As winter approaches, homeowners prepare for the colder months by taking measures to safeguard their homes against the harsh weather conditions. While many focus on insulation, heating systems, and draft-proofing, one crucial aspect that often goes overlooked is the potential damage winter can inflict on hardwood floors. The combination of cold temperatures, low humidity, and increased moisture poses unique challenges for maintaining the beauty and longevity of hardwood flooring. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple and effective strategies that you can use to keep your hardwood floors in perfect condition all winter long.
Winter Dangers for Hardwood Floors
Low Humidity Levels
During winter, indoor heating systems can significantly reduce the humidity levels inside homes. Hardwood floors, being a natural material, are sensitive to changes in moisture. Low humidity can lead to the contraction of wood, causing gaps between planks and potentially damaging the overall structure.
Exposure to Moisture
Winter brings snow, slush, and rain, all of which can be tracked indoors. Wet footwear and dripping umbrellas can introduce moisture to hardwood floors, leading to warping, swelling, and even mold growth over time.
The winter season often brings with it an increase in debris such as salt, sand, and grit used for snow and ice removal. These abrasive substances can scratch and wear down the finish of hardwood floors, diminishing their aesthetic appeal.
Maintain Optimal Indoor Humidity
It can be worth it to invest in a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heating systems. Keeping humidity levels between 35-55% is ideal for preventing wood contraction and maintaining the stability of your hardwood floors.
Use Protective Mats and Rugs
Place durable, moisture-absorbent mats at entryways to capture water, mud, and debris before they reach your hardwood floors. Additionally, consider using rugs in high-traffic areas to reduce wear and tear.
Implement a ‘No Shoes’ Policy
Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes upon entering the house. This simple practice can prevent moisture, salt, and other abrasive substances from tracking onto your hardwood floors.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Establish a routine cleaning schedule to remove dirt, dust, and debris from your floors. Use a soft broom or vacuum with a hardwood floor attachment to avoid scratches. Damp mop your floors with a hardwood floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
Seal and Protect
Ensure that your hardwood floors are properly sealed with a high-quality finish. Periodically check for wear and tear, and reapply finish as needed to provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and abrasion.
Address Spills Promptly
Accidents happen, and spills are inevitable. However, it’s crucial to address them promptly to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood. Use a soft, absorbent cloth to blot spills and avoid rubbing, which can spread the liquid.
Consider scheduling professional inspections of your hardwood floors, especially before and after the winter season. Experts can identify any issues early on and recommend appropriate repairs or maintenance.
Hardwood Flooring from Jason Brown Wood Floors
At Jason Brown Wood Floors, our commitment to quality installation is clear in all that we do, which is why our customers consistently rate us as one of the top contractors in the region. We have been awarded Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Baltimore Award 4 times and have been proudly serving the Baltimore Area for over 18 years. If you’re ready to speak with someone about your hardwood flooring project, we want to hear from you! Contact us at 410-668-9131 or send us a message here.
Jason Brown Wood Floors is also your convenient dealer of high-quality, professional-grade power tools. We offer brands that tradespeople trust most for the job. Come check out our Abingdon showroom to browse the in-stock selection of products and tools by Festool, Freud, Diablo, Shaper, Mirka, Makita, Saw Stop, and Grex.