For your floorboards, a 125-pound woman walking in high heels has an impact of 2,000 pounds per square inch.
That's the short reason why your wood floors eventually look like they've taken a beating—because they have. Big guys in cleats? Forget about it. They're little death rays to your maple.
If your floor's not polyurethaned, wax it occasionally. Poly or no poly, the best care you can give the floor is to dust it with a soft mop sprayed with a static dust attractor. But do it regularly; otherwise it's like flossing the night before the dentist.
Getting new floors? American white oak is top-of-the-line, since it's ultra-durable and not light sensitive.
For over 50 years, Janos P. Spitzer Flooring, 131 W. 24th [6th/7th] 212.627.1818, has been the go-to company for many buildings around the city and elsewhere, including the White House.
The most storied New Yorkers have been walking all over floors laid down by the venerable I. J. Peiser's Sons, 1891 Park [128th/129th] 212.348.7500, for over 100 years. There's also a showroom at 117 E. 60th. Call for an appointment.
Different story, of course, if you're renting. Maybe your landlord will refinish your wood floors, maybe not. So it's area rugs or consider Flor, 142 Wooster [Houston/Prince] 212.253.2164, where the carpet squares look good—and you can take them with you.
Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for more at Jason's site and his book Every Person in New York.