How to Prevent Scratches and Dents on Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring is noted for its durability and when maintained well can last for decades. However, accumulating dents and scratches over the years is a common problem with wood, and while it does not render your floor unfit for use, it can be unsightly. The floor must then be sanded and refinished to repair surface damage. However, repeated sanding eventually makes floorboards too thin to use, necessitating their replacement. To increase your floor’s longevity, it is better to prevent scratches and dents in the first place which can be done by taking a few preventive measures.
Tips to Prevent Scratches and Dents
If your floor is already damaged, you will need to find ways to repair it. The following tips will prevent hardwood flooring from getting scratched in the first place.
- Avoid wearing shoes
This is a basic practice that can significantly impact floor quality. Wearing the same shoes indoors as outdoors brings in a lot of grit and debris that scratches and gets ground into flooring. If you make sure no one comes in wearing shoes, your floors will keep looking as good as new, particularly near the doorway.
Keep a shoe rack beside the door, or a bench for guests to sit on and a basket for them to put their shoes. As an additional precaution, use doormats outside the door. This will trap dirt and prevent water and mud from getting in.
Wearing high heels indoors can cause unsightly scratches, as can shoes with stiff or rubber soles that create friction against the floor.
- Train and groom your pets
Running pets can scratch hardwood floors. Training your pets and marking areas as “no-go” zones is the best way to prevent this trouble. Clipping their nails regularly will not only protect your floor but is also good for your pet’s health. Taking dogs out for regular walks files their claws naturally when they walk on pavement or a similar hard surface.
- Use superior quality topcoat
There are many different types of top coat available to make your hardwood floors more durable. The following are some popular topcoats to add during installation.
- Wax: This is the oldest method of protecting hardwood but requires frequent touch-ups and is the least durable option.
- Oil-based polyurethane: This is affordable and easy to apply but has a high Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content. Hence, it is advisable to wear a mask during application. This finish is durable and is a very common choice among homeowners looking for an affordable but quality finish.
- Water-based polyurethane: This is another popular choice with a lower VOC content. It also dries quickly but is comparatively less effective and durable than an oil-based variant.
- Aluminum oxide: When you want the toughest finish for your hardwood floor, this is the best choice. However, it is for new and pre-finished floorboards only and cannot be refinished if damaged. Replacement is the only viable choice in that case.
- Moisture-cured urethane: This must be professionally installed and is comparatively less durable than aluminum oxide but is one of the tougher finishes available.
- Use felt pads under heavy furniture
These self-adhesive felt pads are pressed under furniture legs, preventing scratches that occur when you pull or push any heavy furniture on hardwood flooring. They are affordable and easily found at crafts stores but tend to fall off with use so must be replaced frequently, especially when moving furniture around.
- Have a regular maintenance routine
Cleaning floors thoroughly and regularly ensures the removal of dirt, grit and other elements that cause damage, including scratches and dents. Here are a few things you can do to maintain hardwood flooring:
- Sweep and vacuum frequently
- Use floor mats and area rugs to create a barrier against microscopic debris that can get embedded into the wood
- Use a floor cleaner designed specifically for hardwood
When you take these preventive measures, you make sure that your hardwood flooring does not develop unsightly scratches that compel you to sand and refinish it sooner than necessary. You can also choose hardwood species that have more character and prominent graining to camouflage these marks and dents.