It is the most wonderful time of the year! …but not always for your hardwood floors. Between weather, hosting parties, and decorating, holiday festivities can take a toll on your floors. A great article by Daniel J. Praz of Mr. Sandless, points out 4 things to watch out for during the holidays, in order to protect your wood floors.
1. Christmas Trees
“Water is the enemy of wood, and if left sitting long enough in one spot, can cause a great deal of damage. This is true even if you have real hard wood, soft woods, pre-finished board and especially laminates,” explains Praz.
But as you know, a live Christmas tree needs to be watered regularly in order to stay fresh throughout the season. To avoid damage to your floors we recommend laying down a folded sheet or blanket on the floor where the tree would go. Then cover it in a small tablecloth or sheet of plastic before placing the tree stand on top. A tree skirt can then easily cover the plastic sheet, and although it will be out of sight, it will protect your floors against any water that may spill out of the tree stand when watering.
Praz writes, “Pet stains are the number one problem found in wood floors. It only takes about 24 hours before bacteria forms in urine left on a floor, and the bacteria will quickly eat away your finish. If left unnoticed, it will continue to eat right through the entire board and turn it dark.”
No one wants that! But with all the buzz and distractions of the holidays, pet activity can go unnoticed at times. Make a conscious effort to keep an eye out for sniffing around the tree, and be sure to wipe up problems quickly if they do occur.
Celebrating with friends and family is a highlight of the holiday season, and you may be especially excited to show off your home if you have recently installed new hardwood floors. But remember, “Extra traffic, spilled drinks and ground-in dirt during a party can really age a floor quickly. To protect your floors,” Praz suggests, “Be certain to have area mats by hard entry points to your home, especially during bad weather.“
4. Rock Salt (and other Snow Melting Products)
For much of the country, last year’s winter brought lots of snow, and predictions for this upcoming winter are looking similar. Although a winter wonderland is beautiful, the chemical found in rock salt (and other snow melting products) can ruin your wood floor very quickly.
Praz points out, “If these items are used in close proximity to your entryways, the material that does not dissolve can easily stick to your shoes and be tracked in to your home. Left on any type of wood floor, they will cause damage to the finish quickly and leave your floor looking filmy and spotty.” Try to avoid using these products near entryways, purchase a few extra welcome mats (for inside and out), and suggest that family members remove their shoes upon entering.
As Praz reminds us, “How long your wood floors last will be determined by how they are cared for.” Take the time to protect your floors this holiday season so they can be enjoyed for many more years!