Homeowners that have hardwood flooring in their homes know just how stunning they can look when shown off to their full advantage and properly cared for. With Jack Frost already nipping at our heels – it is important to know how to look after your hardwood flooring, whether you get it from just wood or use another supplier. This is because timber flooring can often shrink or expand in response to changes in temperature and moisture, which even includes such possible triggers as your Christmas tree!
Essentially Maintenance Tips
Timber flooring requires simple but regular maintenance to keep it looking at its best throughout the year. Still, every season brings a few additional challenges of its own and winter is no different. We know winter has arrived by the change in the weather. Plummeting temperatures feel hard on us but the weather, directly and indirectly, can be even harder on our hardwood flooring. The mixture of slush, ice, snow, dirt debris and road salt introduced by feet can damage your floors resulting in warping, gapping and discolouration.
These challenges, however, can easily be overcome with a little bit of knowledge and foresight, so here are 5 top tips to help you look after your hardwood flooring in winter.
- It is helpful to introduce a stiff-bristled welcome mat at your front and back door to keep the outside from reaching the inside as much as possible. This includes removing footwear, wet clothing, and wiping pet paws too. If footwear must be kept in a room with hardwood flooring, then introducing a waterproof plastic tray (placed on cushioned matting) for shoes and boots will protect your floor from dirt and moisture.
- Winter is when we increase the heating in our home and keep it on for longer periods. However, cranking up the heat too high can over-dry the air in your home AND turn, your floor; causing shrinking and unsightly cracks. If you don’t want to wear an extra jumper, then consider introducing a humidifier or strategically placed bowls of water (ensuring they don’t get spilt!) to help you get the balance just right.
- If you do have a spill in your home – whether it’s water or a glass of wine then use a dry or slightly damp cloth or mop immediately to absorb it. It is important to not over wet or uses steam cleaners as this will do more damage. Wood contracts and expands depending on the moisture that is on it and in the air of your home and this can cause splitting, cracking and gapping.
- Sweep daily and use a good floor cleaner at least once a month (especially in the winter season) to help to keep your hardwood flooring clean and to look its best. Remember to recoat your floor with a fresh coat of wood finish every 3-5 years.
- If you don’t already use them, then introducing furniture pads will prevent your hardwood flooring from being scratched when you fancy a change around. Prevention is always better than cure!
By following the five simple tips above, any homeowner with hardwood flooring will be able to keep their floor protected during even the harshest winter season. It is also true (and not many homeowners realise this) that fitting wood flooring when the temperature is at its coldest prevents the timber from gapping later on. So if you are thinking of having timber flooring installed or replaced, then the colder season is the best time to do so!