School's Out - Protect Your Investment

School's out for summer! That also means kids and dogs are probably spending more time outdoors and tracking more of the outside into your home. Don't worry, though. Whether the dog is digging in the backyard or pool party guests are tracking water inside, the following tips from the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) can help you keep your real wood floors looking their best.
by Libby White Johnston
May 28, 2019

School’s out for summer! That also means kids and dogs are probably spending more time outdoors and tracking more of the outside into your home. Don’t worry, though. Whether the dog is digging in the backyard or pool party guests are tracking water inside, the following tips from the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) can help you keep your real wood floors looking their best.

Try to have kids leave dirty shoes at the door or at least wipe shoes off on an outdoor rug. Place breathable throw rugs at doorways to help prevent dirt and debris from being tracked inside. Are you lucky enough to live near the beach? We’re all jealous, but be especially sure to rinse off sandy feet before going inside because sand can cause some scratches if dragged across the floor. Sweep floors regularly with a broom or dust mop, or even vacuum using the bare floor setting.

Remember not to use wet mops or steam mops, as they can damage your floor’s finish and the wood. Standing water can cause cracks, splits, cupping, warping, degradation of the finish, and leave a discoloring residue. If kids or guests spill drinks on the floor or track in pool or saltwater, wipe it up immediately with a dry or slightly damp cloth.

Before heading outside, you probably cover yourself and the kids with SPF to guard against the sun’s harmful rays. Did you know that the sun can affect wood floors too? While some coatings provide defense, repeated sun exposure over long periods of time can cause any floor to fade or change color. Protect wood floors by keeping window blinds and curtains closed during peak times of the day for sunlight and consider adding tint to windows as well.

If you leave on vacation, don’t forget that wood floors need a consistent environment, so don’t completely shut off the A/C. Wood is a natural product that loses and gains moisture based on the moisture in the air surrounding it. During the summer months when humidity is higher, wood floors can swell. This is a normal reaction, but according to the NWFA, you can minimize these changes in your floors by maintaining your home between 60-80 degrees and 30-50 percent humidity.

Keep in mind that if your wood floors need a little extra TLC such as a recoat or a complete sand and refinish, summer can be one of the most convenient times to get this done. While flooring work is underway, you might have to avoid a room or area of the home. If you are already planning to be out of the house on vacation, you can avoid any potential disruptions to everyday life and let beautiful wood floors welcome you home!

Read more about scheduling summer maintenance and finding an NWFA professional for the job here.