Here’s How to Protect Hardwood Floors During the Summer Months

Here’s How to Protect Hardwood Floors During the Summer Months

There’s nothing better after a cold, dark, gloomy winter than noticing the first signs of spring and summer. As the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and we’re all eager to bask in the sun and let sunshine bathe our homes all day long. But the summer months can be harsh to hardwood floors, and cause damage that most homeowners might not even be aware of. At First Atlanta Flooring, we want our clients to be fully informed about how to care for their hardwood floors, so we want to share some tips and strategies to protect hardwood during summer and expand its lifespan. 

Protecting hardwood floors from sun damage

While we know that moisture is hardwood’s number one enemy, many homeowners don’t realize that sunlight can also be damaging. Bright ultraviolet rays can cause hardwood floors to fade in color and become dull over time, and they can also make the wood planks more brittle. Of course, this is a long-term process, and the damage won’t be obvious for years, but ultimately, clients will notice color fading and that unwanted ‘sun-bleached’ look to their hardwood floors. The discoloration caused by UV rays is all the more obvious in the case of dark-colored hardwood, where fading can be more noticeable. 

So, how can your clients keep their hardwood floors in top shape and avoid sun damage? We always advise clients to install blinds or curtains to protect their floors, furniture, artwork, and other valuables during the hottest part of the day, when the sun shines the brightest. 

Another good strategy would be to install low-e windows, which feature a specific type of glass that blocks harmful UV lights and infrared lights. The coating on low-e windows is very thin and not noticeable, still allowing light into the room, but the interior will be protected. The downside is that low-e windows can be expensive, but there are alternative solutions. 

For instance, homeowners can protect their hardwood floors from UV rays by covering them with rugs or carpets or by strategically placing furniture in the areas exposed to direct sunlight. There are also UV-resistant sealants and other products specifically designed to protect hardwood floors from sun damage. 

High temperatures can affect hardwood floors

It’s not just sunlight that can cause long-term damage to hardwood floors, but high temperatures, as well. During the hot summer months, temperatures can increase dramatically, causing discomfort. High temperatures, especially when coupled with high humidity levels, can cause hardwood flooring to expand, squeak, warp, and become less stable. What’s more, sudden changes in temperature can also cause the hardwood to quickly expand then contract, which can lead to cracking or buckling in extreme situations. While we can’t control sudden weather changes, it’s important to keep a constant, moderate temperature throughout the year. 

During the colder months, clients can use traditional heaters or radiant heating systems to warm up a room, while in summer, ventilation, shading with blinds or curtains, and a good HVAC system can keep a room cool. We advise clients to keep their windows closed during the hottest part of the day, and open them up when temperatures drop outside. Air conditioners and fans are also helpful to ventilate the space and keep temperatures to a comfortable level. 

Keeping humidity levels in check during summer

In some part of the U.S., the summer months bring high temperatures and a dry climate, which is a lot more bearable compared to other parts of the country where humidity levels are also high, for example in the Midwest. When high temperatures are also accompanied by high humidity levels, it can make us very uncomfortable. 

This combination can also affect the integrity of hardwood floors, as high humidity can cause the wood to expand and warp. What’s more, constant high humidity can also cause the hardwood to retain moisture, which can cause it to become less stable and even rot over time. 

\We advise clients to avoid any water from coming into contact with their hardwood floors, since any spills can damage the wood even further, as the water will not dry out. Any spills should be cleaned immediately, and clients should avoid wet mopping and opt for special cleaning products designed for hardwood floors. We also recommend installing a dehumidifier to try and keep humidity levels at comfortable levels during the hot humid summer months. 

Keeping dirt, dust, and grime out and away from hardwood floors

In the summer, we like to have a more pronounced connection to the outdoors. Children playing outside, pets running around the backyard, going to the beach together – these are some of the activities we like to enjoy in the warmer months. But what this means is a lot of comings and goings, open doors and windows, and people coming in and out of the house – which translates into a lot more dust and dirt being brought inside our homes. Dust and grime can end up scratching and damaging the hardwood floors and their outer finish coating, leaving them more exposed to potential damage. What’s more, dirt can also create a good breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can damage not only hardwood floors, but also the homeowner’s health. 

This doesn’t mean we should stop enjoying our favorite summer activities and keep doors and windows closed at all times. Instead, it’s important to take measures to protect the floors from outside pollutants, by covering them with rugs or carpets, washing the paws of our pets when we bring them home from a walk, and advising children and guests coming into the home to take off their shoes before stepping inside. The hallway can be a good place for guests to remove their shoes and clean up if they need to.

To learn more about protecting hardwood floors from sun damage and other pollutants, reach out to First Atlanta Flooring, and be sure to check out our shop to find the right products and accessories for your needs.