How to take care of your hardwoods in stormy and humid weather

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The afternoon showers this summer have been great for keeping water levels high, keeping grass green, keeping gardens growing, but the weather might not be great for your hardwood floors.

All the recent summer rains mean the traffic coming into your home and crossing your hardwood floors ? whether it's kids or pets or guests ? is often tracking in mud and moisture.

Obviously this means you'll need to do more sweeping and cleaning of your hardwood floors.

But one thing you can do to reduce the wear and tear from kids and pets coming inside after a storm is putting down entry mats. Mats can help remove dirt and moisture from the bottoms of shoes before it ever hits your hardwood floors. Likewise, getting the kids in the habit of removing their shoes when they come into the house can also be a long term strategy for protecting your hardwood floors.

If you decide to put down floor mats, you want to get some that won't slide around, but avoid using rubber-backed or foam-backed mats because they can discolor your hardwood floors. A vinyl-backed mat is better.

Wood Floors are Recyclable

Too much or not enough humidity is terrible for hardwood floors. Hardwood floors will shrink in dry air and will expand in wet air.

To protect your hardwood floors from swelling and contracting too drastically, you want to keep a relative humidity level inside at between 35 percent and 55 percent.

So in the winter months, especially when you're running electric heat that makes the air very dry, you should probably run a humidifier to put some moisture back in the air.

In the summer months, you're probably okay doing what you're already doing. To help protect your hardwood floors you should run your air conditioner. You may need to couple that with a dehumidifier if your home is still very humid.

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