According to a recent survey, home buyers rank fireplaces as one of the top three amenities they would like to have in their future home. Coupled with the ever-growing popularity of hardwood floors, it’s important to keep in mind that fireplaces–and wood stoves as well–can potentially damage beautiful hardwood flooring if precautions are not taken. Here are four tips you can follow in order to protect your investment and keep your wooden floors safe from damage.

Use a Decorative Grate

A working grate or cover for your fireplace is a good first step for protecting your wooden floors, and can even serve to enhance the overall appearance of your fireplace–many attractive cover options exist on the market today. It’s essential that your grate be non-flammable, with openings large enough to allow smoke to escape, yet small enough to prevent sparks from leaping out and smoldering on your floor.

Employ a Hearth Extension or Pad

One of the easiest ways to protect your wooden flooring is also the most obvious: cover it up. A hearth extension can be matched to your existing hearth, whether that’s brick, stone, tiles or slate while helping to enhance the fireplace as a natural focal point of your room. These non-combustible materials cannot be damaged by fire or sparks, giving you (and your floors) some room to breathe. Considering a hearth extension can take some time to install, you can opt for a non-combustible floor pad in the meantime.

Don’t Make Your Fireplace a Dumping Site

It can be tempting to use your fireplace as a quick way of disposing of paper scraps and other flammable materials. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that these materials can make fires burn hotter than normal, and can even turn into sparks that jump out from the fire. Similarly, lighter fluid and oil can be a dangerous combination with home fires. For this reason, you should stick to using traditional firewood for your fireplaces and stoves–not trash or highly flammable materials.

Avoid Excessive Fireplace Usage

In most homes, fireplaces have been constructed to withstand heat, but only within reason. If you build your fire up too much or keep it going for excessive periods of time, you can damage fireplace structures and increase the likelihood of damaging hardwood floors. Because their containment area is much smaller than a fireplace’s, overbuilding your fire can be particularly dangerous with wood-burning stoves.

Contact Central Mass Hardwood

To find out more about protecting your hardwood floors from the fireplace and other potential hazards, contact the experts at Central Mass Hardwood!