Protecting Hardwood Floors

Roughly half of all homes have hardwood flooring, and industry professionals suspect more and more homeowners are looking to hardwood flooring for their homes.

When surveyed, 90 percent of real estate agents have said that hardwood flooring is a desirable feature in a home. Those agents also say property with hardwood flooring sells faster than one with carpeting or another flooring option.

With hardwood flooring so prevalent in homes, protecting those beautiful wood floors is a major priority for homeowners. Caring for hardwood floors only takes some common sense precautions and minimal maintenance. Today's hardwood floors are often produced with durable sealants that protect the wood underneath or are comprised of composite or reclaimed wood products. But that doesn't mean precautions should be taken to further protect against potential damage to the flooring.

* Place area rugs or mats at the doorways entering the home. This way sand, dirt and other debris can be wiped off at the entryway and not carried onto the wood flooring where it can cause abrasions over time.

* Pay careful attention to which types of shoes are worn on the floors. High heels or cleats can damage the wood. Removing shoes prior to walking on the floor is a safer bet.

* Choose the right type of cleaner for the floor. Do not assume just because a particular cleaner is adequate for wood cabinetry or furniture that it is also fine for wood flooring. Check the label.

* Use area rugs and carpet runners on areas of the floor that tend to be high-traffic areas. This will prevent these areas from being worn down unevenly from other areas of the floor.

* Do not allow water or other liquids to stand on the floor for a long duration. This can cause degradation of the wood and staining.

* Use felt or plastic protectors on the "feet" of dining room chairs or other furniture to prevent against scuffing or scratches.

Wood flooring can be an expensive addition to any home, but one that is sought after for its aesthetic appeal. To ensure a floor remains in good condition over the long haul, take action to protect hardwood floors as soon as possible.