How to Winterize Hardwood Floors in Winter

Hardwood floors can go a long way to enhance any room's appearance, but they do require a lot of care in their maintenance. Winter is when the sudden drop in temperatures requires you to take extra care of your body, especially the skin. Similarly, hardwood floors tend to react to the atmosphere they are in, so it's a good idea to plan ahead and winterize your hardwood floors.

During summers, the porous nature of hardwood in floors makes them absorb moisture and cause them to expand. This is the reason why they will have gaps maintained between tile and the baseboard to allow them to expand. In winters, people will tend to close all doors and windows and take a lot of care to keep the heat in and the cold out. This will result in the moisture being reduced and there will be less humidity in the air that the hardwood floors are in. This can result in the tiles shrinking, showing larger gaps in floors, and can also result in some tiles cracking in the center. These gaps will go away as soon as the moisture level is brought back to the normal level. 

Maintaining Moisture Levels

For the proper winterizing of your hardwood floor, you must maintain moisture levels like those that occur in summer. You can do this by installing a humidifier and preferably a humidity meter that will allow you to check the level of humidity. Ideally, levels should  be between 40 and 60 percent to ensure minimal impact. Many of these humidifiers are portable and can be moved from room to room to create the needed atmosphere in each of them and cut down on buying more equipment for winterizing your hardwood floor. The heat in the room must also not be turned down too low. 

Regulate Humidity

You can also exercise the same care without humidifiers if you install a hygrometer in the room and take care to switch off the heating when this level goes below 30 percent. Heating rooms naturally by keeping all doors and windows closed is better than using heaters. Proper insulation of walls and other surfaces can help in maintaining a room’s warmth. This can result in floors feeling cold to the feet, but installing rugs and carpets in areas where you move around can help to keep your feet warm as well as the room itself.   

Reduce Tracking in Extra Moisture

During winter, the use of heavy winter wear will include thick shoes and other clothing that tend track in snow and mud. Take care to see that as part of the winter treatment for your hardwood floor, you ensure that this slush and dirt is not tracked inside the house and is kept out by using high quality mats and mud pans to stop the dirt at the door. Insist on all members of the family observing the discipline of removing shoes before entering the room where you have the hardwood floor. Mats used must be thick and durable and easy to clean.    

Proper Air Circulation

It is also necessary that during winters you see that the air is properly circulated in the room with hardwood floors so that heat is uniform throughout the room. Use fans or air deflectors to do this. It is important to keep drafts out of the room as this will make them that much warmer. You can also apply sealants to draft proof hardwood floors. Sealing of hardwood must be carried out only after the floors have been properly cleaned and all previous covering removed. These sealants will ensure that your hardwood floor is less affected by the changes in temperature and humidity.  

Hardwood floors are expensive options and require proper selection of the material that will be used. These floors will winterize better if care is taken to consider the expected weather conditions in the geographical area that your home is situated in. You must choose the material that is better treated and engineered for extreme weather conditions. The method of installing can also affect the way a hardwood floor will behave in the cold of winter. Floating floors will respond better than those fixed on to existing concrete floors.