Winter weather can be brutal for your home. While most people focus on preparing the exterior of their houses for the drop in temperatures, the interior must also be a focus. Wood floors can be just as affected by winter weather as your driveway or lawn. Here are some tips to protect the beauty and integrity of your flooring when the cold weather hits.
Keep the Climate Steady
As temperatures drop, your first inclination is to turn on the furnace or throw some wood into the fireplace. These are great ways to heat your home and keep you toasty, but they also dry the air. When the air has very little humidity, your skin will lose moisture and might even crack. The same thing can happen to wood floors. Dry air can make hardwood flooring shrink and splinter.
A humidifier attached to your furnace is a great solution to keep moisture in the air while you protect your floors and stay warm during the winter. The cost is well worth it to keep your floor’s finish looking beautiful and new. Your flooring will not crack with sufficient humidity indoors.
Another thing to keep in mind is that wild swings in the indoor climate will also affect your wood flooring. Swinging back and forth from too much humidity to too little will make wood floors alternate between shrinking and expanding. A constant ebb and flow can cause damage, including deep gaps between floorboards. Keep the indoor temperature as steady as possible to avoid this.
Battle a Wet Winter
Snow on the ground outside means water inside. As you walk into your home, your shoes drag in ice and water. Leaving puddles on the ground repeatedly in the same spots can warp real wood floors. Water intrusion happens most often in well-trafficked areas. Keep a watchful eye on entranceways, hallways and mudrooms.
There are simple things you can do to prevent this. First, keep a mat outside your doorway as your first line of defense. For additional protection, place a second mat indoors. Position a basket or cubby at all entrances so that you and your family can remove wet shoes and boots immediately upon entering the home. Make sure these baskets or cubbies are waterproof to prevent water from leaking. Doing this will ensure that very little water will hit your floor. If you have guests visiting, gently remind them to do the same.
Avoid a Salty Situation
When it snows, salt is used on sidewalks, driveways and streets to help melt the ice quickly. The problem is this snow can stick to your shoes and get dragged inside your home. This type of salt is coarse and can easily scratch the wood. It can also leave marks or ruin the stain on your floor.
How do you combat this? Keep your broom and vacuum handy. Cleaning year-round prevents germs and pollen from entering your home, but it is imperative to clean frequently during the winter to remove salt particles. One thing to be careful with is the amount of water you use when mopping your floor. Excess water combined with harsh cleaners can also cause damage. Focus on sweeping and vacuuming to remove the salt while being gentle on your wood flooring.
There is much to love about the winter weather, both indoors and outdoors. Whether you make an angel in the freshly fallen snow or cozy up with a loved one by a crackling fire, make sure you are protecting your home, particularly your wood floors. Keep them looking new while extending their life with proper care. Preventative action now will mean you won’t have to take corrective measures later.