How to Protect Your Beautiful Wood Floors

protect wood floors in a dining room

How do you protect those stunning wood floors? Fortunately, it’s not hard to care for wood floors, but there are some basic care and cleaning steps that keep those gorgeous floors looking like new.

The first step to protecting wood floors is understanding the causes of wood floor damage. While we all love our pets, dog and cats can damage floors with their nails or paws. However, pets are not entirely to blame for wood floor damage; wood floors can also be scratched by debris that is tracked in and spills or puddles that are not wiped up right away. Homeowners can also damage wood floors by moving heavy items.

Hot and humid weather is another common culprit. The high humidity of summer can cause wood floors to expand and swell. While it’s normal for wood floors to swell and shrink from changes in humidity, repeated exposure to high humidity can crack or cause cupping to the floor boards. Unfortunately, bright, direct sunlight can also fade floors. Fortunately, there are steps homeowners can take to protect their wood floors.

How to Protect Wood Floors

Pet Damage

Pets can damage wood floors with their nails, by puddles from pet accidents, and by tracking in gravel, water, and debris from outside. Fortunately, there are several ways homeowners can protect wood floors. One of the easiest ways to protect wood floors is to place rugs and mats by all exterior doors. When letting pets in, have them stop on the rug or mat and dry off their paws. This simple step allows homeowners to dry them off and remove debris before it gets tracked in. Homeowners can also trim pet nails to prevent scratching and promptly clean up all pet accidents.

Scratches

Humans are just as guilty as pets when it comes to scratching wood floors. In a busy household, wood floors can be scratched by tracking in gravel and water and moving heavy furniture. Rugs and mats by exterior doors is one solution; this simple step keeps gravel, water, and debris off the wood floors. Homeowners can also ask all family members and guest to take off their shoes before they come in.

Another way to protect wood floors is to add felt pads to all furniture. These inexpensive pads protect floors when furniture slides around. Cardboard can also be used during moving to protect wood floors.

Fading

Sunlight shows off the beauty of wood floors, but can also fade them over time—especially direct light. There are two ways to protect wood floors from fading. The most budget-friendly option is to install window treatments, such as shutters, blinds, curtains, or shades.

The second option is to opt for windows with low-e glass. Windows with low-e glass have a protective film that filter damaging rays out of your home, protecting the wood and finish of your floors. Homeowners can also purchase a protective film for their existing windows to filter out damaging rays from the sun.

Staining

Spills are a common occurrence, and a common cause of staining. Homeowners should keep rags and towels so spills can be promptly cleaned up. When mopping, homeowners need to be careful about leaving puddles, which can stain floors. If homeowners are concerned about the risk of water damage, they should ask a local flooring professional about waterproof hardwood floors.

Wood Floor Cleaning Tips

  • Sweep or vacuum regularly to remove debris from wood floors. Make sure that the vacuum is designed for wood floors so the floor is not scratched.
  • Never use a steam cleaner. The moisture can stain and damage wood flooring.
  • Use a non-abrasive cleaner and soft mop or broom to clean wood floors.
  • If mopping a wood floor, don’t leave standing water to avoid staining. Instead, use fans or a towel to avoid standing water.
  • Use a manufacturer-approved cleaner so the floor warranty is not voided. (Visit a local flooring store for manufacturer-approved products.)
  • Schedule an annual or bi-annual deep cleaning.