How Can You Protect Your Hardwood Flooring From Winter Weather?

Between salt, snow and ice, those Cleveland winters can be hard on your hardwood floors! Salt can cause scratches, water can wear away your floor's finish and dry air can cause your floors to become brittle. Knowing how to protect your hardwood floors in winter can keep your home looking its best. These tips will help.

Use Waterproof Mats

Waterproof mats are your first line of defense against winter's snow and ice. In fact, it's important to put mats both inside and outside your home. The more mats you have, the more opportunities there will be to catch the salt and ice from the bottom of all shoes that enter through your doorstep.

Use an Alternate Doorway

If you have a side door or back door that leads to a laminate or vinyl floor, divert the foot traffic in your home to that door during the winter. Put up a sign on your front door directing everyone to use that alternate entrance. To make that door more inviting for guests, consider putting an exterior light up on your house that makes the doorway an obvious option.

Encourage Guests and Family to Take Off Shoes

Put up signs that politely tell people to remove their shoes when entering your home. Also, put a wooden box or basket by the door where shoes can be contained without getting in everyone's way. To make it clear what the basket or box is for, leave a pair of shoes in that place permanently.

Run a Humidifier

Over time, changes in humidity can cause your floorboards to become brittle or even crack. Dry air in winter can cause your floorboards to shrink. To prevent this from happening, run a humidifier in your home to keep humidity levels up.

Vacuum for Salt or Sand

Despite your mats, some salt may still make it into your house. Sweeping up the salt can scratch your floors. Instead of sweeping, try vacuuming salt (or sand, if that's what you've used on the ice outside) to keep your floors clear.

Clean and Condition Your Floor More Frequently

Clean your floors more often than usual to wipe up any salt crystals still on the floor after vacuuming. Use a damp (but not wet) mop. To condition the floor, add a touch of olive oil to the water and floor cleaner mixture. This will keep your floors shiny, supple and resistant to water.

For more tips and information, talk to an expert at He or she will be able to answer your questions and talk to you about ways that you can preserve your hardwood floors this winter.