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Autumn is here, and temperatures are already falling. Soon, winter will settle in and snow will start piling up. Is your home’s flooring ready for the seasonal change? If not, now is the time to start planning. Here, we’ll briefly discuss a few steps you can take to protect your home’s floors and a few options that are perfect for cold, winter months.

Rugs and Place Mats

Regardless of the flooring in your home, mats should be placed at all entrances. When our shoes track snow, pieces of dirt and rock salt become mixed. Tracking this debris indoors can lead to surface scratches and scuffs on hard surface floors. It can also lead to fraying in low-tier carpet.

By placing an inexpensive mat at your entrances (inside and out), you can easily avoid expensive flooring repairs and replacements. Just remember to clean off your mats regularly. Also, ensure that your indoor mats offer more absorption.

Rugs (especially waterproof rugs) can provide additional protection inside your home. They also retain heat better, making your floors more comfortable to walk on during cold nights.

Solid Hardwood Floors

Every winter, we speak with homeowners who didn’t realize how susceptible their solid hardwood floors were to moisture and temperature changes. Wood naturally absorbs moisture. If enough tracked snow melts in your home, this absorption can eventually lead to warped wood planks.

Changing temperatures can also impact hardwood panels. Cold weather causes them to retract, while warmer weather causes wood to expand. If you turn off the heat when leaving for work, then turn it back on each evening, your hardwood floors are susceptible to this constant changing on a daily basis. This can sometimes lead panels to warp, cup or buckle.

Unfortunately, even if you prevent moisture contact and maintain consistent temperatures, winter still presents another challenge: humidity. As temperatures get colder, humidity levels tend to drop. This can lead to gaps between the planks and, eventually, separations in floor boards. While some adjustments will occur naturally, you may want to use a humidifier to monitor the levels in your home.

Engineered Hardwood

If you’d rather avoid the headaches of monitoring your home’s environment and flooring so closely, it’s worth considering engineered hardwood. These floors incorporate a layered design built around a stable core. As a result, changes in temperatures have no effect on engineered wood panels. They are also more resilient to changing humidity levels.

Some engineered wood floors, such as our Eminence line, include planks that are completely waterproof. It also uses a click installation method that prevents melted snow from reaching the subfloor.


Cold weather doesn’t threaten the integrity of carpet like it does hardwood, but snow can still prove challenging. Snow, especially if it’s mixed with debris, can fray carpet fibers. And if it melts, the moisture may soak through the backing to the subfloor, where it can promote mold mildew growth. Consider Anso Nylon or any of our Pet Friendly selections for a completely waterproof carpet solution.

Learn More

Are your floors ready for winter? If you aren’t sure, visit Alexandria’s leading flooring experts at Arnquist Home Center today!