Caring for hardwood floors

I posted this last night but I never saw it come through, and I didn't see any replies, so I think it was lost in space somewhere.
I just got hardwood floors installed in my living room, dining room and hall, and want to know the best floor pad material that protects the floor from chair, table and couch legs. Is it felt? I saw these cute "socks" that fit over the bottoms of dining room chair legs and table legs and bought them but haven't got them yet. I also have a treadmill sort of stuck in my living room because once it got put together it's too hard to move anywhere else. I found a mat that goes under exercise equipment and specifically says it protects hardwood floors.
My question is, is there any material made to protect hardwood that can actually hurt it over time?
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On 3/12/2011 10:12 PM, Cheryl wrote:

Not sure what is GOOD, other than maybe glides or cups with HDPE, teflon or something similarly slick and inert on the bottom. The traditional felt glides, if they get grit trapped in them, can actually act like sandpaper, just like area rugs and runners over hardwood do. I can tell you what else is bad- anything that can rust, like the typical hammer-on replacement glides. Not so much a problem for stuff that is always moving, but when cleaning up my grandmother's house to sell, there were rust circles under the spots where the sewing machine, desk, et al, had sat for years. And if you have house plants anywhere near the floor- make sure they sit in a big catch basin. Little dribbles that get under the usual dinky saucer, or go right through the old-style terra-cotta saucers, make the black water ring from hell. You can lighten them with bleach, but if they are deep, you will never totally hide them.
(Good example of why I always loved the Bruce prefinished stuff. That factory finish was so rock-hard that you could abuse the hell out of it for 20+ years before it would look visibly worn even in high-traffic areas. And in low-traffic areas like bedrooms, it would likely last longer than you did.)
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On 3/12/2011 11:10 PM, aemeijers wrote:

Thank you for the well thought out ideas. No plants, but have cats and they are used to a water bowl in the dining room, and that's now hardwood instead of carpet. I don't want to move what they're used to so the bowl is on a plastic pad and now is lined with a towel.
Keep em coming! The floor looks so amazing that I want it to stay this way.
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aemeijers wrote:

I agree the steel hammer-in glides ar problematic, but the Nylon ones should be okay.
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We have throw rugs under the furniture and in the areas people congregate.

Anything made of rubber (many plastics, too).
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Cheryl wrote:

We found one problem with many of the felt-type products is that they make it hard to keep your furniture in the same place, because they slide too easily. I went for many rides in my favorite rocking chair when I didn't really want to. My wife tried one of the rubberized mats used under area rugs and it worked well but didn't look too great. I ended up putting some rubber bands on the bottoms of the chairs, which seem to work well, but don't last too long.
Not even the best housecleaner can keep all grit off the floor, so I think any hard glider would cause some scratching. The furniture we have that has wheels or casters seems to have no problem, but if its something you sit on, it will move too easily.
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I would say the standard felt pads are pretty much your best bet. As has been noted, grit can become embedded in the felt making them highly abbrasive over time so do plan on replacing them from time to time. I'd also suggest buying a bulk pack on-line -- significant savings compared with the small retail packs you see in the stores.
As someone else mentioned, you much protect against water damage and wipe up minor spills immediately.
Keeping the floor clean (especially of grit and similar particles) is also important. We use a combination of:
* A small portable vacuum cleaner.
* A very fine bristled broom. A good one can clean a very large area surprisingly quickly. Sweep all the crud into one corner or spot and then suck it up with a Dustbuster or similar. It's so fast you can do this very frequently.
* For more thorough cleaning we use a microfiber mop with this cleaner which was recommended to me by a flooring guy I trust and which I have found to be quite excellent:
http://radcoat.com/procare2.html
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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On 3/13/2011 3:08 PM, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Thanks to all for the suggestions. I will try this product, too. I have a sweeper with microfiber pads that can be washed in the washing machine, and expect this is what I'll use most of all. I got some felt protectors and the furniture really doesn't seem to slide much. Very good for the dining room chairs that need to move easily to use.
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Cheryl wrote:

I recommend a ROOMBA for floor cleaning. Turn it loose every day.
You can get a ROOMBA fairly cheaply on Ebay. People find their machine starts acting wonky and decide to unload it on some unsuspecting fool (kinda like a used car). But what these people don't know is that the two most common symptoms can be fixed:
* Runs for a few minutes and quits - The owners correctly deduce the battery is kaput and a new one from ROOMBA is quite expensive. But you can get an OEM battery - also on Ebay - for about $35.
* Machine backs up, twirls, backs up, twirls, etc. Every evidence of having gone mad. - This one's easy! The precipice sensors (four of them) are dirty and the poor little machine thinks it's about to fall off a ledge! All you have to do is blow out the dirt with your air hose and all is well in the garden.
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