By Gaea Marelle Miranda, M.Sc.Dec 9 2008
Image Credit: haveseen/Shutterstock.com
When preparing one's home for the holidays, it is fun to focus on decorating the tree and whipping up festive meals. However, wet footprints, spills from family gatherings, and stains from excited pets can take their toll on wood floors. This article offers tips on how to protect wood floors during seasonal activities:
If decorating a live tree, place a sheet of plastic, followed by a mat, under a water-holding tree stand. Since keeping the tree fresh requires watering, this will protect wood floors from any water damage.
In keeping the tree alive during the holidays and protecting the wood floors simultaneously, avoid using a bed sheet or towel, as these are more likely to damage the wood. Instead, use an absorbent mat that could be placed on top of the plastic sheet. It would also be helpful to vacuum and sweep the area before actually putting in the tree. This ensures that the wood floors are thoroughly cleaned before installation.
The scent of a fresh tree can increase pet activity, so watch if pets sniff around the tree and wipe up accidents as they happen. Pet urine will eat the floor's finish, and if unattended, will continue to eat through the whole board, turning it dark.
There are new wooden floor options that are made “scratch-free” to protect from any pet-related activity; however, if this option cannot be arranged, sanding could also be a potential solution. It is essential to try sanding first at a smaller area to see if it works with the wood; if not, recoating using more coats and a tougher finish could be applied.
Heavy foot traffic, spilled drinks, and ground-in dirt left by holiday parties can age wood floors. Use area mats at entryways, especially in bad weather. Clean up spills with a damp cloth or mop and never over-wet the floor. Run a dry mop over the floor in line with the boards, not against the grain. Dry mopping is the best way to prevent floor damage because it removes gritty dirt that dulls the finish.
Rock salt and other snow melting products can ruin a floor's finish, leave a film, or cause spotting. Avoid placing rock salt at entryways where it can be tracked into the house or have guests remove their shoes before entering.
There is no estimated lifetime of wooden floors. Daniel Praz of Mr. Sandless advises that the protection of such materials is key to ensuring that they stay in good condition for many years.
This article was updated on 24th February, 2020.
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