Dirt and grit will accelerate the aging process of your floor. Sweep, dust and vacuum floors regularly. Promptly wipe up spills with a dry cloth. For sticky spills use a slightly damp cloth. High traffic areas such as (kitchen, foyer, entryway) should be cleaned twice as often. Never use tile or vinyl floor products on wood floors. Never clean your wood floor with products such as soap, detergents or oil soap. Make sure the cleaner is formulated for wood floors, to maintain the beauty of your hardwood floor without leaving a soap film residue. Never wax a wood floor that has a polyurethane finish. Waxing a polyurethane finish will remove the option of adding extra coats in the future. New polyurethane will not adhere to a waxed floor.
Beware, house plants that have been placed on the floor pose the risk of over flowing when watered. The resulting damage can be difficult and expensive to repair.
No finish is totally resistant to scratching. Hardwood floors will dent if something has been dropped on them. High heels will leave compression marks which can only be removed by sanding and refinishing. Pets can and will scratch the floor. Keep pet nails trimmed regularly to avoid excessive scratches and gouges. The pads of your pets paws are like sand paper and over time will scratch your floor.
Gaps, shrinkage and cracks are the most common complaints with wood floors. Gaps tend to come and go with the changing of seasons. The cracks you have in the winter will usually close together in the summer. Solid wood flooring is a natural product so it expands and contracts with moisture and humidity changes.
Furniture should be picked up, not slid across wood floors. Fabric or felt protectors are a must for furniture legs. This will help prevent scratching and dents to the floor. These items are readily available at most hardware stores. Do not use area rugs for two to three weeks after floor has been finished. Place walk-off mats outside the entrances to your home. Walk-off mats will help keep dirt and grit off of your wood floor.
While most finishes are very durable there will be a time to recoat your wood floor. A hardwood floor should be recoated when the original finish is showing signs of wear, but before it has worn to bare wood.