As winter approaches and the cold weather brings snow, ice, and inevitably soggy footwear, there are few ways the cooler climate can damage your beautiful hardwood floors. From the change in temperature, humidity, water damage from shoes and chemical damage from de-icer products, all can lead to irreversible damage of your hardwood floor. Here are few tips that will help you look after your hardwood floor this winter:
Foot traffic is the most prominent problem when trying to keep your hardwood floor clean and dry during winter. Invest in high-quality doormats at every entrance. Mats absorb moisture and capture other components that can harm your wood floor, and catch debris before they come into contact with the floor. Perform a regular cleaning of your rugs during wintertime. Shake to remove dust from the mat before washing and drying.
Common salt is capable of causing damage to a range of materials, especially including hardwood floors. Although salt is great for keeping pathways, driveways and porches ice-free, it can lead to more damage than expected when trudged inside. Try using natural methods for melting ice like sand and fertilizer that have minimal effects on a hardwood floor. The use of heated exterior mats and ice melting systems can also create a safe porch surface without posing any damage to the floor.
During the winter months, you will have to remove moisture from the floor whenever you can to keep it dry. Leave your shoes on a safe area to dry and if you have a pet, train it to come in an entrance that is more hardy to the outdoors, or dry them thoroughly before allowing them back inside during the winter months. Vacuum cleaners are also great at helping to extract moisture from your hardwood floor, leaving it clean as well as dry.
Wax and other finish on a hardwood floor protect the underneath wood preventing moisture from penetrating, soaking and damaging the wood. Chemical ingredients for melting snow and ice have high levels of pH and leaving it on the floor can eat into the hardwood. Use a mixture of four gallons of water with five ounces of plain vinegar to neutralize the floor before cleaning to remove salt debris that can damage the floor’s finish.
Changes in humidity during winter can lead to inconsistent temperatures which lead to spaces and gaps on the wooden floors. In an extreme instance of contraction and expansion, the floor may bow and buckle, separating from the subfloor. To protect hardwood floors from bowing, try to keep the thermostat of your house at a constant temperature and avoid the risk of severe thermal changes.
As we enter the chillier months, do be aware of the little things that can affect your hardwood floor, and we hope that our tips will help you protect it from winter elements. Winter is also actually the best time for refinishing, re-coating and redoing your hardwood floors, ready for the spring and summer months!
For more information on reworking or revamping your hardwood floor, check out our hardwood floor page or talk to one of our flooring experts today. We also offer engineered wood flooring which is specifically designed and crafted to be durable and resist expanding and contracting like natural wood flooring. To save some of the trouble of having to be so careful this winter and the extra maintenance that a hardwood floor can bring, perhaps choose engineered wood flooring and invest in a solution that will be moisture resistant and look beautiful too!