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Best Practices for Hardwood Flooring Maintenance This Winter

Winter isn’t great for floors in general, but hardwoods are especially vulnerable to everything cold weather brings with it. Read on for some tips on how to keep your hardwood floors in great shape this winter. 

Three Ways to Keep Your Hardwood Floor in Good Shape This Winter

1. A Good Defense

The best way to ensure the longevity of your hardwood flooring year-round is to protect them. Winter in particular is harsh on hardwoods, for a variety of reasons. Moisture and hardwood flooring don’t mix, so tracking in rain and snow on boots and shoes is a big issue. It doesn’t take long for water to be absorbed into hardwood flooring, and it can cause floors to warp, discolor, and soften. 

Moisture is hard to fully keep out of your home, but there are some ways to keep things separated. Having a mudroom with waterproof flooring is a great way to prevent water from harming your hardwood floors in winter. If you can, covering your home’s entryway with options like laminate or vinyl is an excellent way to keep things dry on your hardwoods. But water isn’t the only thing you’re at risk of tracking into your home. 

Since the ground is often wet in winter, mud and dirt can find their way in even if there hasn’t been much precipitation lately. Dirt can be unsightly and also cause superficial scratching due to its abrasive nature. Salt, which is used on roads and sidewalks to keep ice from forming or melting pre-existing ice is incredibly detrimental to your floors. Rock salt crystals easily embed in the treads of shoes and boots, and then dislodge indoors. Salt is very abrasive so it can scratch the floor, too. But that’s not all — salt contains a chemical that penetrates the wood and can cause permanent discoloration. 

Installing door mats and boot cleaners at all entries is the best way to keep salt, dirt, and water off your home’s hardwood flooring. Do this, and your floors should be safe this winter.

2. Clean Correctly

Hardwood floor care and maintenance is heavily focused on cleaning, and doing it properly. Getting salt and moisture off your floor is your primary goal in cleaning during the winter. Usually, that means more vacuuming and cleaning. Dry any water as soon as possible, and use a cleaner once that water is removed. Even if you can’t see salt crystals, it’s probably still dissolved in the water. Cleaning salt up is easy when it’s something you can vacuum, but harder when you can’t see it. 

There is a wrong way to clean your hardwood floors, so here’s what to avoid: harsh chemicals or all-purpose cleaners that aren’t designed specifically for wood floors.

3. Seal and Refinish 

If you’re wondering, “How do I protect my hardwood floors in winter?” sealing and refinishing your floors with a qualified flooring service contractor is the best way to protect your hardwoods. While the process is involved and costly, refinishing is critical to your flooring’s longevity. Every 5-10 years, hardwood floors need to be refinished. This process takes time, but it ensures that the structure of your flooring is strong and will last. Properly maintained and finished floors put up with everything winter can throw at it much better than floors that haven’t seen proper care. 

Don’t Let Winter Wear Your Wood Floors

No matter what you need for your home’s hardwood flooring this winter, Ozburn-Hessey can help. Find out why Nashville residents have been working with O-H to protect their hardwood flooring each and every winter. Give us a call today for more tips, and a free consultation and estimate on refinishing or installation.

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