There is nothing more beautiful than having hardwood flooring in your home; it looks stunning and, if properly cared for, will last for decades to come. Part of that aftercare is knowing how to look after your flooring as the seasons change. Wood is a natural product and as such, it will expand and contract in response to the moisture levels changing and the temperature dropping.
To keep the effects of these changes to a minimum, here are some of the top tips from the Just Wood team for looking after your hardwood flooring in winter.
Protect Your Flooring from Your Christmas Tree
A hardwood floor makes the perfect setting for a beautifully decorated tree. However, a real tree can cause damage – dropped pine needles, spilt water or debris stuck under the Christmas tree stand can mark and scratch hardwood floors so you will need to sweep regularly and keep the tree hydrated to minimise needle drop. You will also need to place your tree on an absorbent mat or plastic sheet to create a barrier from any moisture.
Be Mindful of Salt
It is only natural for the footfall to increase through your home over the winter season and so your hardwood flooring will benefit from being cleaned more frequently to keep it looking its best. Many wood floor owners don’t actually realise that the salt brought in from the road can actually “eat” into varnish causing the wood to become discoloured. You may need to up your cleaning regime – for instance, if you usually clean your hardwood floor once a week, then increase to twice and ensure any obvious messes are sorted right away, as soon as they happen.
The winter elements and heeled shoes can be harsh on hardwood flooring. One way to leave the weather at the door is to introduce mats and have a house rule of removing shoes at the door.
Monitor the Humidity Level and Temperature
As we have already mentioned, humidity and temperature changes can wreak havoc on your flooring. With temperatures plummeting in winter homeowners are quick to turn on the thermostat, often not realising how this will affect wooden flooring. During the colder months of the year, humidity levels drop and turning on your heating will further dry out the air in your home. In the same way that central heating can wreak havoc on your skin and leave it feeling dry, it can draw out the moisture from your flooring too, making it prone to splintering and shrinkage.
To avoid your hardwood boards suffering this fate, keep an eye on how high you are setting your thermostat and when possible turn your heating off. If you live in a particularly dry climate, you should also consider investing in a humidifier to maintain to boost the humidity level in your home to a range that will be safe for your flooring.