Protecting new wooden floors doesn’t have to be a pain; use these three easy tips to stay ahead of the game. Whether the new floors find themselves in the living room, bedroom, or office, they’ll likely need some tender love and care to keep looking as good as they do on day one.
Getting the hardwood floors we’ve always wanted can feel like a major accomplishment. Then again, once those gleaming white oak floors are finally down, a new question is likely to arise: How do you protect new hardwood flooring?
Regardless of if the new floors are hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring, wood tile flooring, or just refinished, most of the basic tenets of wood flooring protection are the same:
- Protect it from spills and scratches
- Clean and finish to manufacturer specification
- Provide protective barriers where needed
Learning how to protect your hardwood floors can be done with relative ease. A few quick pointers will certainly do the trick in protecting those new wooden (or newly finished) floors from nicks, scuffs, dings, and even the occasional, “oh, dang.”
To Protect New Wooden Floors...
1. Lay Down the Ground Rules at the Front Door
Before a guest even steps foot on your wooden floors, let the boundaries be known: no shoes, please.
Kindly ask visitors to remove footwear before entering to avoid any scuffs or scrapes left behind by sneakers, heels, or winter boots (not to mention the salt during the snowier months!). One pro tip is to offer visitors something that will be a little gentler on your new wooden floors, like soft slippers or fun flip-flops.
This process can be made a lot more comfortable (and low-key) by keeping a decorative mat by your door. Additionally, asking people to remove their shoes nicely will win more points than demanding it without context.
This is an area where many people have fun expressing their personal style. The traditional welcome mat is a one-size-fits-all move that will give people a place to wipe their feet before entering. Others prefer black all-weather floor mats, while some like to add pizzaz with patterns or warm greetings.
On top of that, a few rugs in high-traffic areas can protect the floors, especially as guests make their way through tight spaces like halls or foyers where dust and debris are likely to collect. Again, style is key. The right look will bring out the beauty of (and protect) the hardwood floors, not hide them.
Finally, especially if the visitors in your home are spill-prone, it is crucial to keep an eye out for drips and drops. Cleaning spills promptly will save a lot of headaches later on.
By creating a space where your new hardwood floors will be respected, you will make the process of keeping them damage-free much easier.
2. Make Small Adjustments to Your Lifestyle for Your Floor’s Sake
Before the new hardwood floors, you might not have thought twice about letting a few too many days go by in between a good sweeping; now that the new hardwood is in, though, it’s time to rethink not only the cleaning schedule but also about how you go about your entire routine.
Take, for instance, your furniture – with carpeting or tile, it is easy to forget to move the furniture and sweep underneath it. Felt furniture pads are highly advised to protect your hardwood floors when you move the couch while cleaning, preventing heavy furniture from gouging the floor while in transit.
For the vacuum-lovers out there, it’s important to remember that while the vacuum itself is not likely to harm the floors, the wrong attachment might. Use the hardwood floor adapter with a gentle brush to ensure there are no accidental bumps or bruises.
Once the hardwood floors are clean, they will need to be finished appropriately. Whereas it's advisable to leave this to a professional who can keep the floors looking new for decades to come, the DIY route also has its benefits. Just don’t use vinegar, ammonia, or any other damaging solution.
Lastly, consider using a surface finish to cut back on long-term maintenance obligations.
The surface finish will protect the floor by shielding it from the occasional splash or light scratch. Keep in mind that some floors may be better suited to wax finishes (less durable) or acrylic finishes (more durable). Some need none at all – follow the directions that come with your flooring for best results.
Note that for serious problems like dried urine stains from pets, uneven surfaces, or water damage marks, the best bet is to call in a hardwood flooring professional.
Though such situations aren’t likely to happen soon after wood floors are installed, if they do, having the right team on speed dial can provide a great deal of relief.
3. Consider Serious Wood Floor Protectors like Rug Stoppers and Glass Chair Mats
Floor professionals will generally advise owners of new hardwood floors to invest in tasteful floor coverings that protect the flooring. This may include welcome mats for wet boots, rugs in high traffic areas (with rug pads), or Glass Chair Mats under a rolling chair at a desk or in an office space.
As mentioned, a welcome mat at the front door does wonders to protect wood floors by encouraging guests to remove the shoes that might bring in the elements of nature trailing behind. A well-placed mat at least ensures shoes are wiped to remove water and debris as the guests filter into the space.
To protect wooden floors, it is worth noting that throwing a rug down is not enough. A nice tapestry may cover the floor and enhance the room, but protection only occurs if it has the necessary support to not slip and slide under the shuffling of passersby’s feet. Enter the rug pad.
Experts warn that hardwood floor owners should look for rug pads that feel a bit stickier, not those that are smooth. This might sound counterintuitive at first; sticky seems like it would be bad for wooden floors. The opposite is true; the silky rug pads grind trapped sand into the wood, harming the floors.
Wooden floors find themselves not only in homes but also in schools and office spaces. In all of these spaces, a rolling chair at a desk could cause a lot of harm to new or recently finished wood floors. The wheels on most chairs are a hard plastic meant to roll on thick carpet, not fine hardwood.
In other words, the scraping of the plastic against the hardwood will do a lot of damage, especially over time. The slow deterioration of the floor can even cause the problem to go unnoticed until so severe that the entire room must be refinished to restore the floor to its former glory.
The problem generally begins with light scratches that many will write off as normal wear and tear. As time goes on, however, the grooves sink in, and the finish comes off, leaving behind completely raw and scratched wood.
Some may try to curtail the office chair damage with a plastic chair mat, only to realize that it did more damage to the floor. Why should you never use a plastic chair mat on hardwood floors? Plastic chair mats will shift and slide under the movements of an office chair, creating a sandpaper-like effect by grinding any dirt and debris into the floor. What is the best chair mat for hardwood floors? Glass Chair Mats are recommended because the glass surface never touches the floor.
Damage to flooring from a plastic chair mat - provided by a Vitrazza Customer
Plastic floor mats under rolling desk chairs do not stand the test of time, becoming yellow, dented, and cracked fairly rapidly, ruining the appeal of the hardwood floor hidden below them. Glass Chair Mats, on the other hand, do not suffer the same fate.
Made of durable glass and cut to size, these hardwood floor protectors float on the wooden floor, providing a well-defined, attractive barrier for superior protection. And because they’re made of glass, they also allow the allure of the floor to shine through!
Glass Chair Mats by Vitrazza bring out the elegance of hardwood floors by offering protection that will last for years.
A welcome mat at the front door and asking guests to mind their manners, felt pads under heavy furniture, keeping up after dust, children, and pets, finding the right rug pad, and investing in a Glass Chair Mat for underneath the rolling desk chair is a quick to-do list for someone who loves their new wooden floors.
Protecting wood floors may seem daunting at first, but these how-to tricks make it simple.
Learn more about the benefits of a Vitrazza Glass Chair Mat.