As nice as it would be to keep your floor flawless and looking like new, that just isn't a realistic option for anyone who actually plans on using their floor. Scratches, scuffs, and dents are inevitable for just about every kind of flooring you can get. A select few find these little imperfections endearing, but we think most people would agree that they tend to be more of an annoyance than anything.
The Perpetrators and Prevention
There are a number of things that can cause scratches in your floor. Some of the biggest offenders are furniture legs, pet nails, high heels, toys, anything heavy or hard that has been dropped on the floor, and just about everything that can be tracked in from outside.
Furniture Legs: Chairs, tables, sofas, dressers; these are immensely heavy objects that bear down on the wood or plastic "feet" that support them. Moving them at all almost guarantees a noticeable scratch. Homeowners looking to avoid these scratches should make their lives easier by attaching furniture pads to the bottoms of the legs. Not only will this prevent floor damage, but it will make moving your furniture a whole lot easier.
Pet Nails: Your pet's claws can absolutely destroy the finish on your floor. The problem only gets worse when your pets get excited and run around. While you can't completely avoid the problem, you can minimize it by clipping and filing your pet's nails regularly, placing nail guards or booties on your dog's feet, and choosing to coat your floor (if hardwood) in a wax finish that's easier to touch up.
Shoes: All shoes are a problem on floors, but high heels are the worst culprits. Like furniture legs, high heels have a lot of pressure going into one concentrated area that connects with the floor. The easiest solution for this problem? Instill a no-shoes-in-the-house policy in your home and enforce it!
Toys: We're not quite sure if toys are to blame so much as the children playing with them. Children often don't seem to be aware of how rough they using their playthings and can really bear down on them. Beyond that, it is unlikely that Little Jimmy is thinking about floor damage when he's scooting his favorite toy truck across your precious boards. This problem has an easy fix though. Simply get a "playtime rug" and set it up as the designated play place for all toys and games.
Dropped Objects: It would be fruitless for us to tell you to just stop dropping things. After all, we're just as clumsy as anyone else. Things will get dropped on your floor unless you're a super-human, so we suggest just taking extra care when carrying anything heavy around.
Grit: An awful lot of grit, dirt, sand, and fine shards of glass get tracked in from outside. Your shoes and feet are like magnets to these nuisances. This may not seem like a large problem outside of being pretty uncomfortable to walk on, but those tiny grains can cause big problems. Every time they slip between your foot and your floor they create a sandpaper effect, wearing down the floor's surface and producing scratches. The no-shoes-inside rule definitely helps to avoid this problem, but you can further your progress by having people wipe their feet and/or shoes on a welcome mat before they even enter the house.