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A quick guide to making your hardwood steps shine during spring cleaning

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Many homeowners don't carpet their staircases and instead choose to leave their hardwood exposed, letting the finish set the design aesthetic for the entire foyer. This look won't last forever, as scuff marks will develop on flights that get frequent foot traffic from residents of the household. This is why homeowners need to do all they can to maintain the look of their hardwood floors, especially on the steps in their home's entryway.

With spring finally upon us and many people undertaking significant cleaning projects, the main staircase should be high on the checklist of areas to focus cleansing efforts. If you have hardwood treads and risers, start off by determining what kind of finish your wood was treated with.

Surface-sealed floors that featured a polyurethane or polyacrylic finish are the most common, as well as the easiest to clean. You simply need to sweep, mop and allow to dry. Begin at the starting step and work your way up the stairs - this way you are less likely to slip on a wet tread or put a dirty shoe on a cleaned area.

Penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors are also extremely common types of flooring that need a little more attention than surface-sealed designs. These are the kind of floors that need to be waxed to maintain their sheen and allure, as well to remove scuffs. 

Lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors generally get the same treatment as surface-sealed hardwoods, although they are significantly less water-resistant. This means that if you fail to wipe up water fast enough, you may stain the floor, so you have to be especially careful about pampering these surfaces.


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