There are so many things to get excited about during the holiday season. Cooler weather, fantastic food, and visiting with family, to name just a few.
During this time of year at Real Wood Floors, we think about how our homes serve as a warm gathering place for family and friends. With that in mind, don’t forget about caring for your hardwood floors during this season, and all year-round for that matter.
We don’t always think about Christmas trees, area rugs, or houseplants as potential areas of care and concern, but they can be.
Here are 3 tips to make the season bright (and the new year, too) for your wood floors.
1. Avoid leaks, scratches, and sap issues with your Christmas tree.
Christmas trees and their stands can cause problems for your floors.
In order to keep your Christmas tree looking green and pert, you have to put water into the stand’s reservoir somewhat frequently depending on the size of your tree, the warmth of your home, and how thirsty your Tánnenbaum gets.
Make sure your reservoir didn’t get punched with any holes while being stored in your attic or basement in the off season. You don’t want the tree stand to have any leaks because standing water, for even just a few days, will stain and damage your floor. Consider the damage if water is left on wood for several weeks. Investigate the tree stand’s reservoir for any leaks and be careful when watering. Don’t allow water to splash out onto the floor anywhere, particularly behind the tree where it might be tough to see it.
A lot of metal tree stands can easily scratch up your floor. If you use a metal stand, place a small rug or something similar beneath it to protect the wood.
Lastly, if the tree is overly sappy, then do your best to clean up the sap while it’s wet and before it stiffens on the floor because then it can be really tough to get up. If caught early, sap is relatively easy to clean, and of course we recommend a typical flooring cleaner such as our Real Clean Floors, which you can purchase online. After all, you don’t want residue chasing you into January!
2. Be careful with rug placement.
With rugs, you have a different set of issues. We like area rugs. We don’t discourage rugs on wood floors, and we think there are a lot of good reasons to use them. For instance, we encourage folks to utilize walk-off mats at doorways (essential for cleaner floors and fewer scratches from grit) and also to place accent rugs in rooms where you want that added decorative feature.
The caveat is to remember that anywhere a rug is placed, in time, you will get a slight difference in your wood floor’s color based on where the rug is and how much the rest of the room’s wood floor is exposed to light.
If you plan to never move the rug, then there will be a color differential between that area and the rest of the floor. If you don’t wish to have this color difference, then you can protect against it by moving the rug around the room or off the floor completely on a regular basis to get a variation of light exposure. In this way, the outline of the rug never becomes prominent.
If you find that you already have a change in color caused by a rug, then take it up, and let the light hit there for a time (about the same amount of time the rug was there). This will even up the color. So there is no need to despair. Just let the sun do its work.
Also, we know that a lot of folks want to put a rug mat under the rug. Some rugs come with a matting, and some you’ll have to purchase separately. Most mats are okay for wood floors. However, on the cheaper end of mats—such as synthetic, rubber and urethane—these can cause damage to the finish of your floor, especially if it has a urethane finish. A urethane mat can cause etching, or even merge with the urethane in the flooring.
We recommend steering clear of these types of mats and going with natural rubber or felt. When purchasing, make sure the rug is safe for wood floors (and if necessary, those with a urethane finish).
3. Check your houseplants for condensation and rough edges.
While your Christmas tree is a temporary arrangement (at least we hope so), your houseplants dwell in a permanent location.
You want to make sure the pots and containers for your houseplants obviously won’t leak or overflow. For containers with holes in the bottom, you can purchase drainage discs (sometimes together, sometimes sold separately) to ensure the water doesn’t flow out onto the floor or onto a surface where it can find its way to the floor.
If you have a bunch of ceramic pots and live in a high humidity environment, it is possible that the pot can form condensation. On cold days that warm up with humidity, if the pot stays cold, then condensation can form it, run down its sides, and create standing water.
Also, you want to avoid scratching in your floor. Some pots have rough edges, and if you move the plant while watering or give it a quarter-turn every so often to give it more sunlight, then there is the potential for scratches, and you don’t want that.
It’s a simple fix. If the bottom of the pot is a hard material like ceramic or terra cotta or even rough plastic, you can apply a layer of felt to the bottom, and you’ll get great protection. You can also get a rug mat if you wish.
With these 3 steps, you don’t have to worry about your Christmas trees, rugs, or houseplants being neglected at the holidays or wreaking havoc on your floors. You can leave that up to family and friends, right? <--last line, perfect or snarky?