protecting hardwood flooring in winter

The winter season is upon us – and with it comes, snow, ice, water, dirt, and salt being dragged into your home from the outside. If you have hardwood floors installed in your home, these materials can spell damage, disaster, and thousands of dollars in maintenance costs. With proper precaution, protections, and simple maintenance, you can protect hardwood flooring during the winter and provide optimal protection to your beloved hardwood floors.

Maintain Higher Humidity Levels

The winter months can cause solid hardwood planks to contract, forming thin gaps and cracks in the surface of your floor. This happens because during the winter, the cold temperatures and low humidity causes wood to shrink. If a dramatic fluctuation occurs, the planks will split and major repairs will be necessary. Running a humidifier can help keep your floorboards from contracting, as well as keep your home at a warm, comfortable temperature.

Use Welcome Mats, Area Rugs, and Shoe Racks to Protect Hardwood Flooring

Pets, children, and other household members will track in mud, snow, water, and salt from the outside. These materials can cause stains and scratches to your floor. Salt especially tends to leave a white, abrasive residue which can scratch up your hardwood surface. If these substances aren’t cleaned immediately, further damage will happen to the finish and even the wood planks themselves.

protecting hardwood flooring from water damage
Cleaning up melted snow & ice right away is critical to protecting your beautiful hardwood flooring

These hazards can be avoided if you prevent these materials from coming into your home in the first place. Place multiple welcome mats outside and inside your home’s entrances and require family members to wipe their shoes before entering. Install shoe racks next to these entrances as well and do not allow people to wear their shoes inside your home. Area rugs in high-traffic areas of your home can also catch excess debris.

Sweep and Clean Often

As much as you can try to prevent these unwanted materials from entering your home, it is inevitable that snow, ice, and dirt will find its way inside and onto your hardwood floors. To combat this, make sure to sweep your floors frequently and clean up any winter-related messes immediately. If you see a puddle on the floor, soak it up with a towel and don’t let it sit. If you see salt in the water or anywhere on the floor, make sure to take extra precaution when cleaning so that it doesn’t scratch the floor’s surface.

Consider Engineered Flooring

There are multiple benefits to engineered hardwood flooring to homeowners, especially during the winter months. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood does not expand or contract when the temperature or humidity fluctuates. While gaps might form between the planks in solid hardwood during the winter months, engineered hardwood will remain stable.

engineered hardwood flooring - protecting your flooring investment
The strength and durability of engineered flooring makes it very resiliant to water damage and heavy traffic.

In addition, with the manufacturers that Real Wood Floors works with, we can provide any species of wood at any specified width, in any grade desired, with multiple options for different textured finishes. These include hand scraped, wire brushed, band sawn face and even reclaimed flooring.  Real Wood Floors can stain unfinished engineered hardwood in any color desired. You won’t have to sacrifice style for durability with a custom engineered floor from Real Wood Floors.

Do you have more questions about how to protect hardwood flooring or want to install a brand-new engineered hardwood surface in your home? Contact the team at Real Wood Floors today! Our Kalamazoo-based hardwood flooring specialists will visit your home and assist you with all your hardwood needs, from installation to refinish.