Hardwood floors are more popular than ever before. And there are all different types of wood floors. Let’s go over some basic advice to keep them looking good, no matter what type you have.

Keep them clean to avoid a lot of the problems. Use a broom, dry mop or even a vacuum (or all of the above) to clean them daily, if you can.

Cover high-traffic areas with rugs or runners. Place “Welcome” mats at house entrances. Keep high heels and other hard-soled shoes off, if you can.

Light scratches can be touched up with a little oily floor polish and a light buffing with a microfiber cloth.

If the scratches are a little deeper, then you can lightly rub them with a steel wool pad. Touch up any discoloration with a dab of matching stain.

Small dents might be repaired by putting a few drops of water on the dent and then using a hair dryer to heat the area, allowing the water to penetrate and cause the wood to swell back into shape.

More serious damage might require replacing a plank or two. Depending upon what type of flooring you have and how it was installed, this might be easier than you think. If you have extra pieces from the original installation, you’ll be able to see how it was installed originally. If you can use a circular saw to cut down the middle of the damaged piece, you can pry it out. Once it’s out, you can see how the new piece needs to be installed if you don’t already know. Cut your replacement piece to fit. If it is tongue-and-groove, you’ll have to cut off the bottom part of the “grooved” edge and slide it into place.

Another option for severe damage probably will require sanding the whole floor, applying new stain and a protective covering of polyurethane. Do some homework to learn how to use a rented floor sander before trying this, or hire a professional to do this. Vacuum thoroughly after sanding. Apply a floor stain and polyurethane. It is possible to buy a total finish and do it in one step.

If you do preventive work and maintenance as soon as you spot a problem, then you can hold off on major work.


Q: I’m seeing a lot of ice buildup in my freezer. It’s supposed to be frost-free. What can I do to fix this irritating problem? – H.G.

A: This can be caused by several things. The first thing to check is the seal around the door. Clean it and rub it down with a thin coating of petroleum jelly. If the seal looks sound, then it might be the automatic defroster. Check your owner’s manual to find the location and test it. If it doesn’t appear to be working, most are easy to replace. A good source for all appliance information and parts is, one of our favorite online shops.


Q: Our house is part cedar siding and part brick. We had some roof work done last week, and the roofer said we ought to use a sealer on our siding to protect it from rot. He mentioned a brand name, but I can’t find it. Is this really something I should do and if so, what should I shop for? – T.B.

A: If your siding is not sealed with a water seal or stain, then, yes, you should do so. Penetrating stain will change the look of the wood and is labor-intensive, but will last longer. Plain water seal won’t affect the color of the wood, but will be much easier to apply and will need to be applied annually.


With Rust-Oleum Specialty Frosted Glass Spray paint, you can create a semi-transparent faux etching on glass and mirrors that looks just like the real thing. It’s quick and easy and a lot more versatile than real acid etching materials. Use it to decorate or to add privacy to your windows and doors, free-hand or with a stencil. Find out more at or at your paint, hardware or hobby store.

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