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When I was a kid, carpet was all the rage. Everybody had wall to wall carpet in their homes.  However, keeping it clean was no easy task. Today, of course (and for some time now), hardwood floors are the way to go- and it’s no wonder why; they are both easy to clean and look great.

The only drawback to hardwood floors is that they can get scratched, taking away from the natural beauty of the wood. Here, however, are some great ways to avoid scratching your floors that will ensure that they maintain that beautiful luster for many years to come.

It’s best to sweep or vacuum your floors daily. Any type of dirt or abrasive material will cause small scratches on the surface that are visible. Placing mats at all entrances will help to reduce the amount of dirt or sand that ends up on the floor.

Mats on the inside of the home will also protect your precious floors from spills, dropped food, detergents and cleaning chemicals. Good locations might include by the dishwasher, washing machine, utility tub, shower, and so on. Be sure to NOT use any types of mats that have a thick backing, including rubber. Lack of airflow can actually trap sand or dirt that will scratch the surface every time you step on the mat.

Glue felt to the bottom of furniture (such as chairs, tables, or couches) to prevent scratches. This will also make it very easy to move the furniture for cleaning or other purposes. If you have any furniture with plastic casters (office chairs, little mobile desks or rolling carts) it’s best to replace them with rubber casters to avoid more scratches.

If you need to move a heavy piece of furniture a good trick is to turn a mat upside down and place a smaller piece of plywood over top of it to slide the furniture on. This will not only save you from hurting your back but it will prevent both scratches and deep gouges in the floor.

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Did you know that high humidity levels can severely damage wood floors? Not only does wood with high moisture content soften, but it can actually move and become misaligned. Over time wood rot can occur, meaning the end of any wooden item. On very humid days it is best to keep your AC on. Humidity levels below 50% are best for all hardwoods.

This is one that everybody forgets; intense sunlight can cause wood to actually change color. I have seen homes where there was a dramatic difference directly in front of the big living room window or sliding glass door when compared to the rest of the floor. I’m not saying that you can never open the shades on a bright sunny day, but don’t overdo it.  Tinted windows with UV protection are an excellent way to protect expensive hardwood floors too.

Finally, here are the things that you should NEVER do:

Don’t pour any type of cleaner directly onto the floor. This could damage the finish.Never wear high heels on hardwood surfaces. Never use household cleaners, wax or any oil based product on the floor. Don’t allow spilled liquids to remain on the floor. This can damage the finish. This includes using a water soaked mop to clean with. Water is a natural enemy of wood. A damp mop will do the job just fine.