Winter floor protection can be a struggle from November to March, but a small investment in prevention will pay off with beautiful, undamaged floors when Spring arrives.
As you know, puddles of water left too long on your floor will cause damage and warping over time. This is true whether the surface is bare wood or carpeting. In addition to water, the corrosive elements of road salt or home walkway de-icing pellets, etc. will present a real challenge in keeping your floors clean, dry, and looking new.
Keeping the Snow and salt from your floor will prevent the abrasion and water damage it can cause, but you can’t do that unless you create a place for the footwear to go when it comes off. If your home does not have a “mud room” at any entrance, you can still protect your flooring if you improvise one.
A tough, bristly ‘welcome’ mat just outside the door will certainly help, but it’s only the beginning.
Just inside the door, you’ll need a clean dry mat or a small, inexpensive area rug for stepping onto once the snow, salt, or mud-covered footwear is removed.
You’ll also need a low-rimmed and water-tight container large enough to hold all of your family’s active footwear as it comes through the door. The mat or area rug will be great to protect against abrasive dirt and salt, but it will be no better than a puddle of water if it sits soaking wet on your wood flooring.
Durable, plastic cat boxes placed on the area rug will hold the shoes and boots.
Having small rectangular grills or racks ( cheap dish drying racks will do ) placed inside the cat trays will prevent shoes and boots from sitting in a puddle of melted snow.
Substitutes for the drying racks could be small plastic balls, blocks, or a length of PVC pipe sawn into rings. Placing any waterproof items like this in the litter boxes will let the snow and ice melt down into the bottom and allow the footwear to get air-dried.
So long as you’ve created those special spots to get soaked and salty footwear off just inside the door, it will be much easier to prevent the winter from tracking in and ruining your floors. It will reduce the risk of damage to furniture as well.