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Real Christmas Trees and Hardwood Floors – Tips to Prevent Damage

There are certain things that simply create a Christmas atmosphere by just being there; the smell of baking pies, holiday songs on the radio and of course the unique smell of a real live Christmas tree.

For those with hardwood floors though the idea of choosing a real tree over an artificial one can be a rather scary thought. A real tree can lead to scratches, sap stains, watermarks and more, all things that will hardly enhance the beauty of treasured wooden floors.Before you opt for faux over the real thing though here are a few tips and ideas for taking simple precautions to protect your floors that will allow you to enjoy a real tree this holiday season without having to worry about getting the floors sanded and refinished once the New Year arrives.

  • Before you head out to choose your real Christmas tree – something that is a holiday adventure in itself – prepare the area where you intend to install it. Place a blanket or old sheet, folded in quarters on the floor. Then taking a plastic sheet, maybe even a festive plastic tablecloth, cover the blanket completely. This is also a good time to place a bathmat or something similar near the door you intend to bring the tree in through (more about this in a moment).
  • Once you have chosen your tree and arrived home with it take a minute while still outside to gently shake the tree to allow it to shed any very loose needles, meaning that such things will not drop as you carry the tree across your hardwood floors where they might be trodden on and scratch your floor.
  • Now it’s time to explain that bathmat. Place the base of the Christmas tree onto the mat and then drag the mat across the floor (holding onto the tree of course). Doing this means that fewer needles will fall and you won’t drop the tree!
  • Finally, once you have the tree in it’s stand use a pitcher to fill the base with water. You can then cover the blankets and plastic with a more decorative tree skirt.
  • This set up also makes tree removal cleaner and easier once the Christmas season is over. Drain the water from the tree stand and then, taking the corners of the blanket drag the whole setup, tree, stand, blankets and tablecloth, over to the door and then you can dismantle everything outside where the mess won’t matter.

Dealing with Accidents

Even the best laid plans do not always work out. If an accident does happen it may not be the end of the world, as long as you act quickly:

Removing tree sap from a hardwood floor – In order to remove Christmas tree sap from a finished hardwood floor apply some non-diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a mop to the affected area. Allow to sit for fifteen minutes and then scrub gently with a soft brush before rinsing with a clean, very slightly damp cloth.

Removing water stains from hardwood – If water does leak from the Christmas tree stand it is possible that when you remove the tree you will discover that the moisture has seeped into the wood and has left a dark stain behind. It looks dreadful but it can be dealt with.

To begin with, you will need a few sheets of #150-grit sandpaper and a piece of #0000 steel wool. Using the sandpaper gently begin removing the finish over the stain moving the sandpaper in the direction of the wood grain. You will then need to begin gently sanding the stain away itself.

Once the stain is gone – or lightened as much as possible – feather the edges around the stained area with #0000 steel wool. Remove the sanding dust with a dry, lint free cloth and then reseal the area with a light varnish (it may take a few coats to match the rest of the floor) Once the new varnish is dry, feather around the edges again with the steel wool.

Angelica Pinto is an artist, interior design lover and Realtor serving the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, Ontario communities.

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