Wood floors are a worthwhile investment that can improve the beauty of just about any room in a home. Even though wood floors are durable, and new protective treatments help seal out many of the things that may have damaged floors in the past, homeowners still need to prioritize protecting their hardwood floors.

Certain seasons of the year can be harsher on wood floors than others. Those characterized by moisture and precipitation, particularly the fall, winter, and early spring, can be hard on wood floors. Winter weather can be especially harsh and cold, and snowy days can damage wood floors. 

Here are a few essential steps to keep your wood floors looking beautiful throughout
the seasons.

• Invest in shoe storage. Wet or snowy boots can create small puddles that can negatively impact wood floors. Have a special mat or tray by the front door where wet shoes can be kept. A bench in the entryway makes it easy for residents and guests to remove their shoes until it’s time to go back outside.

• Use a mat or rug wherever your floors get the most stress. Any entrance that people or pets use should be protected. Use mats inside and outside main entrances to eliminate as much dirt as possible from getting on your floors. Try to avoid rubber-backed mats since they can lock in moisture and damage or discolour wood floors. It’s also important to wipe wet paws when your pets enter the home and clip dogs’ toenails.

• Control humidity indoors. Both moist and dry air can affect wood. Cold, dry air in a home can be problematic because the wood’s moisture can eventually evaporate into the air. The heat will suck that moisture from the flooring, causing it to shrink, creak, splinter, and become more brittle. The humidifier for your home’s HVAC system can keep a moderate amount of humidity in the house. Hardwood floorboards can accommodate minor temperature and humidity fluctuations.

• Clean up the salt. Salt that keeps sidewalks and streets clear of snow and ice inadvertently gets tracked inside a home. Hard chunks of salt can scratch wood floors, and, if left to sit, salt can eventually cause white marks and other stains. Routinely vacuuming and sweeping up salt is necessary to protect your floors. Follow up by mopping with a moist microfiber pad.

• Use the right cleaning products. Avoid excessive water to clean wood floors and select soaps that are specially designed for wood flooring. Wipe up spills promptly to prevent water from warping boards or damaging the finish. Consult with a flooring manufacturer for a list of detergents that are safe to use.

• Beware of buildup. Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, vinegar, wax, polish, or oil soaps, any of which can dull or etch a topcoat and cause refinishing problems down the road. Not sure what’s in your cleaner? Try this test: Spray it on a window and let it dry. If it leaves a residue or an oily film, toss it.

With proper care, hardwood flooring can survive rain, snow, and cold weather.