Your wood floors are one of the biggest assets in your home, so it’s important to give them the care they need. Caring for your wood floors doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you follow some common-sense rules throughout the year. Here are some of the steps you can take to ensure that your wood floors stay beautiful season after season and year after year.
Winter Wood Floor Care
One of the biggest threats to your wood floors during the cold winter months is low humidity. What happens when the humidity drops too low? Your wood floors respond to changes in humidity by shrinking and showing gaps between planks.
Chances are, if you start to experience dry, itchy skin and static electricity shocks, the humidity in your home is making your floor just as “uncomfortable” as you are! Pick up a hydrometer at your local hardware store and make sure the humidity levels don’t drop below 35%. A humidifier can also be added to your furnace to help replenish moisture lost by home heating.
Related Read: Top Humidifier Tips for Hardwood Floor Owners
Spring Wood Floor Care
Also known fondly as “mud season,” spring brings rain designed to green up your lawn, trees and other plants as they awaken from their winter slumber. However, rainfall combined with a thawing ground means there will be plenty of mud to dirty your wood floors.
A large, absorbent mat just inside each entrance will help keep that mud where it belongs and off your wood floors. Keep in mind, when mud dries, it turns hard and gritty. Try to keep your floors as grit-free as possible with regular dry mopping and vacuuming with an attachment designed to be gentle on wood floors. This will prevent any dents or scratches from dulling your wood floors.
Summer Wood Floor Care
Summer in Kansas City means plenty of heat and even more humidity. Just as too little humidity can damage your hardwood floors during the winter, too much humidity can cause them to expand and buckle during the summer. A good air conditioner should help a great deal, but again, you can refer to your trusty hydrometer to be certain humidity levels don’t rise above 55%.
Fall Wood Floor Care
Fall can also be a time of significant rainfall which enhances the colors of fall foliage and helps deciduous trees shed their leaves. Unfortunately, those brightly colored autumn leaves stick to people’s shoes and get tracked into your home. Again, make sure those all-important absorbent mats are in place at each of your home’s entrances. Droplets of water from wet shoes, day in and day out, can cause insidious damage to a wood floor’s finish over time.
Related Read: 6 Tips for Preparing Your Wood Floors for Fall
Take care of your hardwood floors by avoiding stomping around in high heels, which can dent them, or heavy-soled work or snow boots which tend to trap dirt in their treads. Always keep your floor as grit-free as possible, and make sure to replace felt pads under furniture, and give your floor an occasional gentle cleaning with a damp mop and a cleaner formulated especially for wood floors. (Note: Do not use “oil soap”, which tends to dull your floor’s finish.)
Refresh the finish on your wood floors every few years, and once a decade or so, have them professionally sanded and refinished. A combination of simple precautions and gentle, consistent maintenance will keep your wood floors in tiptop shape for decades!