5 Tips to Protect Your Hardwood Floors and Plumbing From Winter

A wet hardwood floor.

Winterizing your home is a necessary project to take on if you live in colder temperatures. Failing to do so puts home owners at risk of facing costly repairs and consequences come spring. In order to prepare your home for the dropping temperatures, we spoke to experts in the wood renewal and plumbing industries to learn essential tips.

Hardwood Floors - Dave Murphy, Training Director for N-Hance Wood Renewal, a national franchise that is the trusted partner of The Home Depot for the renewal of hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets, provided us with tips on how to protect wood floors:

Prevent Rock Salt Damage

Rock salt can cause severe damage to hardwood floors. Not only can it stain the floor, but the rough crystals can scratch it up. Some people say that salt stains can be cleaned with vinegar and water. However, this method should be avoided. Vinegar can leave residue and excess water can ruin hardwood floors.

To help prevent the problem in the first place, place a sturdy mat both inside and outside of every entrance of your home and have guests remove their shoes upon entering. Furthermore, homeowners should sweep frequently, and mop when needed with a neutral floor cleaner to help protect floors from salt buildup.

Prevent Shrinkage from Dry Air

During the winter, in the air dryness and temperature change can cause hardwood floors to shrink, which creates spaces between boards. If the humidity is not right, it can cause a lot of damage to the floors. Homeowners should have a humidifier on hand and keep the humidity level as constant as possible throughout the year. The same goes for temperature. Huge swings in temperature cause the wood to shrink and expand.

Protect Your Hardwood Floors and Plumbing From Winter

Plumbing - Mark Dawson, CEO and president of bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, a national plumbing and drain-cleaning service franchise, provided ways to prevent pipes from freezing:

Drain Excess Water

Protect Your Hardwood Floors and Plumbing From Winter

In order to prevent your garden hoses and air conditioner pipes from freezing, be sure to always drain them before the cold temperatures arrive. A frozen garden hose can become the source of various issues, such as a decrease in water pressure or a weakening in the lining of the hose, while a frozen air conditioner line can cause leaks or breaks in the unit. Also, make sure you turn off the AC water shut-off valve.

Insulate Your Pipes

Protect Your Hardwood Floors and Plumbing From Winter

By insulting pipes, you will not only help prevent them from freezing, but it can potentially allow you to save money on bills. It will reduce the amount of time it takes for your water to heat up and will raise temperatures by a couple degrees. The most important pipes to insulate are ones located in areas of your house that aren’t heated, such as in the garage or attic.

Clean Your Gutters

Protect Your Hardwood Floors and Plumbing From Winter

It is essential to make sure your gutters are cleaned before freezing temperatures hit your area. If water can’t flow freely through your gutters, icicles can form causing damage to shingles and backing up the gutter. This leads to clogs, water leaks and various other unexpected issues.