Winter brings snowy landscapes, ice skating, snowmen and the holiday season. Unfortunately, it also brings tracked in snow, excess moisture and road/sidewalk salt. Winter conditions are harsh on your hardwood floors, causing scratches, stains, gaps and cracked floorboards. How can you care for your hardwood floor to protect it from winter damage? The following are some tips to prevent disaster and keep your flooring looking great.
- Place rugs at all entrances: Begin with a bristled welcome mat on your step to reduce the snow and salt that is tracked in. Encourage family and friends to wipe their feet as they enter. Place mats in your entrance and down high traffic hallways to absorb moisture and create a slip-free surface. Avoid rubber-backed or non-ventilated rugs, as they can damage hardwood floors. Vacuum the rugs often. Regularly wash rugs/mats to ensure they are protecting your floors instead of causing damage.
- Remove shoes at the door: Keep a shoe rack near all entryways and ask your family/guests to remove their shoes when entering the house.This protects your hardwood flooring from moisture, dirt, salt, scratches, skid marks and excess wear.
- Clean up quickly: Promptly wipe up spills, drips and puddles to avoid allowing liquids to soak into the wood. Pay particular attention when a pet enters the home. Never use vinegar to remove stains.
- Use a humidifier: Changes in temperature and humidity can cause wood to shrink, crack and/or warp. Keep the temperature in your home moderate and run a humidifier to help stabilize your hardwood flooring. Maintain the humidity level between 30 to 50%. On the other hand, If the humidity level inside your home is regularly above 50% invest in a dehumidifier.
- Sweep/vacuum daily to keep as much dirt, sand and salt off the floor as you can. This is the best defence against scratches from small particles and debris. Regular cleaning is the most effective way to extend the life of your hardwood floors.
- Train your family to wipe their feet, remove their shoes and wipe up puddles. Establishing good habits helps preserve the life of hardwood flooring.
- Train your pets to stop and stay at the entrance until you have wiped dirty wet paws. Keep an old towel handy for the job. Reward patience and good behaviour with a treat.
- Use appropriate cleaners: Look for a cleaner that doesn’t leave a residue, is safe for kids/pets and is recommended for hardwood floors.
- Invest in the proper tools: A high-quality microfiber mop traps particles without pushing them around your floor. A soft bristled vacuum works well for cleaning debris.
- Protect your floor from your Christmas tree: Tree stands and branches can scratch your hardwood floor. So can sap and overflow from the tree base. Invest in a quality Christmas tree stand, put protective padding beneath your tree and place mats around your tree to catch the sap.
- Do an end-of-season checkup: At the end of a long winter, check for stains, scratches and/or water damage. Address issues immediately.
Do your part and let the beauty and charm of your hardwood floors shine for years to come. Prevent scuffs, scratches and a dull finish with frequent proper cleaning, protective mats, the use of appropriate cleaning supplies and tools, an eye on humidity levels and an end-of-season check-up. Enjoy the beauty of your home’s natural wood floor for many years.
Looking for quality wood flooring? Contact Smith Bros. Floors, one of Canada’s oldest hardwood flooring companies; family-owned and operated. We use industry-leading flooring and finishes because we want your flooring to last! With a tested crew of installers and finishers and a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and longevity, Smith Bros. quality cannot be beaten! Call us at 403-255-7791 for a free consultation.