Your beautiful hardwood floors have been installed and they look lovely. They’re easy to clean, easy to maintain, and make your house look like a home. However, you may have installed these floors in the summer and didn’t think about what they would be like in the winter.
What may be pleasantly cool in the summer may be uncomfortable in the winter. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it is an annoyance. There may be more than one factor at play here as well, so you might have to approach this problem from multiple angles.
At Wall 2 Wall, we are experts in hardwood flooring and have some tips to help keep your home comfortable. Here are five practical options for you when your hardwood floor is cold.
Putting a rug down under any heavy furniture is a good idea anyway. This way, the feet of your bed, the legs of chairs, and the bottoms of dressers won’t leave scratches or marks on your hardwood. Check out small rugs that can make a path from your bedside to the bathroom, rugs that brighten up an entryway or a hallway, or rugs that pop as a color accent for your living room or den. This won’t fix any issues with your floors themselves but will make your feet a lot more comfortable. And it may be all you need to get you through the coldest months.
If you find the perfect fabric or mat that you’d like to make into a rug, make sure it has a non-slip back. You can easily pick up a non-slip rug pad or make your own by breaking out your hot glue gun.
If your home is older or if you haven’t thought about your attic insulation very often in the years since you moved in, updating the insulation could be a game-changer in many ways. For starters, it’ll help keep the heat your furnace produces from escaping through your roof. Maintaining that heated air will warm your entire home and help keep the chill of your hardwood floors.
Insulation doesn’t only keep your home warm in the winter—it also keeps your home cool in the summer by insulating against the sun beating down on your house. Making sure your insulation is in good order will make the ambient temperature in your home more comfortable no matter what weather you experience. There is also the added benefit that good insulation will also save you some money as your home becomes more energy efficient.
Also, if you have a vented crawl space in your attic or your basement, make sure those areas are well insulated as well. This will prevent cold air from entering and flowing through your vents. However, do not seal these vents if you have water leaks or other sources of moisture in these spaces. You don’t want to trap the moisture in because that will lead to mold and mildew. Call a professional for assistance.
If you notice that your hardwood floors are cold only in particular areas or in specific rooms, it could be that you simply have an air circulation or a weatherproofing issue. One thing you could do to solve this issue is purchase air deflectors. These are plastic devices you can attach to your heating grates. The warm air will deflect to the areas that need them most, instead of losing the heat against the wall or right out a window.
Maybe you’ve put a piece of furniture over one of these vents. In the summer, it may not matter much, but in the winter, maybe the heat is being lost in a cabinet or side table or under a chair or behind a couch. Walk around barefoot on one of those chilly days and see if you could benefit from this quick and easy addition to your heating vents.
Speaking of windows, since heat vents and registers are often placed right below windows you want to make sure your heat isn’t simply being sucked out through your windows. If your windows are older or not weatherproofed, they could be losing heat easily. Make sure your weatherproofing is in good shape and not dried or cracked. You can also put plastic over your windows during the coldest months to keep the warm air in and cold air out.
4. Turn on Your Ceiling Fan
This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out. Warm air rises and cold air sinks. But even the tallest of us can’t enjoy the warm air that’s sitting on the ceiling. Here’s a trick you can use all winter long. Most ceiling fans have a switch that will turn your fan to run in reverse—it’s usually located just below the blades. This function will create an updraft. The warm air that has risen to the ceiling will be pushed back down toward the floor. Your rooms will all be warmer, and your floors won’t be as chilly. Make sure that your fan is on the lowest setting—this works best with a gentle breeze.
This is something you can add to your annual winterizing list and then turn it back to the regular setting when the weather turns warm again. If you’re unsure if your fan is running the correct direction for the temperature you want, just know that “forward” is counter-clockwise (for cold) and “reverse” is clockwise (for warm).
5. A Smart Thermostat
Cranking the heat up to 80 degrees in the midwinter won’t solve your cold floor problem. In fact, it may not warm up your floors at all and actually cause some other problems. Natural wood flooring reacts to the humidity in its environment and can change shape depending on the moisture in the air. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to a damp climate most of the year. When you turn the heat up for days on end, the natural humidity in the air gets cooked out and the air becomes very dry. This is when you are most likely to see floorboards that warp or cup.
Fixing a floor that is warped or is cupping is as easy as restoring balance within your home, either by turning the heat down or by using a humidifier. But prolonged dryness or moisture could cause permanent damage
Part of this can be mitigated with a smart thermostat. Look for the kind that offers zoned heating. This breaks your home into areas that need higher temperatures and those that don’t so you don’t have the unpleasant experience of walking into one room into a wall of heat while freezing in the next room over.