You just invested in brand-new hardwood floors. They’re perfect, but there are a host of threats that could leave them scratched, worn, and damaged within a few months. Everywhere you turn, there are hidden sources of hardwood floor damage, some more hidden and fast-acting than others. Check out these four threats and how you can fight them.

Your Shoes Bring in Stones and Sand from the Outside

Many floor experts compare walking straight from the outside onto hardwood floors to walking around your house wearing sandpaper. Your shoes collect dirt, sand, and small pebbles wherever you go, which can wear and scratch your hardwood floors once you’re inside. To prevent this, set up a mat at the front of your main entrances, which can collect the irritants off your guests’ shoes. Or, ask them to remove their shoes entirely when they arrive. This will also protect your floors from the damage of pointy high heels!

Keep Your Pet’s Claws Groomed

While videos of dogs sliding around on hardwood floors and struggling to gain traction are adorable, it’s not as amusing when your dog is doing it to your brand-new floors. Pet nails can quickly leave unsightly scratches all over the floor if they’re not kept at a reasonable length. Talk to your local groomer about nail care options for your pet so they can run around without destroying the house.

Humidity and Moisture Warps Wood

Moisture is the enemy of wood, and you could be putting your floors at risk by keeping a humid home. Many homeowners can’t help the humidity levels, as parts of the Deep South are known for their hot, sticky days and muggy nights. But, there are ways to reduce humidity levels that you create. Avoid long showers that push steam in your bedroom and hallway — especially if those rooms have hardwood — and use methods other than boiling and slow-cooking during summer months. You can’t control the weather, but you can reduce the amount of humidity you create in your home.

Place Runners and Rugs in High-Traffic Areas

Look for places around your home that see a lot of traffic throughout the day. The area by the sink is a great example: you’re going to stand there throughout the day and will probably end up splashing water and dropping food items on the floor. The path from the door to the den is another common highway that can get scuffed and worn quickly.

Consider placing runners in these areas to minimize damage, but make sure you choose the right liners. Opt for a rug pad that will keep your rug in place but won’t stick to the floor. If your rug moves around too much or gets glued into position, you could end up with more damage than if you left the floor bare.

With the right care, your hardwood floors can last for years and look amazing with each passing year. You just have to identify the potential sources of damage and find ways to minimize them.