A normal winter in the northern part of the country is notorious for its harsh conditions – snowstorms and blizzards and dry, windy, frigid air for months on end. However, equipped with appropriate expectations most northerners have a way of embracing the glacial experience, investing in appropriate winter outerwear, tools (shovels, snow brushes, snowblowers…) and sporting equipment. In the same way, having expectations about how harsh winter weather can affect the interior of your home is important to embracing the season and enjoying your home during these months.
Hardwood floors are a rich, warm and beautiful component of a home to which winter weather can pose some serious threats. Let’s take a look at three main winter elements that threaten their appearance and integrity and how to be proactive in preserving them.
Tip #1 Adding a Humidifier
Wood expands in the humid months and contracts in the dry months. It’s important to be aware that, when floorboards contract, squeaking and unsightly gaps between floorboards may occur. There are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood of encountering this problem. Consider installing a humidifier that operates in conjunction with your furnace to circulate humidity throughout your home. Another option to consider is investing in room humidifiers. Room humidifiers are a more cost-effective way to add humidity to the air and will likely add enough humidity to keep your boards from squeaking and gaping.
Tip #2 Use a Water Barrier
Another big winter threat to your elegant hardwoods is your Christmas tree but don’t let that dampen your cheer! You can still have a holly, jolly, worry-free Christmas by protecting your floors from Christmas tree water damage. Placing a water barrier under your tree skirt will ensure that water from your tree stand or drips from your watering can won’t permeate the wood boards. In order to facilitate the watering process choose a watering can with a long spout and make certain the bottom tree branches are trimmed up enough to allow space for properly tipping the can.
Tip #3 Use Rugs & Mats
Perhaps the most common winter threat to hardwood flooring is the influx of salt, sand and melted snow that everyone and their mother track in on their boots. So what can be done about this proverbial problem? Go to the source and prevent as much of this residue from entering your home as possible by placing mats outside each of the main entrances to your home and encouraging people to wipe their feet before entering. Also, provide a rubber mat for salty, sandy, wet footwear just inside of each main door. Last but certainly not least sweep and vacuum often! Over time, salt and sand can wear away the finish on your floors, casting a “dull” appearance and leaving scratches.
If you have questions or concerns about proper winter hardwood floor care don’t hesitate to contact us at 952-440-9663! Also, if you book a flooring project with us by December 31st, you’ll get $117 off your flooring project!