Hardwood flooring is a significant investment inside your home that can add warmth, increase your home’s value, and bolster its aesthetic appeal. However, Canadian winter brings harsh and snowy conditions which can wreak havoc on your hardwood floors due to low humidity, temperature fluctuations, snow, salt, and ice on your flooring, if left overlooked. How can you protect your precious flooring investment from the Canadian cold? Continue reading to learn how you can care for your hardwood flooring during winter.
Control The Indoor Environment
Since wood can swell and shrink, depending on moisture in the wood and in the air, it is crucial to keep humidity levels at a constant between summer and winter to avoid cupping, splitting, and gapping of the hardwood. Use a humidifier to create a consistent indoor humidity range between 25% and 45% because this will help prevent the wood from drying out and shrinking which will reduce the risk of creating gaps and cracks between the boards. In addition, maintain a stable indoor temperature between 60-80°F (16-27°C) to prevent temperature fluctuations that can affect the moisture content of the wood to prevent gaps between the floorboards.
Wipe Your Spills (And Your Pets!)
If there is any moisture or spills on the hardwood floor, ensure that you wipe it promptly using a dry and soft cloth to prevent the water from seeping into the wood. If you have pets, their outdoor excursions can be a major culprit of floor damage. To reduce moisture on your hardwood, keep a towel close to the entrance so you can easily wipe your pet and their feet before they can track in their wet paw prints.
Use Doormats And Indoor Rugs To Protect Your Flooring
Snow, rain, and ice in winter translate to wet shoes in your house. Having a no-shoe policy inside your home is helpful, as it will reduce the impact of wet footwear and protect the hardwood from scratches and dents. It is useful to have a tray for wet footwear right next to the door, and a coat rack for guest coats or extra winter gear.
Ensure that you place heavy bristle doormats on the outside of your home to capture the bulk of snow that is stuck on shoes and boots before entry into your home. In addition, place a floor mat inside of the doorway as your second defence against tracked-in snow, ice, salt, and slush. Having an extra towel by the door helps to clean up any water that is not contained by the floor mat, and remember to always dry your indoor floor mats since wet mats on hardwood flooring can damage your floors over time. Although it may cost more to invest in quality, absorbent, and non-slip mats, it is an essential investment as these can protect your flooring from discoloration and will perform better than vinyl mats to absorb snow and ice without damaging the flooring underneath. Area rugs and runners with non-slip backing can also add an extra layer of protection for your flooring in high-traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens, and living rooms.
Practice Routine Cleaning
Following hardwood floor upkeep guidelines year-round can give your floors a useful baseline before winter starts. Regular sweeping and vacuuming are crucial to prevent the build-up of dirt and debris and use a soft-bristle broom or vacuum head with a hardwood floor attachment to prevent scratches and dents to your flooring surface.
Winter can introduce salt particles and residues into your home, so ensure that you sweep and clean all entrances and doorways to remove those particles. The salt utilized on roads has a high pH level and its presence on your hardwood flooring can damage the floor’s finish. Ensure that you clean the entrances with a floor cleaner that is not harsh and is formulated to remove salt from your hardwood flooring safely. When cleaning your floors, avoid using a steam mop on the hardwood floors as the steam can cause your floors to warp. Instead, use a mild soap or floor cleaner that is formulated specifically for hardwood floors to ensure the hardwood flooring’s finish isn’t damaged.
You can do your part and let your hardwood floors shine for years to come! Smith Bros. Floors is family-operated and has been in the industry for over a century. We are one of Canada’s oldest companies and are dedicated to finding the perfect flooring to suit your lifestyle and needs. Contact us today to get started!