Homeowners across the globe appreciate the beauty and character of wood flooring. But those living in northern climates need to deal with winter weather when snow, wet footwear and ice take a toll on wood floors of all types. Find out how you should care for hardwood and engineered wood flooring to ensure the winter passes problem-free.
Use Mats at Entranceways
Exterior doors and moisture go hand in hand. Invest in top quality floor mats and place them over your wood flooring at entranceways. Look for mats with solid, non-slip backings that will not discolor the wood, and opt for those made with absorbent fibers to capture as much moisture as possible.
Remember to clean your mats on a regular basis—more often in the wintertime. Shake dust from the mat before washing and drying thoroughly. Avoid leaving a soaked mat on the wood flooring, as this could stain or warp the planks.
Wipe Up Spills and Puddles Right Away
Mats won’t always catch all of the moisture, and spills happen at any time of the year. Make a habit of mopping up spills right away in order to preserve the wood. Store a quality mop or cloth near the doorways to allow for quick wipes, and encourage family and visitors to remove their wet shoes and boots before stepping on the floor.
Avoid Using Salt on the Porch
Salt attacks many materials, including wood floors. Although you want to keep the ice from transforming your porch into a slippery hazard, using salt could create more damage than anticipated.
Footwear captures tiny salt particles and deposits them onto entranceway mats, boot trays and floorboards. Even with frequent cleaning, these tiny amounts of salt will breakdown the finish on your flooring. Look into more natural methods of ice melting, such as fertilizer or sand, but be aware that these products may also hurt your hardwood flooring. Consider heated exterior mats or in-ground ice-melting systems that create a safe porch surface without harmful residue.
Apply Furniture Pads
This practical step helps to keep your wood flooring clean at any time of the year. Especially important on heavy furniture and portable pieces, furniture pads protect the finish and help to avoid scratching, gouging and other unsightly marks.
Look for affordable furniture pads that can be cut to size and customized to suit your furniture pieces. Make sure the adhesive works well and replace the pads on a regular basis, based on wear.
Invest in the Proper Cleaning Equipment
This wood flooring maintenance advice also applies to any season, but proper cleaning equipment plays a vital role in winter. Expect to be wiping, mopping and sweeping your hardwood floors or engineered wood flooring more often during the colder months, especially near doorways and in other high traffic areas.
Purchase a high quality mop, preferably microfiber or another material that traps dirt particles, instead of simply pushing them around your floor. A soft-bristled vacuum also works very well to clean debris from wood flooring. Dry mops create that attractive shine, but should be used as directed by your wood flooring retailer or manufacturer.
Each of these tips will extend the life of your wood floors and help to keep wood flooring clean in the winter. Do your part and let the beauty and charm of wood floors shine for years to come.