Winter weather can be harsh, and so can its effects on your flooring. Whether it’s guests in and out or nasty weather, protect your floors with these easy tips to keep them looking beautiful!
1. Use protective mats – by the front door, the back door, the garage; ANY entrance that might be used by people or pets should be protected. This will help prevent dirt, sand, grit, oil, moisture, etc. from being tracked in. (Do not use petroleum based rubber-backed or foam-backed plastic mats as they could discolor your floor.)
2. Sweep, dust or vacuum regularly to prevent dirt that makes it inside from scratching or dulling the floor’s finish. For tough spots like candle wax, use an ice cube to harden and then gently scrape it away with a plastic scarper such as a credit card. Be careful not to damage the finish!
3. Avoid excessive exposure to water from inclement weather. Snow, sleet, rain – keep it out as much as you can! Moisture and wood flooring don’t mix.
4. If your flooring begins to show gaps, don’t panic. Nearly every wood floor endures some separation between boards. Over the winter, dry air can cause the boards to shrink. When the weather warms up and the indoor environment regains moisture, most gaps will close again. Learn about different types of gaps (and what’s considered normal) on our Flooring Gaps post.
5. Minimize gaps by maintaining indoor humidity levels of 30% - 50% and temperatures of 60 – 80 degrees F. This will help reduce expansion and contraction of floor boards.
6. During your heating season, a humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinking caused by dry air. Wood stoves and electric heat tend to create very dry conditions!