You may not be a huge fan of frigid temperatures — and your floors aren’t either. Winter elements such as snow, salt, ice and slush can be extremely harmful to hardwood flooring and cause prominent damage. With the right tips and practices, these damages are easily preventable. We’ll fill you in on some of these damages to look out for, as well as measures you can take to prevent them from happening.
Potential Winter Damages to Hardwood Flooring
Winter elements pose a large threat to hardwood floors, so it’s important to keep them safe during this season. Here are some potential damages to be aware of:
Over time, water being tracked onto your hardwood floors can lead to mold growth, especially if the water hasn’t been wiped up thoroughly. This can also cause your floorboards to warp and swell. Winter is a common time for these things to occur, as it’s easy to track in water from melted snow.
Snow-melting particles can be very abrasive and tough on hardwood floors — so much that they can create scratches if tracked across the floor.
When you track dried salt into your home, it can leave white residue on your hardwood floors. This residue contains calcium chloride crystals, and stepping on these particles or dragging them across the floor can damage your floor’s finish.
Hardwood floor gaps during winter are another problem to watch out for. When your home is heated, the air dries out, causing the wood flooring to release moisture and shrink. This causes noticeable gaps and cracks to form between the floorboards. Though hardwood floor splitting is fairly easy to fix, it’s important to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Tips for Protecting Your Hardwood Floors During Winter
Now that you know some potential damages to hardwood floors to be mindful of, how can you go about preventing these damages? To keep your hardwood floors safe during the winter months, here are three preventative measures you can practice consistently:
1. Remove Shoes and Boots
This may be a simple task, but one of the most helpful preventive measures you can take to protect your floors from damage is taking off your shoes upon entering your home. By making this a regular habit, you can prevent the tracking of snow, water and slush across your hardwood floors. The next time you catch yourself forgetting to remove your shoes, remember that doing so can make a world of difference.
We also recommend placing heavy mats inside and outside of your front door. This is an effective way to catch excess water and snow before walking into your home.
2. Install a Humidifier
A home humidifier can help prevent wood floors from gapping, shrinking and cracking. This regulates the humidity level in your home, which is particularly helpful when the air gets dry in the winter. By installing a humidifier, you give your hardwood floors a chance to breathe.
3. Control Your Home Temperature
Drastic temperature changes in your home can lead to hardwood floor damage over time. Blasting heat constantly can decrease the amount of moisture in your home, and closed doors and windows quickly dry out the air. As a result, the heat will start to absorb moisture from within the floorboards.
We know it gets cold in the wintertime, so it’s tempting to crank up the heat — but even turning your heat down a few degrees every so often can make a big difference.
Additional Hardwood Floor Maintenance Tips
While winter is an important time to practice hardwood flooring protection, this should be done year-round. Here are a few other tips you can practice to ensure your hardwood floors are clean, polished and well-cared-for daily.
For regular hardwood floor maintenance, try to sweep and vacuum your floors consistently, about once or twice a week if possible. This is especially important for highly trafficked areas.
Use Minimal Water to Clean Hardwood Floors
Water can be extremely harmful to wooden floors, so it’s important to use it minimally. Refrain from using a steam mop or a water-soaked cloth to scrub your floor. If you do need to use a mop and water make sure that it is wrung out and is only damp. Do not leave standing puddles of water on the flooring. Avoid abrasive cleaning products such as detergents, oils and ammonia-based cleaners. Acidic substances such as vinegar and lemon juice can also damage hardwood floors.
Instead, use professionally-recommended products to clean and treat your wood flooring. Remember to read the label carefully beforehand to ensure it is safe for your floor. If you are unsure whether a specific cleaner is safe to use, consult a professional. When dry mopping, a helpful technique is to lightly press down on the floor surface and follow the wood grain.
Clean Up Spills
Another simple yet effective preventive measure you can take to protect hardwood floors is immediately wiping up puddles following accidental spills. Instead of leaving it to sit longer than necessary, clean it within a few seconds. The sooner you can get this cleaned up, the better.
Use Furniture Pads
It’s a good idea to place pads underneath furniture legs or purchase slip-on leg covers. These can help prevent scratching, scuffing and other signs of floor wear.
Choosing Superior Hardwoods of Montana
Installing durable, long-lasting flooring in your home is an additional measure that helps prevent susceptibility to damage. At Superior Hardwoods of Montana, we have a wide variety of hardwood floors to choose from. We carry a line of wide-plank wood flooring products crafted from strong, high-quality materials. Our range of wide-plank flooring styles include the following:
- Heirloom Series: Our Heirloom Series features gorgeous hardwoods and softwoods that have been built to last. This flooring is available in chestnut, oak, fir, pine, walnut, hickory or a hardwood mix.
- Wilderness Series: Full of character and spirit, our Wilderness Series showcases the true essence of Montana. Wood species include oak, hickory, walnut, cherry, maple and fir.
- Treasure State Series: Our Treasure State Series can broaden the look of any room and bring out its unique character. Available species include white oak, rift and quartered white oak, walnut and hickory.
Contact Us Today
Looking to give your home a fresh makeover by sprucing up your floors? Learn more about Superior Hardwoods of Montana and the products we offer by contacting us through our website or calling (406) 251-2272.