In this way, you will prevent scratches and dents caused by the sand or grit trapped underneath the furniture or appliances.

Use a clean piece of carpet. Place it under the given piece of furniture to protect the unfinished wood floor in the process.

In conclusion, wooden floors can last you a lifetime, but not without adequately taking care of them.

So, keep in mind all these tips and take care of your unfinished or pre-finished wooden floors. In time, if you want, you can add your finish of choice to them. Just make sure they’re in good condition over the years.

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