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General Care and Maintenance for your laminate flooring

General cleaning and care advice from John Chappell Technical Services.
Mr. John Chappell - specialist independent laminate and wood floor assessor with 16 years experience in this field.
ex -Pergo Technical Representative.

The best way to keep your laminate floor looking its best is to understand its limitations. You must follow the maintenance
techniques and schedules of the flooring you purchase.

 
 

Since the inception of laminate flooring, ease of maintenance has been one of its largest assets. Due to the composition and construction of the product, as well as the extremely durable top layers, laminate flooring is perhaps the easiest type of flooring to maintain.

General daily maintenance requires vacuuming, sweeping and dust mopping. Several generic cleaning solutions are also available to clean laminate floors. Most major laminate flooring manufacturers have their own cleaning kits with instructions. Most kits contain a flat cloth mop and a spray cleaning solution. The cleaner is best sprayed onto the mop-head and then the floor is wiped clean. It is very important that you follow the maintenance schedule of the product you purchase. Ask your retailer or manufacturer on the specifics of maintaining your floor. All of the manufacturers warranties require a specific maintenance schedule to be followed.

WARNING - do not use any aftermarket cleaners or sprays that state it leaves the floor shiny or sparkly, or contain any glossing agents, these will leave you without any warrantee on your flooring, the manufacturers of the flooring clearly state that no artificial glossing agents, polishes or shining agents such as waxes are to be use on melamine laminate flooring. There are several leading high street brands offering such products, they even say that they are suitable for laminate flooring on the label, this is there opinion, not the manufacturers of the flooring however, so beware. These companies do not take into account the requirements of many leading laminate floor manufacturers such as Pergo, Quickstep, Krono Original, Egger, Balterio, Berry Floor etc, and use of these products can often lead to problems and loss of warrantee offered.

You should also avoid any laminate floor cleaners that state they are made from soap, as soap need to be rinsed away and most laminate floors these days cannot be rinsed or wet mopped due to the click system or 'v' groove technology used. The instructions on many soap based cleaners are not compatible with the newer styles of laminate floors, and often lead to damage of the flooring over time. Any concentrate cleaner used that states you mix it in a bucket and soak the mop cloths should only be branded manufacturers laminate cleaners only,.many aftermarket cleaners can have chemicals in that can lead to problems over time with certain laminates. Follow the instructions on the bottles closely, never overwet the flooring, always use a fluffy microfibre mop cloth to apply the cleaner and use another fluffy mop cloth to buff off / dry any moisture on the flooring stright away, especially if 'v' grooved joints are present.

Laminate floors are fade, stain, dent, burn and scratch resistant. However, it is still possible that you may end up with a scratch, chip or dent that will require repair. Laminate flooring is very tough, but it is not 'bullet proof'.

There are a range of flooring laminate putty's which can help mask any small chips in your flooring however, they will not cover or hide scratches. Scratches will fade a little with use of the flooring depending on how deep, with proper advice and cleaning equipment, you can reduce the risks of damaging your flooring and keeping it looking new.

While laminates are meant to stand up to wear, they keep a new look if you follow this simple advice.

