Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips for Hardwood Floors for the Cold Weather

Winter is starting to show itself in some place. We want you to enjoy your hardwood floors in the summer, winter, spring, and fall. I asked our tech and install team at Lumber Liquidators to give us some tips to help you keep your floors looking their best, even when old man winter is at his worst.

* For areas of the country that get lots of snow especially, DO NOT track snow covered shoes or boots onto your hardwood floors. Use an outside mat and another inside mat to catch the moisture. Take your shoes off the door and move them to a place off of the hardwood flooring. In many places where there is a lot of snow, ice-melt (or snow salt) can get stuck in the bottom of shoes and boot and create grit and scratch the wood floors if you aren't careful. Homes that have a garage, it is best to enter through the garage and leave shoes and boots by the garage door before entering.

* Many people find it helpful to keep rags or mops near the entryway of their home, at the ready for when snow or water clean up is needed.

* Some heating systems can lower the humidity level in your home. Low humidity levels can cause the wood flooring to contract and create gaps between planks. Low humidity levels can also create cupping and checks in the wood. It is key to use a hygrometer to maintain the humidity to the recommended levels written by the floor manufacturers installation instructions. Hygrometers can be helpful and are inexpensive ($7-$30).

* Not only wood flooring, but fine furniture and plaster walls can suffer from very low indoor humidity. The goal is to maintain recommended/target humidity levels of 35-55%. Many HVAC units can be professionally retro fitted with APRIL AIR or similar equipment designed to add moisture back into dry homes.

* Wood burning stoves and fireplaces offer cozy but very dry heat. You can add needed moisture back into your home simply by putting a kettle full of water on the wood stove, thereby adding moisture back into the dry air.

* DON'T FORGET TO ACCLIMATE!!!! Many products are stored in warehouses where the temperatures are less than ideal. It is up to the customer/installer to correctly acclimate materials to in-home conditions before installation. The stores are there to store and inventory the materials safely.

* If you plan on installing in the winter, many of our adhesives are moisture cure urethanes which require some air humidity for them to cure. If the air is very dry due to your heating system, it will take longer for the adhesive to cure. Most adhesive manufacturers will have a Temperature/Humidity chart in their instructions that will tell you how long it will take the product to cure.

* Nail guns should be allowed to warm up and should be oiled before use. Using cold nailers can cause the nails to stick or get stuck and could cause internal damage.

* Adhesives should also be brought into the house before installation. Cold adhesives will not spread very well. Many adhesive companies require the adhesive to be store at temperatures between 50F and 100F.

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