The following tips will help your preserve your wood floors for years to come.
1. Do not use sheet vinyl or tile floor care products on wood floors. Self-polishing acrylic waxes cause wood to become slippery and appear dull quickly.
2. Use throw rugs both inside and outside doorways to help prevent grit, dirt, and other debris from being tracked onto your wood floors. This will prevent scratching.
3. Do not wet-mop a wood floor. Standing water can dull the finish, damage the wood and leave a discoloring residue.
4. Wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
5. A surface finished floor should never be waxed. Also, take caution not to allow overspray onto your floor when using furniture polish. Over time, this can cloud the finish, as well as create adhesion problems if the floors are coated in the future.
6. Put soft plastic or fabric-faced glides under the legs of furniture to prevent scuffing and scratching.
7. Avoid walking on your wood floors with cleats, sports shoes, and high heels. A 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch. An exposed heel nail can exert up to 8,000 pounds per square inch. This kind of impact can dent any floor surface.
8. When moving heavy furniture, do not slide it on wood flooring. It is best to pick up the furniture completely to protect the wood flooring. Even with felt pads or a piece of rug underneath, the weight of some furniture can indent a wood floor if dragged.
9. For wood flooring in the kitchen, place an area rug in front of the kitchen sink.
10. Use a humidifier throughout the winter months to keep wood movement and shrinkage to a minimum.
11. Place doormats outside and rugs inside at every entrance of the house, to prevent sand or abrasive dust from accumulating on the floor.
12. Place a rug in front of the kitchen sink, kitchen working stations, and the dishwasher to protect the floor from dropped kitchen accessories and from water or oily detergent spills.
13. Use adequate floor protection (wood floor protector pads) under all furniture and chair legs, in order to ease their movements and to prevent scratching the floor.
14. In the case of prefinished floors, please consult the manufacturer, as many require specific cleaning products.
15. Never steam clean a floor. Peeling finish, whitening finish and cloudy finish are just some of the side effects being reported by people looking at floors after steam cleaning. In general, the oft-repeated industry saying "Water and wood don't mix" holds true.
16. All hard surfaces are photosensitive, meaning they are affected by ultra violet light sources. This is especially true with sunlight, which will cause the wood and finish to change color and develop a patina. To avoid uneven appearance, move area rugs occasionally and be sure to drape or shade large windows.
17. If you'll be painting after floor refinishing, allow the floor to cure for a couple of days before you cover it, unless you use Ram Board (in which case the floor can be covered the very next day). Whatever you cover the floor with, make sure you overlap the paper and only tape paper to paper - never paper to floor. Painters tape is made for paint but not for floor finish and it can peel the finish up.