Although winter is not yet upon on us, temperatures are already starting to drop so it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, including your flooring.
Hardwood is known as a low-maintenance flooring option but it does require some extra care in winter as wood expands in response to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Knowing how to care for your hardwood floors during the colder months of the year is essential for their longevity.
BEFORE WINTER SETS IN
You don’t have to wait until the cold weather truly sets in to ensure that your hardwood floors are properly cared for over winter. There a number of different steps you can take to prepare your wooden flooring for the months ahead to keep it in its best shape. Start by deep cleaning your floor to remove all of the dust and debris that has built up over summer and check if your hardwood flooring is in need of re-oiling or resanding.
Autumn is also the perfect time to check for any cracks, gaps, or splits in your flooring as these can let draughts in and further damage your floorboards once they begin to shrink due to the weather and moisture fluctuation. If you do notice any damage, make sure that you contact a hardwood flooring specialist rather than trying to repair the issue yourself as this can often cause further damage.
Although some gapping is to be expected in winter as wooden flooring is sensitive to humidity and temperature changes, you can minimise the effect that the weather has on your hardwood floor. Keeping the temperature in your home as consistent as possible is the easiest way to avoid any warping, gapping, or buckling issues. The low humidity levels in winter also contribute to floor gapping by causing hardwood floorboards to shrink. To combat this, use a humidifier in rooms with hardwood flooring to minimise shrinkage.
LEAVE YOUR BOOTS AT THE DOOR
Hardwood flooring is very resilient to heavy foot traffic but in winter it’s a good idea to leave your shoes and boots at the door. The reason for this is that during winter you can easily track in salt, sand, and snow – all things that will damage your floor. But it’s not just the humans in the household that can be guilty of tracking in things that can damage your floorboards, pets can just as easily track in rock salt and sand, so make sure that you wipe down their paws after walks.
PROTECT YOUR FLOORS
Adding rugs to your house in winter will not only protect your hardwood floors from scratches but also keep your feet warm and guard against any draughts passing through the floorboards.
It’s important that in winter you continue to regularly clean your hardwood floors as you would any other time of the year because this will help keep them in their best condition. Consistent cleaning ensures that your floor is kept free of the usual dust and debris that can cause scratches, along with any seasonal debris that might have been tracked in.