Winter can wreck your Tampa flooring

Even in warmer climes, temperatures drop during the winter months. If you have hardwood pay attention to the humidity levels in your home.

Homeowners with hardwood flooring just love it. They couldn’t be happier. However, even though they love it, they notice early signs of warping and gapping. This has to do with variable moisture levels in your home. Your floors are also affected by what you bring inside with you when you come in. Although it is difficult to keep all the sticks, leaves and small stones outside, making sure you have an area rug right by the door will help protect your floors.

Since it tends to be drier outside during the winter, this also affects your indoor temperatures. It is warmer inside to stave off the cold. Over time, the hardwood dries out and the boards shift, leaving small gaps in the flooring. Dry, cold winters mean a lower moisture level, and when you remove moisture from wood, it shrinks. You know that horrid squeak you have in the middle of the living room floor that makes everyone jump in the middle of the night when the dog walks over it? Thank dry hardwood flooring for that, and take steps to increase the humidity level inside your home.

One way to increase the relative humidity in your home is to use a humidifier. However, before you invest in one and keep it running all the time, ask a flooring contractor what the level should be, ideally, for the climate you live in. For instance, if you live in northeastern U.S. area, you get really harsh winters, and a humidifier may be the answer to help keep your hardwood flooring from shrinking. Think stand-alone units or one that may be attached to your furnace.

Again, mats make all the difference in the world when making sure your hardwood floor stays as clean and debris free as possible. They also help absorb rain, slush and other gunk, like runny mud. Better to have it on the carpet that you can wash, than on your hardwood floor. A mat also keeps small stones embedded and off the floor, avoiding scratches and abrasions.

Although all of this might sound like a lot of work to keep a floor looking nice, it is well worth it. A home with hardwood flooring that is in good shape and has been well-kept, brings a better price on the market.

Dean Dupre is with Champion Tile, a Clearwater Flooring, Tampa Flooring, and tile installation company. To learn more, visit

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