How to Protect Wood Floors
This Old House's top tips for keeping your floors looking like new
1. Stop dirt at the door. Grit stuck to the bottom of shoes is a finish-killer. To keep from tracking it in, place doormats at entries and tell people to take off their shoes. Ban high heels and soccer cleats; they can dent floors.
2. Prevent scratches. Put felt pads on the bottom of furniture legs. Clip dogs' toenails.
3. Keep it clean. Vacuum regularly. Follow up by mopping with a moist microfiber pad. Wipe up spills promptly to prevent water from warping boards or damaging the finish.
4. Renew the finish. Brighten a dull surface with a light sanding and fresh coats of polyurethane. Do this "screen-and-poly" every few years—consider setting up a maintenance plan with a flooring pro—and you may never need to refinish.
5. Beware of buildup. Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, vinegar, wax, polish, or oil soaps, any of which can dull or etch a top coat and cause refinishing problems down the road. Not sure what's in your cleaner? Do this test: Spray it on a window and let it dry. If it leaves a residue or an oily film, toss it.