Hardwoods…Don’t panic! Gaps and cracks can be normal during the winter

The winter months are full of holiday cheer and the nights are made for snuggling. Winter means cold weather, ice, snow and damage to wood floors. Scratches from salt/melting materials, and flooring gaps are some of the biggest problems that people with hardwood floors must worry about.

Preventative measures can stop problems before they pop up.

When the weather outside is frightful and damp, people will bring wet feet from snow, ice, water, and melting materials inside with them. These can cause a whole host of problems.

Dried salt leaves an unsightly white residue on floors. It can also scratch your floors. Water from melted snow can damage a floor’s finish. How can you stop the madness?

The best way to ward off damage to your hardwood floors during the winter months is to place mats near all entrances that lead outside. These will help reduce the amount of snow, sand, and salt tracked into your house.

Mats alone cannot protect your floors. You should vacuum often, especially near entryways. Then, use a hardwood floor cleaner, Bona is a great product to reduce any abrasive materials that are still present.

Don’t panic! Gaps and cracks can be normal during the winter.

Solid hardwood floors will have gaps when the humidity increases, and contract when it decreases. During the winter months, when the heat is cranked up to a consistent temperature the relative humidity in the air drops. Most floors will respond to this.

There’s no real solution to these gaps, but they do usually not cause concern. Contraction and expansion are wood’s natural reactions to the conditions in its environment. In fact, if you don’t allow wood in the room it needs to move, you can end up with damaged floors.

You should consider putting a humidifier in the rooms with hardwoods that are showing issues. You will typically have to deal with winter-related flooring gaps until spring. Once the heat is turned off and the relative humidity increases, the floors will expand again.