White Oak Flooring: Effective Maintenance Tips For Winter

December 14, 2020by LV Flooring0
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Winter is upon us. And it often comes with extreme cold, ice, and other elements. If you have white oak flooring in your home, these elements can affect your flooring. To preserve your home’s beauty, you need specific winter maintenance tips for white oak flooring. With these tips, you not only preserve your flooring but also save yourself expenses related to repairing your floor.

White oak floors are made from strong materials with a pure classy appearance. They are also designed to withstand lots of abuse from kids, pets and indoor movement. To cap it off, they are usually a significant investment.

This is why it is important to know how to maintain white oak flooring in winter. Equally important is knowing how to protect white oak flooring from winter elements. The dry air, ice and snow that accompany the winter season adds to the damage on your flooring. 

How then do you cope with the dry air in winter? In this article, we will provide detailed tips on how to maintain white oak flooring in winter. Also, we will explore the effects of dry air and water on white oak flooring. Follow these maintenance tips and preserve the quality of your flooring.

White Oak Flooring: Common Winter Problems

Before we delve into maintenance tips for white oak flooring, we will discuss the problems associated with winter. These are the maintenance issues to expect with your flooring now that winter is upon us.

Freezing temperature 

A common problem with the winter season is the dry air that accompanies it. The winter may be mild for some people and can be very cold for many. To stay warm, many people crank up their furnaces to heat up their houses. The heat from the furnace will consequently reduce the humidity in your home.

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air. It is because of this low level of moisture that you feel a certain dryness in the air. The dryness does not affect you alone, it also affects your flooring and other materials in your home. 

At low temperatures, woods and other materials will begin to contract. This contraction causes wood to tear. Also, the contraction creates gaps in your flooring. These gaps accumulate dirt and make your house look very untidy. 

The tears and gaps that winter give your flooring can cost you a fortune in repairs. It is why it is important to know how to maintain white Oak flooring in winter.

Scratches on the floor

Residents in Brampton and other areas of Canada should be familiar with de-icing. De-icing trucks spread salts on streets, highways, and sidewalks. De-icing ensures that it is safe to drive in the weather. However, these salts will stick to the bottom of your boots and shoes, following you into your home. 

You may be extra careful, but your children and pets may not. Having children around may make maintaining white oak flooring difficult. As they move around, they unknowingly bring particles into your home and spread them around.

Salt particles at the bottom of your boots can cause scratches on your flooring. Leaving salt particles for a long time without cleaning will leave white stains and white marks on your white oak flooring.

Also, in moving furniture and appliances around the house, your floor can get scratches. These scratches can reduce the shines of your flooring, making it unattractive. 

Related article: Cost of Installing White Oak Flooring

Moisture 

Ice and snow are one common way moisture gets into your home. It is not uncommon to see children play outside during winter together with their pets. They drag snow and ice into the house after playing. Apart from the scratches caused by snow and ice, these have other effects on your floor. 

When snow and ice melt, they are absorbed into plank gaps in your floor. When this occurs, it can greatly damage your flooring, causing it to warp and bloat. However, the feet of children and pets are not the only means by which moisture gets inside. An uncommon way is the house decorations. 

It is not uncommon to find Christmas trees and decorations in homes during winter. Conversely, it is rather common that people do not know how to water them. In watering them, there may be spills on the floor. We often advise that you try as much as you can to avoid spilling water on white oak flooring. 

If there is a spill, ensure that you clean it immediately. There are two effects of moisture on white oak flooring. They include: 

  • Cupping: It occurs when white oak floors come in contact with moisture. The surface of contact with water dries faster than the bottom. It is because of this that you find the centre of boards slightly higher than the edges. 
  • Buckling: Buckling is when your floor separates from the bottom. It occurs when white oak floors have been exposed to moisture for a long time. It is one of the most extreme problems of white oak flooring in winter.

Knowing how to clean the floor in winter

Most people do not know how to maintain a white oak floor properly. The winter season affects how you clean your floor. In the winter session, your floorboards are different than they used to be.

They now shrink, easily get stains, and are easily affected by moisture. For lasting flooring, you must know the maintenance tips for white oak flooring in winter. 

It is also important that you know how to remove debris from your flooring. Also, there’s a need to know what cleaner to use and how frequently you should clean. 

Maintenance Tip For White Oak Flooring: How To Protect Your Flooring In The Winters 

Having discussed the problems associated with white oak flooring, we shall look at some solutions. Not in any order, below are maintenance tips that will help preserve your white oak flooring in winter. 

