If you happen to have wood flooring in your home, the winter months can wreak havoc on them. Wood flooring can be quite expensive, so if you do have it in your home I’m sure you’d like to keep it in the best condition possible. In this article from Enviro Maids, you are given some tips on how to protect those wood floors throughout the winter.
Wood floors are one of the most sought after types of floor covering. With so many choices of colors and styles to choose from, wood floors can complement any house style. Knotty, pine wood floors can add warmth to a cottage, while deep brown or black cherry wood floors can give a modern home a sleek, elegant feel. While durable, wood floors require a bit more care, especially during the winter months. Moisture, salt, and ice melting products can wreak havoc on wood. Here are our tips with the help of Real Simple and the pros at Floors to Your Home for protecting the beauty and integrity of your wood floor during the winter.
Mats, mats, and more mats
Water or moisture is the number one enemy for wood floors. Excess moisture can have many negative effects on your wood, including warping and staining it, causing it to lose its original luster, as well as leading to the growth of mold. The best way to protect your wood floor from the winter elements is to have a “no shoes” policy. While this can be enforced for family members, you may have to forego this rule when guests arrive. The second best way to protect your wood floor is to arm your home with several strategically placed mats or rugs. When it comes to mats, quality and quantity are equally important. The outside rug should be a rugged, bristly one. Use this rug to help dig out mud, dirt, pebbles, and salt from the tread of winter boots. The rug located inside your entryway should be plush and super-absorbent. This rug should be capable enough to dry the bottom of shoes and collect any remaining outdoor debris. A final and precautionary step is using a walking mat. These mats are long and narrow (usually 10 feet long) and ensure that every last trace of moisture is removed.
You can train your children and spouse to remove their muddy, snowy boots before entering the house, but you’ll run into a problem when it comes to your dog. Unless you routinely put boots on your pup’s paws, you’ll have to contend with wet, dirty paws. Before letting your dog out, have a towel by the door. When your dog is ready to come back inside, wipe his paws dry. For extra muddy paws, have a small basin filled with a bit of warm water on hand by the door. Wash off all traces of mud and grime and dry paws with a towel.
Moisture, salt, and ice-melting products aren’t the only cause of damaged wood floors. In fact, dryness can be just as damaging! Wood is fickle when it comes to shifts in humidity levels. The dry air of indoor heating and lower humidity levels can cause wood to shrink. The telltale sign that dry air has caused your wood to shrink are the gaps between the planks of wood. The opposite effect happens when there’s excess moisture in the air; the higher humidity during the summer months causes the wood to expand. The ideal indoor temperature for wood floors is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and a 30 to 50 percent humidity level.
As careful as you try to be, sometimes moisture, spills, and water get on your wood floors. It’s important to clean up spills immediately with an absorbent towel. Thoroughly dry the floor; no dampness should be left behind.