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It’s little wonder that hardwood floors have been used in our homes for centuries. Wood floors are natural, durable and timeless, and with proper care, they can last for generations. Unfortunately, we can also be our floors’ worst enemies, causing damage in ways we don’t even realize. In no particular order, let’s take a look at eight common ways you may be ruining your wood floors.

1. Untrimmed Pet Nails

We love our pets probably more than we love our floors—but that doesn’t mean we want to choose one or the other. When you let your dog’s nails get too long, they can easily start leaving scratch marks on the floor. Freshly clipped nails can be even worse because they are sometimes sharper than long nails. Be sure to have your pet’s nails trimmed and buffed regularly, or don’t be surprised to see scratched paths along high-traffic areas of the floor.

2. High Heels

They may be stylish, even sexy, but high-heeled shoes can be murder on wood floors. It’s not that you’re too heavy—it’s that high heels don’t distribute body weight evenly the way flat shoes do. When your body weight is concentrated into a tiny heel or stiletto, it’s as if the weight gets multiplied, and you can easily leave the floor with unwanted dents and impressions.

3. Unpadded Furniture Legs  

Generally speaking, exposed furniture feet and wood don’t get on well together. If you move a table or shift your chair to get out it, that motion enough may be enough to leave a scratch—and sitting in a chair with narrow legs can have the same effect as high heels. It’s definitely a good investment to spend a few dollars on some adhesive felt pads for your at the local hardware store.

4. Not Using a Welcome Mat

Sometimes the danger isn’t what’s in your home—it’s what is not outside it. The absence of a welcome mat outside your door means anyone who comes into your home is tracking dirt, sand and grit on the bottom of their shoes—which pretty much acts like sandpaper on wood floors.

5. Not Sweeping Regularly

When dust and grit accumulate on wood floors, all it takes is someone walking across the room to cause scratches and scuffs. Using a broom with gentle bristles once a week or so will help keep this from happening. (It’s the simple things.)

6. Using a Vacuum Beater Brush

We know—when you’re using an upright vacuum on your carpets, it’s much easier just to let it keep running and vacuum the hardwood floors, too. But the beater brush that lifts dirt from your carpets has coarse bristles that can easily scratch your wood floors. Take a few extra seconds to switch to the right attachment for your vacuum cleaner, or just use a broom, as mentioned earlier.

7. Using a Mop or Steam

You can mop tile, stone or linoleum; you should never put a wet mop on wood floors—and that includes steam mops. Wood is porous and absorbs moisture, which can make the panels warp, separate and buckle. Just don’t do it.

8. Using the Wrong Cleaners

Some floor cleaners may seem safe for wood (some even recommended for it), but often these cleaners contain chemicals or acids that can damage either the protective sealant or the wood itself. For best results, Renaissance recommends using Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner on hardwood floors.

At Renaissance Hardwood Flooring, wood floors are our passion, which is why we go to great lengths to inform our customers about the best ways to protect them. If your floors have sustained damage from scratches, moisture or other issues, we can help. Give us a call at 918-298-4477.