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Protecting Your Wood Floors During Winter: Effective Maintenance Tips

Posted on June 23, 2023

Floor Sanding and Finishing News

Essential Winter Care for Wood Floors: A Detailed Guide | Home Maintenance Tips

When winter rolls around, it’s not just the outdoors that needs special attention; your indoor spaces, specifically wood floors, also require extra care. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary tips and tricks to help you maintain the pristine condition of your wood floors during the winter season.


Wood floors are a beautiful and long-lasting flooring choice, but they’re susceptible to damage from winter’s harsh conditions. Changes in temperature and humidity, coupled with the increased likelihood of tracking in snow, ice, and salt, can take a toll on your wood floors if not adequately managed. By taking a few proactive steps, you can protect your wood floors and keep them looking their best all winter.

Understanding the Impact of Winter on Wood Floors

Before diving into care tips, it’s essential to understand how winter conditions can affect your wood floors.

Fluctuations in Humidity Levels

As the outside temperature drops during the winter, so does the indoor humidity level. Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it reacts to changes in moisture content in the environment. In low humidity, wood contracts, which can lead to gaps between planks.

Debris and Moisture

Winter often means snow, ice, and rain. These elements, along with salt and sand used to melt ice on roads and sidewalks, can be tracked into your home. This debris can scratch your wood floors, while the excess moisture can cause warping and staining.

How to Protect Your Wood Floors During the Winter

Now that we understand the potential threats, let’s explore how to protect your wood floors during the winter.

Maintain Indoor Humidity levels.

To prevent your wood floors from contracting, strive to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Using a humidifier can help increase indoor humidity, while a hygrometer can monitor the levels. Remember, sudden fluctuations in humidity can be detrimental, so adjust settings gradually.

Regular Cleaning

Frequent cleaning can prevent the buildup of debris that could scratch your floors. Sweep or vacuum your floors regularly, but avoid using a vacuum with a beater bar, as it can damage the floor’s finish. Damp-mop your floors sparingly and ensure no standing water is left on the wood surface.

Use Protective mats.

Place mats at all entrances to catch snow, ice, salt, and sand. Look for non-skid, absorbent mats that can trap debris and moisture. Also, consider using a boot tray for wet footwear.

Implement a ‘No-Shoes’ Policy

To minimise the amount of winter debris tracked into your home, implement a strict no-shoes policy. Encourage family members and guests to leave their shoes at the door.

Repairing Winter Damage on Wood Floors

Despite your best efforts, your wood floors may suffer some winter damage. Here’s what you can do to restore them:

Fixing Gaps Between Planks

Once indoor humidity levels return to normal, most small gaps will close up naturally. For persistent gaps, you might need to call in a professional to refinish and fill them.

Dealing with Scratches and Scuffs

Minor scratches can often be handled with a wood touch-up kit. More severe scratches and gouges might require board replacement or professional refinishing.

Addressing Water Stains

Light water stains can be removed by lightly sanding the area and applying a matching wood finish. For darker stains, you might need to bleach the wood before refinishing.

Conclusion: Wood Floor Care in the Winter

Caring for your wood floors during the winter might require a little extra effort, but it is a worthwhile investment that can extend the lifespan of your floors. By taking a proactive approach to maintaining humidity levels, keeping your floors clean, and using protective measures like mats and a no-shoes policy, you can help prevent winter damage. And should any damage occur, knowing how to handle minor repairs can keep your wood floors looking their best throughout the season and beyond. Winter need not be a nemesis for your wood floors. With these care tips, your wood floors can continue to add warmth, beauty, and value to your home, no matter what the weather outside is like. Keep your wood floors shining through the winter and enjoy the cosy indoors during the chilly season!

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