Hardwood floors are incredibly sturdy and durable, and with proper care and regular maintenance, they can last a lifetime. But certain things can significantly impact the lifespan of hardwood floors, from water damage, spills and stains, temperature shifts, heavy traffic, high heels, toys, pets and last but not least, small children. Of course, you want the entire family to enjoy the warmth and elegance of hardwood floors, but when it comes to pets and small kids, you need to take some extra steps to ensure that the floors are protected.
No shoes inside the house
First of all, it’s important to instill a no-shoes-inside rule when it comes to hardwood flooring, not just for children, but for the entire family, as well as guests. Have everyone entering your home to leave their outdoor shoes at the door, and only walk in their socks or slippers around the house. This is a no-brainer when it comes to hardwood flooring, because people can bring in a lot of dust, grime, dirt, debris, water, and other things from outside, and all of these things can scratch, stain, and damage the hardwood planks. Not to mention that you’ll have to constantly be cleaning the floors to eliminate dust and debris. So, have your children and the entire family wear socks around the house, for the sake of the hardwood floors and for their health.
Secure the furniture
Then, you’ll want to make sure that all of your furniture is also ‘wearing socks.’ By this, we mean placing protective fabric on the legs of all furniture, to protect the hardwood from potential scratches or discoloration. This is even more crucial when there are small children around the house, because they’re always on the move, running around, moving things, pushing furniture, so scratches are a real possibility. Making sure that all furniture is stable and won’t topple over, but that it also won’t scratch the hardwood floors when moved is critical when there are small children or pets in the household.
Place rugs and mats strategically
Furthermore, you’ll want to add an extra layer of protection for your hardwood floors with rugs, mats, and carpets placed strategically around the home. Place mats at every entryway, to make sure that grime and dirt is kept outside, place area rugs in high traffic areas or play areas, or add large carpets just to be safe. Children tend to crawl, fall, roll around, and they can hurt themselves, so having rugs around is a good idea regardless of whether you’ve got hardwood floors or not. Rugs and carpets will also protect the floors from spills, stains, and toys that might scratch or damage the surface of the wood. Just make sure you pick a soft rug and a quality rug mat to keep it in place, otherwise the rug itself can scratch the hardwood and be dangerous to small children.
Other useful tips
Other good tips to protecting hardwood flooring when you have small children in the house include regular cleaning and refinishing, using puppy mats if necessary during the potty training phase, and looking out for toys that can damage the floors. Last but not least, be sure to clear spills and stains as soon as they happen, if possible, to avoid long-term damage to the hardwood. Don’t leave food and snacks around where small children or pets can reach them, because crumbs and food bits can scratch the floor and attract bugs, as well, so that’s definitely something you will want to avoid.
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