  • Vacuum or sweep the flooring to remove loose dirt or grit
    (*** Caution - do not use any vacuum's with a rotating beater bar - hard floor attachments only).
    Whilst many laminate flooring manufacturers actually say you can use vacuum's with hard floor attachments, we recommend you only use a soft brush to clean the surface grit and dirt away prior to mopping. We have found that if your flooring is suffering from a lot of grit particles on the floor you do risk the chance of some of this grit getting onto the wheels of the vacuum, and whilst dragging or pushing the vacuum around the floor, it is possible that a piece of grit can stop some of the smaller wheels found on today's vacuums from going around, this will result in a scratch on your laminate floor.
  • Flat mop, using a laminate manufacturers cleaning solution. Spray the cleaning solution onto a dry flat mop with a microfibre cloth, do not saturate or over wet the mop. The mop should not leave moisture behind the mopped area cleaned, this should be almost dry. If your laminate flooring has a wood grain type finish, the flooring should be mopped in the same direction as the grain. (Most good quality laminates have an impressed grain affect in the wear layers on wood type finishes) cleaning in the length of these grains helps bring back the luster of the flooring, only microfibre cloths can get into these impressed grains, cleaning across the grain is not as affective. Once mopped with the cleaner spray on the flat microfibre mop cloth, the floor should then be buffed with a dry clean version of the flat microfibre mop cloth, this will help remove any residue from the cleaning procedure.
  • Never use polish, varnish or wax. Most laminate flooring have a pre-finished wear layer, this never needs further treatment, only correct cleaning. There are many after market (generic) laminate floor cleaners on sale today, many of these cleaners can actually lead to more damage to your laminate flooring over a long period of time. Many of these after market cleaning products have glossing agents in them, designed to offer your flooring a glossy clean sparkly finish or have soap included in there make up. Glossing agents will actually make your laminate flooring appear patchy, as you use the flooring the worn areas fade as the glossing agent wears off quickly, then your have to constantly keep glossing your floor to keep it looking good, this is classed as a polish and the manufacturers can and will invalidate your warrantee as a result if these products are used. The glossing agents and soaps found in many after market cleaners often cause the flooring to become sticky and this will cause the flooring to attract dirt rather than repel it. More dirt on your flooring will lead to more scratching with time.
  • Never clean with abrasives, scouring powder or steel wool.
  • Wipe up spills / liquids immediately.
  • Avoid allowing any liquids to stand on your floor - including your pets water bowl.
  • Dirt is the primary enemy of laminates floors. Walking over time causes fine scratches that lead to dullness and larger particles of sand or rocks cause visible scratches.

Protection advice for your laminate flooring


Never drag any unprotected furniture or heavy items across your floor. Install 2 -3 mm felt on the bottoms of all of your furniture, especially tables and chairs. Whilst the furniture legs may not directly damage your floor, grit building up and trapped between the floor and the hard furniture legs / bottoms will cause a lot of light scratches. Installing the felt layer between these two hard surfaces gives the grit somewhere to go rather than getting pushed into your laminate flooring.

Install proper barrier mats. It is essential that proper door mats are used at every entrance and exit of your home. A good system is to have a coir or Astroturf type mat on the outside to help remove grit from the treads of your shoes or trainers and then a rubber backed cotton based mat inside your doorways. This will reduce the transfer of grit and moisture onto your laminate floors.

Castors - Most manufacturers say in there leaflets that there floors withstand castors, what this actually means in many cases is that the castors will not leave indentations (like they do in carpets). Unprotected castors will damage your flooring, old metal type castors often found on older lounge chairs offer floor coverings a point load, often these are strained and at an odd angle or damaged, especially when you 'land' / sit in your lounge chairs, as a result this can cause indentations in your laminate flooring, and can even cause the break up of the surface layers.
Plastic castors often found on office chairs come in many shapes and sizes, the composition of the plastic wheel (how hard it is) makes a dramatic difference to the affects it has on hard floor coverings. Often the plastic castors build up with grit particles found on every floor, these particles impress themselves into the plastic creating an abrasive castor wheel, this chair with use then becomes a mobile sanding machine and generally results in the failing of the laminate floors wearlayer. This is rarely a production fault and is a regular complaint from customers. This can be avoided if the correct advice is given.
Laminate floors are best protected against castors with castor cups, castor cups spread the weight of the furniture thus lowing the point load on the flooring however, it is very important to cover the bottom of the castor cup with a soft 2-3 mm felt backing as grit can still gather between the hard floor covering and the hard castor cup, installing 2-3 mm felt eases this problem.

Click Here for a link to Pergo's Cleaning Advice Page

Click Here for a link to Quick Steps Advice Page

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Copyright - John Chappell Technical Services © (JCTS) - Last updated on 20th August 2017 - Please note that we only deliver within the mainland UK area.