Hardwood floors have been a staple of quality home design for many years. Their durability and rich appearance make them a smart investment for almost any situation. Protecting that investment is easy and will ensure that you get the most out of your floors for years.
Hardwood floors provide a unique aesthetic in the home, making them highly popular with homeowners. The Wood Floor Doctor states that, “A properly maintained 3/4 inch by 2 inch strip floor will last 300 years,” which means that your hardwood flooring is a valuable investment, provided you care for it. Most hardwoods are resilient surfaces and can withstand a variety of abuses.
Exterior Door Mat
For overall protection from the elements, the World Floor Covering Association recommends exterior mats. The debris that adheres to shoes, the WFCA states, “act like sandpaper and will scratch your floor.” Many find this hard to believe, but remember that your floor is not a temporary rug; it is an investment that will remain in your home for decades. The accumulation of small abrasions will have a drastic effect on the look of hardwoods over time. An exterior mat made of material strong enough to “scrub” shoes before entering the home immediately prolongs the life of your floors. Additionally, regularly sweeping or vacuuming your hardwoods further reduces the presence of small particles capable of scratching the surface over time.
Furniture causes the majority of hardwood flooring scratches. Any piece of furniture resting directly on the wood surface represents a scratching hazard. However, this risk is easily managed in most cases. Felt pads are available at your local hardware store, and simply adhering them to your furniture at the contact points will keep your floors healthy and safe. Hardwoodinstaller.com points out that these felt pads tend to attract dirt, advising you to, “take a look at the bottom side of the protectors while rubbing off any grit that may have collected” when cleaning.
Area Rug Caution
Many people employ area rugs in various sizes for additional hardwood protection. While effective, rugs can pose certain risks to your hardwood floor. As Hardwoodinstaller.com mentions, “synthetic anti-slip or non-skid pads used under area rugs can cause an impression on hardwood floors over a period of time." Be cautious when selecting an area rug, and try to select products designed specifically for hardwood floors to avoid these risks. Furthermore, the WFCA warns that sunlight can fade your hardwoods, adding that, “Window treatments are recommended, as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.” Otherwise, you could end up with unsightly dark/light spots that force you to refinish the entire floor.
With a few protective measures, you can greatly extend the life of your hardwood floors. Communicate with the source of your hardwoods as well as your installer for specific recommendations based on the particular wood and finish. Avoid stiletto heels, keep pets' toenails neatly trimmed and try to keep children from any kind of play that is particularly rough on the floors.
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