New Season, New Challenges
Winter brings us a unique set of challenges when it comes to floor care. One of the biggest challenges comes from excess debris that can be tracked in from the outside. Salt and sand are often used to protect streets and walkways from accidents, but these particles can scratch wood and eat away at protective finishes.
Another concern is excess water. The combination of the winter elements of rain, slush and snow can leave our floors a wet, sopping mess. To make things more difficult, children, pets and other guests can track in a watery mess. Excess water can warp wood and cause gaps between boards.
As the temperature decreases outside, our tendency is to make sure we’re nice and toasty inside. Thermostats rise, and fireplaces provide a cozy break from the season’s chill. This puts wood floors in a variable state of warmth and cold, making humidity a potential issue. Remember that wood expands and contracts with exposure to moist and dry air. As our floors get exposed to various levels of heat and cold, we want to make sure our homes have a constant humidity level.
Even with these winter warnings, protecting your floors takes only a minimal amount of effort. Here are some tips to help deal with the most pressing winter issues:
Use rugs and mats to protect entryways. Have a specific place to put wet shoes so that the excess water doesn’t get to your floors. Consider having back up mats to ensure that they are always clean and dry to best absorb water.
Make it a habit to deal with wet shoes/paws. Make it known to kids and guests that you want shoes off before they enter the home. Having a specific, visible area for shoes is a great reminder that shoes must come off. For pet issues, train them to stop at the door and wait while you dry their paws. Having treats after drying is a great way to reinforce good behavior.
Use humidifiers/dehumidifiers for constant control. Ideal humidity levels range between 40% – 60%. Portable or whole-house humidifiers are ideal to keep the humidity level constant. If you are using portable humidifiers, remember that you may need more than one to properly regulate your room or house. NWFA