Know the rules about using waxes and restorers
iStock/akurtz You can rejuvenate a wax finish with more wax. But never use wax on a surface finish such as shellac, varnish, or polyurethane. It not only makes the floor far too slippery, it also interferes with subsequent finishes. If the finish is polyurethane, use a polish made for polyurethane. If it’s another type of surface finish, get a general-purpose floor restorer; test the restorer on an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t peel off.
Use an extra-long “walk-off ” doormat
iStock/courtneyk Ideally, people should always remove their shoes when they come inside. This way, dirt, water, and salt and ice won’t be trekked onto the wood floors. But, since shoes don’t always get removed, doormats, inside and out, earn their keep and then some. While vacuuming and spot cleaning they are great, and keeping the dirt out in the first place is even better. Get a 4- to 6-foot-long “walk-off ” mat for the front door. The longer the mat leading up to the door, the more people will rub dirt and moisture off their shoes as they walk in, even if they don’t stop to wipe them.
Protect high-traffic zones with area rugs
iStock/irina88w Walking across an area several times a day eventually wears down a wood floor’s finish. Nice-looking throw rugs are the easiest way to reduce the wear. But make sure they don’t have a backing. Vinyl or rubber backing traps humidity, which can ruin your floor’s finish and stain or damage the wood. To find the perfect area rug, make sure you first know these tricks that interior decorators would never tell you for free.