Hardwood floors are beautiful things and an amazing homeowners upgrade, but it is all too easy to damage them if you are not careful. Fortunately, it is also possible to prevent that damage by taking just a few steps to protect the floor. It doesn't take much effort, and it can prevent a lot of trouble down the line, so everyone should try to keep these techniques in mind.
Most wear and tear on hardwood floors comes from dirt and debris grinding into it. Spilled liquids can also do damage, as can abrasion from people dragging rough, heavy items over it.
It is essential to put a rug near the entrance to the room so that people have a chance to wipe or remove their shoes before they get on the wood. A few small rugs placed over high-traffic areas of the floor will also help to protect them.
Additionally, Home and Timber explains that in a wooden-floored dining room, scratches can be prevented by placing a rug under the table or by putting felt pads under the table and chair legs. It can also be wise to put felt pads under other pieces of heavy furniture, just in case they get shoved.
Smart homeowners take the time to find the right type of rug. Aesthetics are always a factor, but the material can also have an impact on how well it protects the floor. Abrasive rug pads can do just as much damage as dirt or debris, so it is best to get something smooth that will be gentle on the floor. Pads made from rubber or similar synthetic materials are usually the best bet but felt can also work well.
Regular cleaning is also vital for keeping a hardwood floor pristine because dirt and grit can be so damaging. DIY Network explains how cleaning the floor requires specific techniques to avoid causing any damage, but proper cleaning will do a lot to preserve the floor's appearance.
Start by cleaning dirt and other loose particles off of the floor with a dust mop or a gentle vacuum cleaner. Be sure to avoid beater bars, since they can scratch the wood. Most people will need to do this step every week or so. People with pets or particularly busy homes may need to do it more often.
You may also need to do an occasional wet cleaning. Use a dedicated wood cleaner to get the best results. Be sure to use as little moisture as possible when you clean the floor by ringing out the mop. It should be damp without dripping. Excess water can do a lot of damage, so getting this step right is vital.
Prevent Pet Problems
Pets are famously hard on hardwood floors, but you can have both. Cleaning up their messes, including any dirt that they bring into the building, is vital. Keeping litter boxes in rooms without hardwood flooring can help to reduce the workload.
You can also take some steps to prevent them from scratching the wood. Canine claws are always extended, so they can do a lot of damage. Nail caps are one option, but many animals chew them off fairly quickly. Keeping the claws short can reduce the damage, but not eliminate it entirely. One of the best methods is to put rugs over any areas that the animals tend to travel. That will make sure that their claws do not touch the wood without inconveniencing the animals or causing them any discomfort. Most pets are creatures of habit, so a little bit of observation will tell you which areas need coverage and which can be left bare.
Many homeowners ask that people take off their shoes before stepping onto a hardwood floor, and that is a good policy for protecting them. Shoes naturally accumulate dirt, sand, and small stones when people walk around outside. Wearing those shoes on the hardwood floor grinds all of that debris into it, which wears the wood away.
High heels add another risk. The heel naturally focuses most of the wearer's weight into a relatively small area, which puts a lot of strain on the floor. Wide heels are safer than narrow ones, but all of them risk putting dents or even holes in the wood.
People who want some protection for their feet can wear soft slippers to avoid damaging the wood. Some homeowners get good results by keeping a couple of spare pairs for guests to make sure that they can be comfortable while still keeping their shoes off.
Keeping Floors Pristine
The trick to ensuring that hardwood floors stay in good shape for years is preventing damage in the first place. All you need to do is apply a few basic techniques to keep them clean and avoid too much wear and tear. If you do that, you can be confident that they will last as long as possible.
Not only should you keep your floors in good condition, you should make sure your whole home is protected in the case of a disaster. If you need homeowner’s insurance, check out our policies here.
Home and Timber | Should You Add a Rug Under Your Dining Room Table?
Hunker | Area Rugs That Are Appropriate to Use With Hardwood Floors
DIY Network | How to Clean Hardwood Floors
SF Gate | How to Protect Hardwood Floors From Dogs