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Winter Care for Your Denver Hardwood Floors

As winter in Denver brings in excess moisture from rain, snow, ice, and slush, we must take extra steps to avoid damaging hardwood floors.  With a few changes to your cleaning routine, you can easily protect your floors against excess moisture, humidity changes, and damaging winter debris.
  • Excess Moisture:  Usually moisture on hardwood floors can be avoided.  Excess moisture left unattended can warp floors and cause gaps between boards. Make sure when entering your home everyone removes their wet shoes in a safe and dry area.  If you’re already using protective floor mats, make sure your mats can handle wet shoes. If you have pets, be sure to clean their paws after coming inside from the elements before they walk on your hardwood flooring.  A few extra swipes with a dry mop are are also a great way to reduce excess moisture and water.
  • Humidity Changes:  We’ve recently addressed how to handle gaps in your hardwood floor.  The cold, dry winter air makes floors contract, which can leave noticeable spaces in your floors.  Excessive humidity issues can lead to crowning and cupping, where the center is higher than edges (crowning) or the floor boards are higher at the edges than at the center (cupping). In extreme situations, floors may even buckle, separating itself from the subfloor.  When dealing with humidity changes, the most important thing to remember is that floors expand and contract naturally. Be proactive during winter by utilizing humidifiers to get your home at the right level of humidity.  An acceptable range for humidity would be 40-60%.  It is important to understand that the winter will dry out wood no matter what, increasing squeaks, opening surface cracks, and creating gaps.  Knowing what to expect as the seasons change along with taking some preventative steps will help keep winter gapping to a minimum and go a long way towards maintaining the look and feel of your hardwood floors.
  • Winter Debris:  Grit and debris get tracked indoors year-round, but this issue is greater during the winter.  Rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride, while they are great at melting ice on the roadways and walkways, it does damage to floors and finishes as well as leaves a greasy film once tracked indoors.  The best way to avoid harmful debris is to prevent it from entering your home.  Placing coarse mats at the exterior entrances of your home can help prevent large chunks of debris from entering.  A more absorbent and finer floor mat will remove more debris from shoes and boots once inside, as well as absorb any excess moisture.  Be sure to change and clean your indoor and outdoor mats to prevent a buildup up of debris and moisture. 
The winter elements can potentially cause great damage, but a little extra care is all that is needed to keep your Denver hardwood floors looking elegant and beautiful.  Considering having your hardwood floors refinished, repaired, or installed?  Contact TGB Flooring today and we’ll be more than happy to address your flooring needs.