With the holiday season about to ramp up to high gear, you’re undoubtedly planning to host your family and close friends for evenings filled with merriment and joy; and why not? If you’re like many homeowners you take great pride in opening up your home to those you hold most dear. Of course, the things that make your home as lovely as it is, like your hardwood flooring, is also prone to increased wear and tear during this time of year. Before you fling open your door to guests, arm yourself with these five steps to keep your floor looking its best.
Festive Door Mats & Rugs
Potential damage to your hardwood flooring starts at your front door. Adding a durable, festive mat or rug at your home’s threshold will help to reduce the amount of water, salt, and dirt that will enter your home. You might think that these are only really useful in places that get a lot of inclement weather, but all manner of things found on roads and sidewalks in temperate climes can also damage your floors. If you opt to place the doormat immediately inside your home instead of outside of it, it’s important that you choose one that does not have a rubber back; these can prevent trapped water from evaporating and seriously damage the underlying surface. Water damage often requires floorboards to be replaced entirely.
If this isn’t already common practice in your home, kindly ask any visitors to remove their footwear before entering your home. To facilitate this, make sure you place a large rubber boot tray adjacent to your door that your guests can use to place their wet footwear. Not only will this approach mean you’ll spend less time scrubbing your floors over the holidays, but it will also essentially guarantee that nothing damages or needlessly stresses the fine surface of your flooring.
If you are hosting a particularly large group at one time, requesting shoe removal may not be practical. A few carefully placed area rugs from the entryway to the entertaining space can help mitigate the previously mentioned damage and avoid a footwear management disaster.
A Fake Tree
Nothing beats the look and smell of a real Christmas tree, but the beauty and longevity of your hardwood flooring could pay a price for this seasonal authenticity. If you want to eliminate the risk of spilled water and sap, go for a reusable artificial tree; if having a real tree is itself a longstanding tradition that must be maintained, make sure that you have a properly sized base/watering tray to avoid potential spills. If over the course of the month your tree is a part of your home, you notice any spills, be sure to wipe them up right away.
Where hors d’oeuvres and drinks are served, there will always be spills. Make sure that any reported spills are cleaned promptly to avoid any long-lasting stains. Even if you’re confident nothing harmful has spilled over the course of the evening, make sure you perform at least a modest floor clean immediately after your final guests leave. Dirt can easily embed itself if not cleaned right away and that will make for more work and expense down the line. While it’s true that many tidying tasks can wait until the following day, a floor clean is not one of them.
If your home contains one or more four-legged family members who have free reign, keeping their claws short will go a long way to keeping your hardwood flooring looking great. Fortunately, scratches resulting from untrimmed claws can be buffed or filled quite easily, but it will require time and effort on your part; something that may be in short supply during the holidays.
Hopefully, your home will be the perfect backdrop for this year’s festivities. Increased foot traffic and wear and tear on your hardwood flooring should be the least of your worries. With any luck, the tips listed above will help you protect this cherished part of your home.