The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that hardwood floors are way more expensive than carpet, right? Consider this:
Let's say you live in your home for 20 years. You replace your carpet once or twice during that time and pay to have it cleaned several times. Then you go to sell your house. The carpet adds nothing to the overall appeal of the house to potential buyers. These factors combine to make carpet more expensive than you may have thought. Maybe hardwood isn't more expensive after all! You would probably never consider carpet to be a good investment, But hardwood is exactly that . . .
The simple combination of water and vinegar has been used to clean hardwood floors for many years. Often I hear "It's what my grandma used". Most would agree that it really does clean your floor. The more important question is whether it is good for your floor. Does it do any harm? . . .
One of the best things you can do for your hardwood floor and for your pocketbook is to have a maintenance coat applied. This will restore the look of your floors and buy you several more years before a complete refinish is needed. The cost of a maintenance coat is 1/4th the cost of a complete refinish. Additional maintenance coats can be applied every 5 years or so.
At the first sign of wear, it's time to consider a maintenance coat. You will most likely see this wear in high traffic areas or areas that might be prone to moisture - like entryways, in front of refrigerators with ice-makers, in front of dishwashers, etc. The floor may appear slightly gray in color meaning that the finish is worn away and moisture is getting into the wood itself. If you schedule a maintenance coat within the following six months or so, you can stop the wear and add up to 10 years of life to the finish before a complete re-finish is needed. If the floors are well cared for, you may be able to apply two or three maintenance coats before a refinish is needed.