So you’re all moved in.  The moving truck has pulled away, everything is out of storage, and the boxes are unpacked.  Next stop: home improvements and everyday house maintenance.

There’s no better addition to your family home than a new hardwood floor. Whether you’ve just bought a new house and it comes with a brand new hardwood floor, or you’ve just had a new floor fitted in your house, there is no better way to give your home a stunning and contemporary makeover. However, once you’ve gone through all the trouble and expense of having a new floor fitted you should take certain steps to make sure it stays clean and crisp looking and free from any damage.

Firstly, protect certain areas of the floor from getting scratched by strategically using rugs and runners in what you would call ‘high traffic areas. That means areas such as hallways and walkways and in front of all doors that lead outside. The best things to buy are long runners, which are rugs designed especially for hallways and walkways. They are normally brightly colored to set off the wood and are normally made to be hardwearing and durable.

In addition, area rugs are also useful anywhere there will be furniture of any kind in contact with the floor. Rather than allowing furniture to scratch the floor, simply use rugs or floor mats under tables and chairs, as well as special floor pads on chairs and table legs to prevent scratching of the floor by the movement of the furniture. Another tip is to place a shoe rack inside the entrance to your home. If you get people to remove their shoes when visiting you can prevent pebbles and other debris from being brought into the house and scratching up the floor.

Secondly, avoid letting the floor get too much sun. Just like your own skin, the excess sun can cause serious discoloration with hardwood flooring, irrespective of the stain or finish it starts out with. A few hardwoods will turn a lighter shade when exposed to sunlight whilst others, such as cherry or oak, will go darker. If possible, try to ensure that curtains protect the floor as often as possible. In addition, it is possible to slow down any discoloration by applying a water-based urethane finish (avoid oil-based products as they may cause some yellowing when exposed to the sun.)

Thirdly, always keep the floor dry. This is the golden rule of any hardwood flooring as water, or indeed any liquid can cause real damage to the floor. Always clear any spillages immediately by wiping them away before any liquid has a chance to seep under the surface of the floor. Once the water has got underneath the floor there is a real chance of the wood cracking, staining, or warping so prevention is the key. When you buy the floor new it may not be completely sealed so take the time to add a coat of finishing to seal off any gaps or areas that are exposed. Also, never, ever use a wet brush or mop to clean the floor. At the most, it should be only very slightly damp. Lastly, make use of rugs and carpets in areas where there is a real possibility of splashes and spills, such as in bathrooms or kitchens.

Finally, polish the floor from time to time with a good quality wax that will not only prevent scratching but also keep moisture out.