The wood floors in our new-to-us house are kind of beat up. There are very few indelible marks and scratches that will require strategic furniture placement, but most of the damage is just superficial scuffing, discoloration, and irregularities in the stain. Notably, they have no polyurethane or other clear coat protecting the finish.
Ultimately they deserve to be stripped, sanded, and refinished. However, with the number of pets and young children we currently have, I'm reluctant to do a full refinish job when realistically they will get pretty beat up again within 3-5 years. I'd like to delay the full refinish until after this damage-intensive period of child rearing tails off. However, I'm concerned that with the total absence of clear coat the floors may in that intervening time acquire much more damage than they would with one.
I'm now thinking that I'd like, for now, to lay down some polyurethane on the freshly cleaned but otherwise unrepaired floor. This would be cheap, give some protection from incurring further damage, and only take a day to do. My question is, will doing this make my already beat up floors look appreciably worse?