Wintertime – a time for holiday celebrations, snowfalls, and beautifully decorated homes. It’s also the time to take extra precautions to protect your hardwood floors either in your own homes or on your job-sites. While the Winter elements of snow, ice and rain can do lots of damage to a hardwood floor, some minor changes to your cleaning routine or job-site maintenance are all you need to protect your floors against debris, excess moisture and humidity changes.
Rock salt and sand are common de-icing agents used on roads, driveways and walkways during this slippery time of year. Rock salt is an abrasive to floors and finishes while calcium chloride can leave a greasy film on floors when tracked in. Grit and debris can get tracked in throughout the year, but this issue is much greater in the winter months.
The best way to handle winter debris is to prevent it from ever getting into your home. The first line of defense would be to shovel your walkways, driveways and parking lots and making sure they are as free of snow and ice as possible. The second line of defense would be to use mats outside and inside your entry ways. Coarse mats used outside of the home can help prevent large chunks of debris from getting on your floors. For indoor mats, make sure you have a finer, more absorbent mat to remove even more debris from shoes and boots. Make sure you clean and change mats regularly to avoid a buildup of damaging materials.
As we all know, moisture on hard-wood floors should be avoided as much as possible. When left unattended, excess moisture can warp floors and cause gaps between boards. As winter brings in excess water from rain, snow and slush, we must take extra steps to avoid standing water on our floors.
To deal with excess moisture, you should have guests in your home leave their wet shoes in a safe area to dry. For contractors, if possible-have your employees wear shoe covers inside the house to protect the flooring from the outside elements and moisture.
If you’re already using mats, make sure you have mats ready to handle wet shoes. If you have pets, make sure you have towels readily accessible near entry-ways to wipe their paws when coming inside. Extra dry-mopping is also a great way to reduce excess moisture and water.
As the temperature outside goes down and homes heat up, the changes in humidity can lead to gaps and separations in floor boards. The cold, dry air makes wood contract, which can leave noticeable spaces in your floors. Excessive humidity issues can lead to cupping and crowning, where the floor boards are higher at the edges than in the center (cupping) or the center is higher than the edges (crowning). In extreme situations, floors may even buckle, separating itself from the subfloor.
When dealing with humidity changes, the most important thing to remember is that floors expand and contract naturally. Having some gaps in the floor isn’t necessarily a sign of greater damage to come. Especially if you notice gaps only in the winter time, you can simply live with it and wait for the floors to get back to normal in the warmer months. If you want to be proactive during the winter season, use humidifiers and dehumidifiers to get your home at the right levels. An acceptable range for humidity would be 30-50% and temperature between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a little extra care and attentiveness, it is possible to keep your wood floors looking great this Winter season.
If you’re looking for extra protection for floors during the winter season, consider using the Bona PowerPlus® Hardwood Floor Deep Cleaner. This cleaner gives you the results you expect with an extra bonus of being formulated to effectively remove ice melting residues.
These tips brought to you by Bona and Mansion Hill Custom Floors. Mansion Hill Custom Floors is proud to be a Bona Certified Craftsman Company.