When winter arrives, the sight of salt and de-icing chemicals scattered across sidewalks and roadways becomes a common and necessary practice to ensure safety during icy conditions. However, while these substances are effective at preventing slips and falls, they can pose a significant threat to the integrity of your indoor flooring. We’ll explore the impact of winter salt and de-icing chemicals on your flooring and provide valuable strategies to minimize their effects, helping you maintain the beauty and durability of your floors.
The Dangers of Winter Salt and De-Icing Chemicals
We know how much time it can take to pick out the correct flooring and have it installed, so it can be frustrating when they’re ruined at the beginning of the snowy season. Winter salt and de-icing chemicals, such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, can cause serious harm to your flooring. These substances are corrosive and can eat away at the protective finish of hardwood, laminate, and vinyl flooring. Over time, this damage can lead to cracks, fading, and discoloration.
Another common issue with winter salt is the unsightly stains it leaves on your floors. These stains can occur on a variety of flooring types, including concrete, tile, and even carpet. The salt can absorb moisture from shoes and create stubborn, often permanent, stains that diminish the visual appeal of your floors. You might have already experienced this after coming inside from the snow. Oftentimes, white shoe prints are left behind once any water dries. These first stains can often be removed by cleaning the floor, but there is potential for long term damage. Also, no one wants to have to mop the floor multiple times a day!
In addition to the physical damage, salt and de-icing chemicals can be abrasive. When walked on, they can wear down the surface of your flooring and make it less slip-resistant. This poses a significant safety hazard, particularly in entryways and high-traffic areas. If you’ve ever seen a puppy try to run across a hardwood floor, you know how slippery flooring can be when the traction is ruined. To prevent potential harm, it’s best to ensure as little contact as possible between the de-icing chemicals and your flooring.
Strategies to Minimize the Impact
Protecting your floors from damage isn’t too hard as long as you put in a little bit of effort. Prevention is the best option, but there are other strategies you can employ if your floors have already seen better days. The key to protecting your flooring during the winter months is regular cleaning. Invest in doormats at entry points to capture excess salt and moisture from shoes. These mats will collect and absorb any chemicals before they reach your floors. Vacuum, sweep, or mop your floors frequently to remove any accumulated salt. It’s best to remove your shoes when you come into the house or have shoe coverings for you and your guests to wear.
It’s best to address salt spills and stains as soon as possible. The longer these substances sit on your flooring, the greater the chance of lasting damage. Use a mixture of water and vinegar or a specialized floor cleaner to dissolve and remove salt stains. It’s possible to rent different heavy duty cleaning machines that tackle harder to clean surfaces such as carpets, or you can always hire a professional. Keeping a mop near the door is a great way to remind you and your family members to clean up when they come in from outdoors.
Applying sealants and protective coatings to your flooring can create a barrier that shields your floors from winter salt and de-icing chemicals. Consult with a flooring professional to determine the most suitable product for your specific flooring type. They should be able to do the installation for you to ensure your floors are sealed properly.
It’s also a good idea to increase the amount of professional cleaning your floors see during the winter. Professional cleaning is able to get a lot more dirt and debris off of the floor, removing caked up chemicals and salts. This will make future cleaning easier for you and keep your floors even more protected.
You Can Save Your Floors
Winter salt and de-icing chemicals are essential for safety, but they can wreak havoc on your indoor flooring. By following the strategies mentioned above, you can mitigate the harmful effects of salt and chemicals and maintain the beauty and longevity of your floors, ensuring they continue to impress for years to come. Remember, a little prevention goes a long way in preserving the quality and appearance of your flooring.
If you’re looking to upgrade your flooring, reach out to the team at Re/Defined flooring today! Our experts will help you select and install the perfect flooring for your specific needs this winter.