You’re a proud owner of a hardwood floor. It’s a beautiful installation — that natural wood makes your home feel cozy, and it looks phenomenal against the tile in your bathroom and below the granite countertops of your kitchen. You value your new floor just as much as that steam shower you installed last year (if not more so). So, how do you maintain the integrity of your floors? What precautions can you take to ensure that your hardwood remains pristine for decades on end?

These are questions that we encounter often here at First Quality Interiors, and today, we’re happy to have all the answers. Here’s our two cents on keeping your floors protected and looking their best for years to come:

Take Off Your Shoes

While you may be most comfortable with your shoes on in the house, it’s a good idea to remove them while you’re traversing your hardwood floors. Your shoes can pick up pebbles, tacks, nails, and other hard or sharp items as you walk about outdoors, and when you head inside, these objects can prove to be damaging as you walk across your hardwood surfaces. And unfortunately, you may not even notice that you’re causing damage to the surface of your wood, until it’s too late. Instead, make a good habit of removing your shoes, and stick to bare feet, socks, or slippers while you’re moving through your abode. You can even invest in a pair of shoes that are dedicated to moving around inside the house, if you’d like.

Utilize Furniture Foot Protectors

Your furniture is likely heavy, and it’s likely that its feet are rather sharp. If you have furniture resting on your hardwood floors, its best to use foot protectors and pads to keep your floors free from scratches. After all, you’ll constantly be moving the chairs around that dining table, and you’re going to need to move the dining table from time to time to clean your hardwood floors. Furniture pads are a smart and inexpensive investment, and they’ll save your floors from wear and tear.

Keep Your Animals’ Nails Trimmed

Do you have cats or dogs around the house? Well, it’s best to keep their nails trimmed, especially if your pets love to tear around corners as they play. Keep a keen eye on your pets’ nails, and give them a trim every couple of weeks to keep them relatively dull — which will prevent deep scratches which can mar the surface of your wood.

Take note! You shouldn’t trim your animals’ nails too close to their toes, or you could injure your pet.

“Child-Proof” Your Floors

While it’ll likely impossible to keep your kiddos off of your hardwood floors, it’s a good idea to remain mindful when they’re tromping around on your valued floors. With younger tykes, it’s probably best to keep them on a rug or on the carpet as they’re playing. Be wary of toys with sharp edges (which your child probably shouldn’t have at a young age, anyway), as well as toys that are made for rolling and dragging around (since your kiddo will probably spend hours streaking around the kitchen, which can lead to scuff marks and dings).

With older children, it’s a good idea to lay some “ground rules” (excuse the pun). Keep your kids from running around on your hardwood floors, and teach them to treat chairs and furniture gently if they’re moving items across the surface of your floor. Again, have your children take off their shoes in the house (or at least on your precious hardwood). Rollerblades, skateboards, and scooters are obviously a big no-no.

Regardless of your child’s age, be sure to tend to any spills that they create right away. Also, keep any wet towels, clothes, bathing suits — you name it — off of your cherished hardwood floors.

Tend to Stains Immediately

Speaking of spills, it’s best to clean up any spills that end up on your floor as soon as possible. While most spills will prove to be harmless, a spill can seep into the cracks between the boards of your hardwood and cause damage, and if your spill is left alone long enough, you could stain your floors or create an environment where mold will thrive — which can cause further damage.

For most spills, you can wipe them up with a cloth or paper towels, then utilize a mop and a hardwood floor cleaner to remove any leftover residue. If you happen to spill oil on your hardwood floors, you may need to use a detergent to clean up the leftover residue, after you soak up the majority of the spill. Use a bit diluted solution of soapy water (dish soap is usually fine) to break down the oil, and soak up the remaining liquid. Once the oil is gone, ensure that your floor is completely dry, and use a wood floor cleaner to protect the surface once again.

Maintain a Constant Home Temperature

Your floors are liable to warp if exposed to quick fluctuations in temperature. That said, most floors will handle moderate temperature swings well. Be wary of the temperatures in your house in the winter, when your home is more liable to swing from a comfortable 70 degrees to a chilling 30 degrees, should your furnace fail. If you’ll be away from your home for an extended amount of time, it’s a good idea to keep your home’s temperature somewhat moderated for the duration, to ensure that your floors don’t warp as temperatures rapidly fluctuate from day to night.

Be Mindful of UV Exposure

While it may prove impossible to keep your floors from UV exposure from the sun’s rays, you can keep your curtains drawn throughout the day when you’re away from the abode to minimize the impact of UV rays. Over time, UV rays will speed the deterioration of your hardwood floors, and they can cause discoloration. Fortunately, many modern wood floors are coated with a protective finish which counteracts the harm that UV rays would otherwise cause. Speak with your flooring installer about the coating of your hardwood floors, to learn if your floors have added protection.

Premier Hardwood Floors From First Quality Interiors

We hope you make the most of your hardwood floors with today’s tips. As always, we’re here to provide flooring installations — including, of course, hardwood floors. We’re Charlotte’s local flooring company, and we’re proud to provide a number of flooring solutions for our neighbors in the area. If you’re interested in upgrading your home with a new floor, we’re the crew to call. Learn more about our flooring product options, or schedule a free measurement for your upcoming flooring project.