As the Winter months draw closer, our team of home renovation specialists have found an increasing number of clients express concern over how the cold weather may affect their property. Buildings are known to shift and creak, even in a newly installed dormer extension in London, due to the varied changes in weather. As we all battle heat waves and frosty nights, our houses expand and contract, leading to these unwanted problems in the home.
In this post, we explore how hardwood floors are affected by the dry Winter months, and what you can do to combat these changes.
In Britain, grit usually gets poured on to the streets and pavements at the first sign of frost. This is great for us, as it prevents our cars and feet from slipping and sliding under us, saving us time on our commutes. It also keeps us safe and sound! However, when you arrive home from a long day outside, the material you drag in can wreak havoc on hardwood floors. Grit and sand can cause scratches, dents, and discolouration to your beautiful home. That’s why in the Winter, it’s important to clean your flooring more often. You should consider taking your shoes off upon entering your home, whilst encouraging any visitors to do the same. If you have blemishes that are too deep to recover, you can refinish your floors, though this can be an extensive task.
You may notice changes in your hardwood floors throughout the year, with gaps showing up between the planks. If you’re at the early stages of installing this type of flooring, you are in a great position to minimise these gaps from showing up in the future. They appear due to the nature of the timber, as wood expands and shrinks in correlation to the amount of moisture it holds. Therefore, when the heating is cranked up and the air is dry, your wood floors lose their moisture and shrink, causing those pesky gaps.
If you are in the process of laying hardwood flooring, consider asking your builder to work with narrow, short planks of wood. They will shrink less than a wide plank, making them perfect for spaces with high temperatures or fluctuating humidity levels (A.K.A the UK). It is also recommended to acclimate the wood to the room’s temperature and humidity level by leaving the planks in the room for a minimum of 3 days.
If your wood flooring is already in place, you can introduce some humidifiers around your home to make sure there is an adequate level of moisture in the atmosphere. Minimise the amount of ventilation in your home to prevent loss of moisture but be wary of excessive levels of moisture, which contributes to the growth of mould. You should not allow your property’s temperature to exceed 25 degrees Celsius, as this leads to rapid moisture loss in wood.
Damaged hardwood floors can lead to eye-watering repair costs. Warping and cracks are no joke when it comes to flooring, so you must identify where the problem is coming from. Is your heating too high? This could be completely stripping your wood floors of any moisture, so introduce a humidifier to mitigate this, or turn the heating down! Plants can increase the amount of humidity in your home too, so dot a few plants around your property, even if it’s just to keep the air clean from toxins. You can also refinish your floors to add an extra layer of protection, helping to control the level of moisture transferred from the atmosphere, or you can leave damp towels on your radiators to release some moisture into the room.
Are you constantly dealing with cold feet? There are several options available to you, including the wonderful innovation that is underfloor heating. Unfortunately, hardwood floors are not recommended for this, as heating cannot exceed 27 degrees Celsius, as it may cause damage and flexing. However, you can switch your wood floors for engineered wood floors. This type of flooring is great for conducting heat, whilst offering an amazingly natural aesthetic. They’re specifically designed to accommodate these types of features, though you may have to shell out a pretty penny for them.
You can also lay out some rugs throughout your home, especially in rooms with large spans of bare hardwood floors. This helps insulate your flooring, keeping the heat in and protecting your toes from the cold wood, making it far more pleasant walk around in the colder months. Refinishing not only protects your flooring and highlights the beauty of the wood, but it can actually make your flooring warmer. If you have old flooring, the top layer may have worn down, making the wood feel colder on your feet. Adding an extra layer of oil or lacquer helps to improve the heat retention, and will last you for years to come.
We hope you implement some of these solutions to protect your lovely hardwood floors. We’ve found it can be quite pricey to repair or replace! If you would like to discuss a future home project you have in mind, please contact us on 02070432378. Alternatively, you can book a free telephone consultation here, or email us at email@example.com. Our friendly team would love to hear from you!