THE PROBLEM WITH HARDWOOD FLOORS THAT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT

We’ll never get tired of gorgeous hardwood floors. The timeless feature frequently found in old houses imparts character and natural color. There’s a reason it’s one of the most desired amenities for homeowners! Sure, hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches, but those can be sanded out and refinished easily. And yes, it’s more expensive to buy and install than laminate flooring, but for most people, the investment pays off in the end, increasing the value of your home.

Still, there’s one major issue with your hardwood floors, and they’re probably most at risk right now, during summer. That’s because wood floors and moisture just don’t mix.

“As temperatures rise, humidity levels increase, and intense sunlight beams into your home, a number of issues can arise including wood warp, discoloration, cupping, and buckling,” says Dave Murphy, National Technical Director for N-Hance Wood Renewal, the national partner of The Home Depot for the renewal of hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets.

There’s also mold growth and wood rot — yikes! The good news? All these problems are preventable and treatable. Murphy offers the following tips:

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Keep the AC on.
“While turning off the AC for the day may lower your electric bill, it can do more harm than good during those extra hot days,” Murphy says. “Without AC, the humidity levels rise above 60%.”

Dehumidify.
Live in an extremely humid locale? You might consider getting a dehumidifier to decrease the amount of moisture in the air.

Protect from the sun.
Did you know some types of wood can actually get a suntan? But unlike your skin, overexposure to UV rays will lighten hardwood. “To prevent this, keep the blinds closed when no one is at home, especially in areas where it is fully sunlit such as sliding doors,” Murphy says.

Rearrange your furniture.
And not just for feng shui. “Leaving items in the same place on the wood floors for too long can cause uneven aging,” Murphy explains. “Move things around every summer month to make sure it all gets exposed to light equally (never drag/pull, always lift).”

Go barefoot.
And ask that your guests do, too. “With summer BBQs and get-togethers, have people take their shoes off at the door to keep potentially damaging objects from coming in,” Murphy suggests. “Placing carpet or rugs on high traffic areas will soak up any liquids visitors may drag in.”

Renew.
If summer does a number on your wood floors, consider calling in a professional at the end of the season to tend to damage.

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