1. Take Off Your Shoes
In the winter months, people tracking snow and sludge inside can contribute to many different issues for hardwood floors. Salt leaves dirty, white residue. Water from melted snow can seep into the flooring, and create damage that lasts. Not only do shoes track in the outdoor elements, they can also cause scuffs and scratches throughout the surface of the floors. So, try to remind visitors to remove their shoes at the door.
2. Keep the Floors Clean
If debris left over from shoes, snow, and salt aren't cleaned up within a timely manner, the wood could be damaged. Try to clean up any water or residue, and sweep up any salt or dirt.
3. Lay Mats Down
Place mats by doors to indicate to guests entering the room to take off their shoes. Putting mats down will limit the amount of shoe traffic throughout the hardwood floor space, and keep your floors safe.
4. Keep the Thermostat Regulated
During winter, the temperature inside of the room with hardwood flooring should stay consistent. It is very important because the relative humidity drops with the temperature, which causes gapping. To prevent too much temperature fluctuation, you could weather proof your windows, which can lead to lower energy bills (it's a win-win situation).
5. Control the Humidity Throughout the Space
With differing humidity changes within a home, hardwood floors can expand and contract. During colder months, the wood planks tend to contract as the humidity falls. So, if you have a fire burning, or the wood stove going, try to keep the humidity in the space up by running a humidifier.