Winter's harsh elements can present a unique set of problems for homeowners with hardwood floors. Without proper care, things like slush, snow and salt can dull the finish of hardwood floors and even cause warping and gapping.
Wood flooring can be very susceptible to expansion and contraction if the humidity in your home is not just right. The excessive dryness caused by central heating can cause shrinkage, just as excessive dampness can cause expansion. If needed use a humidfier and dehumidifier to keep humidity levels between 40% and 60% year round.
Catching snow, slush, dirt, grit and gravel at the door is the best way to avoid damage. Try to keep the mats as clean and dry as possible and have them at every entrance.
Encourage family and visitors to remove wet snow gear as soon as they enter to avoid trekking snow, slush, salt and dirt all over the house.
Pets are the number one offender of tracking snow and slush into the house. Train your pets to patiently wait by the door while you dry their paws, and then reward them with a treat. Place a bowl of treats by the door as a reminder.
Even by taking the best possible care for your hardwood flooring, you're still going to find that it needs a little more care in the winter months. Mopping it a few times a week with a slightly damp mop will only take a few minutes but will ensure that your floor is clean and free from the nasty elements of winter.
Some companies offer warranties, should snow or other harmfull elemets damage your hardwoods floors. Always check on product warranties before you purchase your hardwood floors.
The information listed above is condensed from the following articles, check them out for more detailed hardwood flooring care information.