Summer is an awesome time of year for every kind of fun; all that fun can do a number on your hardwood floors. Between the sun, water from storms and pools, and humidity (an unavoidable part of hot Wisconsin summers!), wood floors are vulnerable to water stains, damage to the finish, scratches, and fading.
As much as we love the summer sun, UV rays from sunlight can affect both polyurethane and urethane finishes. Some kinds of wood can also fade from damaging sun rays. The result is a faded wood and finish that doesn’t resemble the original finish you chose during installation.
How to protect your floors from fading:
Window treatments are the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your floors. During the day when the sunlight is brightest, draw your curtains or lower the shades to keep the sun’s damaging rays at bay.
For a long-term solution, choose new windows with low-e glass (more information about low-e glass windows here). Windows with low-e glass have a protective film that filter damaging rays out of your home, protecting the wood and finish of your floors. If new windows aren’t on the horizon, purchase a protective film for your existing windows that can minimize the fading to your floors.
High humidity is as much a part of our summer as ice cream and swimming. While it’s normal for wood floors to swell and shrink from humidity, repeated exposure to high humidity can crack or cause cupping to the floor boards.
How to protect your floors from high humidity:
The ideal humidity range for hardwood floors is between 35-55%. To ensure that the humidity in your home is in that range, purchase a hygrometer which can give you a read out of the moisture in the room or an appliance with a humidistat. If the humidity level is high, purchase a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Your air conditioner can also play a part in maintaining an ideal humidity range for your wood floors.
Between an occasional (or daily or hourly) dip in the lake or pool, or the surprise summer storms that come with summer, it’s hard not to track in a water puddle or two. Unfortunately, water puddles can cause stains and water damage to your wood floors.
How to protect your floors from water:
If you want to keep all water out of your home, place rugs by all your exterior doors. Ask guests to remove their shoes their shoes by the door and keep a soft towel close at hand to clean up all spills as soon as possible. For a home by a lake, pool, or hot tub, keep towels in a cabinet close to the pool or lake so everyone can dry off before they track water in.
Sand & gravel
Sand and gravel that gets stuck on your shoes (and everywhere else-just ask any kid in a sandbox or beach goer!) can damage your finish and scratch your floors.
How to protect your floors from sand and gravel:
It’s almost impossible to keep all small debris out of your home, but you can minimize the damage by asking your friends and guests to take off their shoes at the door (use these other organization tips for your mudroom). Vacuum up any debris you find so you are not dragging the sand and gravel across the floor.
- Sweep and vacuum your floor regularly.
- Do not use steam cleaners on your wood floors. They can damage your wood floor and void the warranty.
- Periodically deep clean your wood floors with approved hardwood cleaner so the floor is not damaged (even vinegar and water can harm the finish). Ask your local flooring store for a list of approved cleaners to keep your floor clean and damage-free.
- As you mop, don’t leave puddles. Wring out as much water as possible, and use fans to make sure the floor is completely dry when you are done.
- If you don’t have the time or expertise to deep clean your floors, schedule a deep cleaning with the professionals. They can keep your floor looking great and select the right materials for the job.