While it is true that modern hardwood finishes are much more durable compared to the earlier ones, they are still not indestructible. Also, they cost a lot more, which is why you want to take the necessary steps in order to protect them. It is very important that they are cleaned and vacuumed regularly to keep them in top shape. This also keeps dirt, grit and dust at bay as their accumulation can easily damage your floors. To help extend the life of your floor, it is important to clean spills immediately.
The other thing you may want to consider is using area rugs or walk off mats. Apart from protecting the floor, these also add extra beauty to a home. Rugs are available in various styles, price ranges and colors. Thus, based on your taste and your home’s decor, you will realize that the choices are really endless.Many manufacturers of hardwood flooring advise using rugs at the front of doors. The purpose is to trap a large chunk of moisture and dirt from the shoes so that such don’t get to the floor and cause premature wearing off of the finish. I would also recommend that you use rugs in places that experience high traffic like in front of dishwashers, sinks and refrigerators. This way the floor is protected from wear and tear a well as from moisture that would result from drips and spills.
Keeping the rugs clean is also important. Once in a while, take the rugs out and give them a good shaking as this goes a long way to protect your floor. And for larger rugs especially in the dining or sitting rooms, make sure you clean up any spills as well as vacuum them regularly. Rugs tend to become quite slippery on hardwood flooring, which is why you need to have some kind of non-slip pad below the rug. You can purchase these on any home improvement or floor covering store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. They are available in a variety of sizes and can be cut easily to fit any rug size. They are also made using different materials but always avoid buying those made from plastic, foam or rubber. These tend to break down fast and may also leave behind sticky residues on the floor. Certain vinyl and wool rug products are available in the market and good enough to work better than rubber, foam or plastic rugs.
But area rugs are not without their own downsides. The biggest and the only one is that they could cause the wood to be discolored. The area that is beneath the rug keeps its original color with the uncovered parts will tend to fade from sunlight exposure. In Colorado where I live, the intensity of the sun is higher and this causes ore fading. You will not easily notice the fading until you look at the underneath of the rug where you will notice a line of the color change. It could be even more extreme and more so with certain wood species like Brazilian or American cherry. Among the things that you may do to prevent floor discoloration is to hold off for sometime before you put your rugs down. Majority of site finished floors (these are sanded and then finished in your home) require that you keep the rugs off for at least 30 days to allow for full curing of the finish. This problem is not normally seen with pre-finished floors as the finish is cured full before it can leave the factory.
Having proper window covering on the windows is another thing that can help with discoloration and this is more so with areas that experience direct sunlight exposure. You can prevent fading by simply keeping the shades closed at peak hours when the sun is most intense. Another thing is to have the windows tinted with UV resistant film. You can buy DIY kits or even call a professional to fit tint to your home windows. Lastly, also make a point of occasionally moving your area rugs around. This way, the fading will be more consistent and therefore less noticeable. In case you plan to be away from home for weeks, it might be better to totally remove the area rugs and allow the areas to get fresh air.
Since you have used a lot of money on your hardwood floor, it is only natural that you protect your outlay. With the above tips, your floor will remain in top shape for several years to come.