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How Do I Know If I Have Salt or Sand Damage to My Wood Floors?

Person walking on salted sidewalk in Minnesota

What Can I Do About Salt and Sand Damage To Flooring?

Nothing fights against snow and ice quite like salt and sand. However, nothing fights against indoor hardwood floors like salt and sand either. Not only do they track unsightly white stains throughout your home, salt and sand can potentially cause lasting damage to your hardwood floors. 

Here are 3 signs that your wood floors are being damaged by salt and sand and how you can keep your floors clean and damage-free throughout the winter months. 

Identifying Salt and Sand Damage

Keep an eye out for these surefire indicators of salt and sand damage on your hardwood floors: 

White Stains: The most apparent sign of salt damage is the white stains left on your hardwood floors. These stains are caused by calcium chloride crystals, commonly found in de-icing salts. They can dull the finish of your hardwood floors and leave an unattractive, chalky residue.

Micro-Abrasions: At a microscopic level, sand and salt are made of small, rough-edged particles. These act like micro-abrasives, similar to sandpaper, which can ruin both finished and unfinished hardwood floors. The abrasion from these particles being stepped on or dragged across your floors can cause scratches and gradually wear down their finish.

Water Damage: Water and moisture from melting snow and ice can quickly penetrate wood floors. This not only leads to mold growth but can also cause warping of the floorboards. Excessive moisture can lead to swelling, cracking, or even cupping of the wood.

How Do I Fix Salt and Sand Damage On My Floors?

While protecting your floors from salt and sand damage is all about prevention, there are a few ways you can restore them once they’ve been damaged. 

Floor Damage Prevention Begins at the Front Door

  • Place coarse, heavy rugs at the entrance to trap salt and sand particles carried by your boots.
  • Remind your family and guests to remove their boots as soon as they get inside the home.
  • Keep a designated area to knock off snowy and wet footwear.
  • Keep water-absorbent cloths handy to wipe up any moisture that may get tracked inside.

Regular Vacuuming Goes a Long Way

  • Use a canister or hardwood-friendly upright vacuum to remove abrasive particles from your floors.
  • Avoid using a rotating brush– rotating brushes can scrape your floors.
  • Vacuuming regularly will help keep your floors clean and minimize damage.
  • Regular vacuuming throughout the year keeps your floors clean and minimizes damage

Know How to Clean Up Salt Marks

  • Avoid using vinegar as it can leave residue.
  • Opt for specially formulated cleaners for hardwood floors, like Dave’s Floor Sanding Citrus Floor Cleaner, which leaves a streak-free shine without damaging the floor’s finish.

Address Salt and Sand Damage Immediately

If your floors are significantly damaged, professional intervention may be required. Expert floor damage restoration may include services such as:

  • Replacing damaged boards with matching ones.
  • Filling in corroded areas with wood putty.
  • Sanding and refinishing the floor to restore its original look.

When Should I Call a Professional For Salt and Sand Damage?

If your hardwood floors are beyond basic cleaning and preventive measures, you may need professional help. Dave’s Floor Sanding is your local flooring expert serving the Twin Cities Metro area. Call us at 763-784-3000 to repair and restore your hardwood floors!