As temperatures are cooling in Iowa, snow, slush, and salt will be on the roads, which can be tracked into your home, and you may be concerned about caring for your hardwood floors. There are three primary effects winter weather can have on hardwood floors. Here’s our expert advice to prevent damage this winter. 

Low Humidity 

Similar to Iowa’s hot summers and high humidity affecting hardwood, the frigid, low humidity levels in winter can also impact it. Dry air, coupled with heaters taking humidity from homes, can lead to the drying out of hardwood floors and cause thin gaps between planks.

Fortunately, contraction in wood floors is a natural response to colder, dryer conditions. Normally, when the spring and summer seasons arrive, hardwood floors return to their normal state.

How to Combat Low Humidity in Winter 

A few solutions can help mitigate humidity levels to stay within the ideal range of 35 percent to 50 percent.

  • Purchase a humidity meter to check and regulate humidity levels.
  • Place humidifiers in rooms with low humidity or where gaps have appeared. 
  • Install humidifiers on your heating system.
  • Set your heat to stay on and not too low when leaving for an extended period.

Snow, Salt, and Ice Melt 

Snow, salt, and other ice melts can negatively affect hardwood floors. Tracked-in snow, water, salt, and snow-melting particles can damage, scratch, corrode, and leave an ugly white residue on hardwood floors.

How to Avoid Snow, Salt, and Ice Melt on Your Hardwood Floors in Winter 

To avoid tracking outdoor particles inside, there are easy and affordable ways to protect your floors. 

  • Put mats by doors to reduce the entry of outdoor materials.
  • Remove shoes before entering, letting them dry on a waterproof mat by the door.
  • For businesses, invest in high-quality waterproof mats near entrances.
  • Vacuum frequently to eliminate unwanted particles brought indoors.
  • Use cleaning solutions designed to handle winter debris recommended by a flooring professional.

A Pipe Burst 

One of the most severe and costly issues for hardwood floors is a pipe burst. When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes can break, causing water to spew onto hardwood floors, leading to cracks and the need for refinishing. We have personally been witness to this happening to customers and it is devastating and extremely expensive.

How to Prevent a Pipe Burst in Winter 

Follow these simple rules to avoid pipes bursting in your home this winter. 

  • Do not allow your home’s temperature to fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Allow a sink to drip water to release pressure in pipes.
  • Buy insulated pipes. 
  • Turn off the water to your home if you are leaving town; winter or summer.

Protect Your Hardwood Floors With Barnum  

Your hardwood floors are an investment in your home, and protecting them throughout the winter is crucial to maintaining their integrity. With over 25 years of experience, call us today to answer all your hardwood floor care questions and projects!