Protecting Your Floors From Christmas Tree Damage
Christmas brings families together, it comes with time off to spend with our children, and gives us plenty to be thankful for—until we move the tree on December 26th to find scratched, damaged hardwood floors underneath.
This is a quick guide on how to protect your floors from unforeseen damage. When the tree goes away, your living room should go right back to normal with no hiccups; here’s how to make sure that happens.
Use Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Hardwood floor cleaners with specified formulas are designed to protect your floor coating. Some all-purpose cleaners are harsh on hardwood finishes, but these dedicated cleaners will actually help prevent scuffs and scrapes from happening.
This is a good place to start, but it’s not the only thing you need to protect your floors. Clear out the room, apply a healthy amount of hardwood cleaner, and go over every part of your floor. From guests not taking off their shoes to presents shuffling around, your entire floor is vulnerable during the holiday season.
Use a Tree Stand Mat
This isn’t something that a lot of people know about, but there are mats that actually go underneath your tree stand. Most of the time people just use tree skirts to go over the stand, but that leaves a margin for error when the tree shifts on the floor (after it’s loaded up with heavy lights and tons of ornaments, of course).
These mats not only help keep your floors pristine and scratch-free, but it keeps pine needle tar from accumulating, and the tree doesn’t shift even when someone jostles it.
Use Dish Strainer Mats
If you buy a natural tree, you run into more potential problems than those who use synthetic trees. Apart from pine needles being a risk for scratches on the floor, watering your tree is a major risk. In fact, we would argue that watering your tree and spilling water onto the floor is one of the biggest hardwood threats during the Christmas season.
Many make the mistake of using cotton towels and lining them around the tree stand before putting the skirt around. This doesn’t work, because once the moisture is trapped inside the towels, it sits on top of the floor and causes wet spots. That moisture sits on your hardwood for days or weeks before it gets noticed (usually when you toss out the tree).
Instead, use super-absorbent mats that are designed to be placed underneath dish strainers on countertops. Use a mat underneath the tree to make sure it doesn’t move, as we mentioned earlier, but also line the edges with a few of these drying mats to help catch any falling water. While these work better than cotton towels, they’re not perfect, so you should still set reminders to check this every day.
During Cleanup, Vacuum but Don’t Sweep
Brooms can be more abrasive than vacuum cleaners on hardwood floors. When you brush pine needles around with a broom, you could scratch your floors. All those little scratches let moisture, dirt, and grime into your floorboards and increase the risk of moisture expansion during humidity changes.
Use a specific hardwood floor-ready vacuum cleaner; these are very different from all-purpose, multi-surface, or carpet-specific vacuum cleaners. These are gentle on your floors and rely on suction more than rotating brushes.
Streamline the Cleanup
Pick up your tree and place the bottom of it into a trash bag when you remove it, then pull the bag over as many branches as possible. Either do that or line the floor from the tree to the doorway with painter’s tarps to catch any pine needles that may fall. This prevents you from accidentally stepping on pine needles when you come back inside and scraping them against the floor under the pressure of your shoes.
If your floors have felt the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there’s a way to reverse the damage. Contact us today for a quote on refinishing your floors to return them to their former glory. It doesn’t take as long as you’d think to refurbish them. Call us at (215) 515-7355 and ask for Steve!