Tim Greif - West of Chicago
I hate to dash your hopes, but I've lived your battle for over 30 years. I build my home in 1989 and have hardwood floors throughout the kitchen and other rooms. We have a country table and four chairs along with three kitchen bar stools at the kitchen island. I have been putting felt pads on the bottom of all chairs and stools from day one. When you first put them on, it's wonderful. But if you're like us, our kitchen really gets used. No matter how careful you intend to be to that nice floor, stuff happens. Don has it right about trapping stuff. Any gritty material that gets dragged in and finds its way near the chairs will get trapped in the felt and eventually turn that little protective pad into a mini abrasive pad. If you're really anal about sweeping and vacuuming all the time, like daily, you may win the battle. But who really does that? Eventually scratches will begin to appear. Next, you'll sort of forget about the pads until you discover they're completely flat and are doing next to nothing. You'll replace them and the cycle starts over, with you swearing you'll remember to renew the pads more regularly.
Scratches are going to happen. In the 30 years we've lived here, I've had the floors completely refinished once and had a scuff and coat done once. I'm about to do it again this year. We don't remove our shoes when we walk into the house like some people do. That would certainly help. If you have kids or a dog, you will definitely lose the scratch battle no matter what. In my mind, a hardwood floor finish is a consumable, much like carpet. Eventually is needs replacing because you walk on it and it's not durable like tile. Accept that and admire its beauty as it ages. Good luck.