Maintain high humidity 

Low levels of humidity will affect your flooring, making it contract. Also, high levels of humidity can affect your flooring, making it absorb water and expand. Maintaining humidity levels is essential to protect your flooring in the winter session.

Humidity levels are usually low during winter. These low levels of humidity can cause your floor to shrink and create gaps. A very effective way to maintain humidity levels is to install a humidifier.

The humidifier will keep the humidity range of your home at 30-50%. This is the standard humidity level. Even when you install hardwood flooring during the winter season, a humidifier can help you keep gaps and shifting to a minimum.

Snow and ice 

Another important tip is to protect your white oak flooring from winter elements like snow and ice. Sometimes though, tracking snow and ice in your home is unavoidable. 

When ice and snow melt, your floor absorbs the moisture. As you well know, moisture is bad for white oak flooring. There are steps to protect your white oak flooring from moisture in winter. They include:

  • Doormats: Provide doormats at the entrance of your home and places with high traffic. Ensure that guests and children clean their feet on doormats before coming into the house.
  • Shoe rack: Place a shoe rack at the entrance and ensure that people take off their shoes. It will save you the stress of regular cleaning and scratches. 

Educate family and visitors 

It is not enough to have a shoe rack, doormats and good cleaning habits without letting visitors knowing why. Let your family and friends know the importance of maintaining your white oak flooring in winter.

This way, they can take special care whenever they are in your home. They will clean spills quickly and avoid tracking in snow.

Furthermore, letting people know the kind of shoe policy that you have will save you lots of cleaning. If friends know that you do not allow shoes into the home, you won’t have to bother about regular cleaning. Also, you can train your pets to always clean their paws by the entrance.

Holiday decorations 

Most people like the look and feel of Christmas trees. Having a Christmas tree at home is beautiful but it can be a problem for your floor in winter. While watering them, you can get spills on the floor. We often advise that you immediately clean up spills while watering.

Furthermore, we recommend that you use tree skirts but avoid those with rubber backings. Those with rubber backings contain chemicals that can change the colour of your floors. Equally important is cleaning up fallen pine needles to avoid scratches.

Consistent cleaning habits 

A popular maintenance tip for white oak flooring in winter is to know how to clean it. When cleaning white oak floors, you should follow specific procedures. Below are cleaning steps to protect your white oak flooring in winter.

  • Clear debris and dust with a vacuum or soft-bristled broom before water cleaning your floors. 
  • When using a vacuum, ensure that you choose a hard or high floor setting to avoid patches.
  • Choose a mop designed for hard floor mopping. We often advise that you do away with old string mops.
  • Always use cleaning products designed for white oak flooring. Products designed for white oak flooring contain ingredients that will protect your floor. Equally important is reading the product’s instructions before use.

Boost the look of scratches on your floor 

Scratches can spoil the look of white oak floors. An effective method to minimize scratches is to use pads beneath the furniture. Movable furniture like chairs can scratch your floor and ruin its looks. Also, provide indoor slippers and encourage visitors to always use them. 

However effective the steps above are, it is almost impossible to eliminate the possibility of scratches. If you do have scratches on your white oak flooring, you can try the following: 

  • Use blending pencils and markers designed for wood to brush up scratches. In some cases, you may need a combination of pencils or markers for the right colouration.
  • Try dabbing scratches with coconut oil. Dabbing with coconut oil is a cost-effective solution that conceals scratches. 
  • Always go for quality products that will repair and cover scratches on your floor.

Consider engineered flooring

There are several benefits to installing engineered hardwood flooring in winter. Engineered white oak flooring does not contract or expand in fluctuating temperatures and humidity. This way, you can be sure there will not be gaps in your floor during the winter session. 

To Wrap It Up 

Maintaining a white oak floor in winter may not be that difficult after all. In this article, we have highlighted winter problems associated with white oak flooring. We discuss how ice, snow and salt can cause scratches on your floor. Also, we explain how moisture can ruin the beauty of your floors.

The best part is we have provided solutions to common winter problems you may have with your white oak flooring. Maintaining proper cleaning habits cannot be underemphasized. It is essential to clear debris before wet-cleaning white oak floors. Also, your choice of cleaning product is equally essential when cleaning.

If you have scratches on your floor, we advise that you use blending pencils and markers. Dabbing with coconut oil is a cost-effective maintenance tip for white oak flooring. 

Do you need help maintaining your white oak flooring? LV flooring is home to experts that can help you with your installation and refinishing needs. We can also help with transitioning to engineered white oak flooring. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!

Related article: White Oak or Red Oak: Which Is Best Flooring?

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