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Keeping wood floors beautiful during the winter months is especially challenging.  Salt, sand, and snow may keep our cars on the road but they are not good for the health and beauty of wood flooring.

Here are 4 tips to help you get through the winter months:

Water and Wood Don’t Mix

Since wood is a living, breathing product, it is especially easy to damage with water.  Wood that is allowed to stay wet will eventually become so damaged that it will turn black. Once stained, the only way to fix the problem is to remove and replace the damaged boards and refinish.

The best winter advice is to keep your wood floors dry.  Using a floor mat or small carpet in the entry to wipe snowy boots and shoes dry is a good start.   Better yet, get into the habit of taking off your shoes at the door.  Comfy slippers are so much nicer in the house in the winter anyway and won’t track in snow.  It’s an easy, free solution that just requires a little thought and planning.  If you do track in water, be sure to wipe it up right away with a clean dry cloth.

Salt Melts Ice for a Reason

Salt has a very high PH level that is especially bad for wood flooring. You can see the problem almost immediately when salt has been tracked in – there is an awful white film on your beautiful floor!

Many cleaning gurus recommend vinegar in water to remove salt, but true flooring experts such as Sequoia know that vinegar will damage your wood floor’s finish.  We recommend only mild cleaners with no vinegar or wax in them.  See the cleaning instructions from the experts who installed your wood flooring.

We use Bona wood flooring products and recommend the Bona wood floor mop. This tool is really helpful with cleaning the floor without damaging the protective finish.

Warm Air Dries Out Wood

The most popular heating choices in New England such as oil or wood stoves tend to lower the humidity levels in the house and that combination dries wood.  As wood dries it cracks, allowing crevices for water and other damaging elements to penetrate the flooring.

Investing in a humidifier that won’t promote mold spores and other allergens will not only keep your wood flooring looking good, it will help your entire family with health issues such as allergies.  Moisture levels should be around 45 to 48%. This will acclimate the floor to proper levels and keep a check on static electricity.

Professional Solutions

With all our best efforts, winter does take a toll on wood flooring.  To counteract the damaging effects of snow, salt and heat, it is best to keep your floors in top-notch condition.  Only a certified flooring specialist like Sequoia can bring the expertise you need to remedy the cracks and staining of winter.  Re-finishing floors in a timely manner will save replacing them in the long term – and you’ll have many years to enjoy their beauty while indoors from the harsh reality of winter!