There are some simply and easy things you can do to prolong the looks of your hardwood floors and extend the time between refinishing.
How to prevent dogs from scratching your floor:
Dogs are very hard on floors of any kind. To reduce the damage done to hardwood flooring by dogs, first keep their nails trimmed. When a dog’s nails are kept trimmed they are blunt rather than sharp and pointy, thus minimizing the deep scratches a bit. There is also a new product on the market that is called Soft Claws, or soft nail covering for dogs that will help tremendously to prolong the life of your flooring. Soft Claws are just clear, soft plastic covers that slip over your dog’s claws.
How to prevent scratches on hardwood flooring and other flooring:
Another easy way to protect your floors is to put felt protectors on the bottom of all of your furniture to prevent scratching. Just by getting up and sitting down on furniture, you are causing it to move a slight bit which causes wear and scratches on your flooring. To protect tile, laminate and hardwood flooring, most hardware stores – such as Home Depot and Lowe’s – now carry felt floor protectors that come in various sizes and shapes and are self-adhesive, so all you have to do is cut them to the size you need or buy the size you need and stick them to the bottom of all your chair legs, coffee tables, lamps, couches, etc.
How to prevent fade spots or discoloration on hardwood flooring:
Many people like to put throw rugs, or area rugs, down in various high traffic areas of their homes. Area rugs add a certain charm and coziness to rooms that have cold surfaced made of tile or hardwood, however, keep in mind, anything you cover your hardwood flooring with will leave a “fade area” over time, or an area where the rest of the floor has faded by the sun but the area where the rug was did not fade, thus leaving a very noticeable spot in the floor of a different color than the rest of the floor. For this reason, I do not recommend using area rungs on hardwood flooring even if you intend to keep them in the same spot for the rest of your life. If you ever sell the house and remove your furniture, you will see ever spot where the rugs were. Sorry. But that is a fact of hardwood flooring.
If you have a room that does not get much direct sunlight, you may be able to use area rugs. A bedroom or small room that does not have many windows will work. However, even ambient light from any window can cause a discoloration on hardwood flooring over enough time. Just something to consider.
Be careful with plants and humidifiers:
I recently walked into a house with oak floors and you could see every place where the renters had placed plants directly on the floor. Most people think if the pot does not leak on the floor they are okay, but they don’t know that just the water inside the pot causes condensation and will leave a white area or ring on hardwood flooring and some tiles such as slate. This also goes for humidifiers that sit directly on the floor. Basically any receptacle that holds any amount of water will leave a white condensation ring on wood. This is why people use coasters on their wood tables: because even a glass of water or any beverage will leave a ring.
If a humidifier is not in direct contact with the flooring, such as it is on wheels, or a legs, or a stand, it will be fine. Put all potted plants on those wooden or plastic plant caddies you see around stores that sell plants. Just putting a cloth under the pot will not always help. The condensation will go right through the cloth and still ruin the floor. There must be adequate air ventilation between your hardwood floor and any container that holds liquid.