The winter season is upon us. Just as we change our lifestyles and routines to fit with the seasons, we must also adapt our homes to the changes. While we're getting ready to cozy up indoors and bring out the heavy-duty winter woollies, we need to make sure our home is ready to bear the coming onslaught of snow, dirt, slush, and salt.
The winter season brings with it challenges that aren't purely seasonal in nature; the holiday season comes with a heavy increase in foot traffic around the house as people spend a lot of time indoors. This double effect can combine to do some real damage to your beautiful hardwood floors if you aren't prepared. Let's take a quick look at how the changing season can harm your flooring and how you can prevent this from happening.
Common Winter Elemental Damages
Gap formation: The air that your air-conditioning systems will be circulating throughout your home in the winter season is much drier than the type of air that circulates during the summer months. The effect this has on wood is that it causes it to slightly lose its moisture content, leading to the creation of small gaps where planks meet. You shouldn't worry too much about this, as it's to be expected. Once temperatures warm up, they will absorb a bit of moisture and return to normal.
Scratches and scrapes: Mud, salt, dead leaves, dirt, and snow can all combine to create unsightly scratches and scrapes on your floors once they are unintentionally brought into the house on the bottoms of boots and shoes.
Rot: If left to lie untouched for long enough, some of these winter elements can make their way into your flooring, causing the wood to rot. This is to be avoided at all costs, as serious cases might make it necessary to seek professional services to repair.
What Can I Do to Avoid Them?
Maintain temperatures: What leads to the creation of gaps in your flooring is the changing temperature levels and humidity. A good way to counteract this effect is to maintain your thermostat settings at a constant even temperature, avoiding turning your heat up and down.
Clean up: Regularly sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your floors prevents the build-up of sludge and leftover snow that might eventually lead to rot.
Take the shoes off: Simply taking off shoes and boots before coming indoors will go a long way in avoiding most of the winter-borne floor difficulties. Before they come indoors, have your family and friends take note!
Cover up: Rugs, carpets, and floor-mats are a great way to protect your floors, especially in high-traffic areas which experience the most stress. Unwanted elements simply won't have the chance to get at your floors.
Know what you're dealing with: Gaining a good understanding of exactly what type of floor you're trying to protect will make your job a whole lot easier. Having information about your hardwood floor areas such as how old they are, how much money you have invested in them over time, etc. will help you determine just how much time, effort, and money would be reasonably used up in protecting them.