The winter months can be particularly brutal on floors. Rain, snow, mud and salt are more abundant during the cold season, and can be easily dragged into your home. This is further exacerbated by the influx of visiting family and holiday guests, children and pets. Winter debris can scratch, stain and cause serious damage to floors.
I’ve assembled some tips to help your floors survive the winter unscathed and to keep them looking fresh and clean throughout the season and for many more to come.
Create a barrier
The first rule seems obvious, but it is also highly effective: create a barrier between your floor and the incoming onslaught of debris. This can be achieved by applying sealants and laying down rugs, mats and runners.
Floor sealants can protect hardwood, tile or stone from scratches or water damage. Carpets too can be sprayed with waterproofing sealants to prevent stains from taking hold. You will need to reapply regularly as foot traffic will wear these sealants away.
Use rugs, mats and runners
For extra protection, mats, rugs and runners are easy to put down and highly effective. Washable mats should be placed inside and outside your entry doors to make it easy for people to wipe their shoes. If you live in a particularly snowy or muddy area, it may also make sense to have a boot scraper.
Inside your home, rugs and hallway runners can add warmth and protect the underlying flooring. Be sure to secure them with a rubberized under-pad to prevent slippage.
Make it easy to remove and store footwear correctly
Once you’ve created a defensive layer, the next step is to reduce potential damage by minimizing contact with the footwear that drags the debris into your home in the first place.
Make it easy for your guests to remove boots and shoes at the door by providing a clearly visible area for storage where they can be kept safe and organized. There is a range of trays, shelves and baskets available that will make this easy for your family and your guests.
If you find that your feet get cold without shoes, or that your pets or children leave small toys on the floor, you may be more comfortable wearing slippers indoors to keep feet warm and protected.
Sweep, vacuum and clean frequently
Even after you’ve set up your rugs, mats and runners, and kept your shoes off the floor, dirt, salt, small rocks and other debris can still be tracked in. So it’s important to clean your floors regularly by sweeping or vacuuming.
Some dirt may be too small to see with the naked eye, but when you step on it, it’s ground into the floor and may scratch and damage the surface permanently. A good practice is to sweep or vacuum every few days or weekly, depending on the level of foot traffic your home sees.
Your floors are particularly vulnerable throughout the winter months as snow, ice, dirt and moisture are more abundant outdoors, and therefore more likely to be picked up. But by taking the steps to create a barrier, provide the tools to keep shoes stored properly, and by keeping your home clear of debris, you can give your floors a longer lifespan and keep them looking fresh for many winters to come. •
Bryan Baeumler, star of the hit HGTV series Island of Bryan, is the brand ambassador for HeyBryan, the app that connects homeowners with vetted, trusted home-maintenance experts to complete small tasks around the house. HeyBryan is currently available in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver.