Milwaukee/NARI Tips to Protect Floors From Snow, Slush, and Salt

Feb. 4, 2010

It’s winter in Wisconsin, and that means snow, slush, and ice melting salt are being tracked into area homes. Members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 48 years, offered tips for protecting your flooring to prevent or treat problems related to these messy winter nuisances


According to Dana Padley of FLOOR360, LLC in Delafield, almost all flooring options need to be protected in winter. “The only product that could withstand the elements would be tile, and even then it needs to be cared for and cleaned regularly.”


Padley recommended protecting any flooring surface with a large rug or mat during this season. While there are some materials that will withstand the elements a little better than others, “Protecting your floors with rugs will keep them looking great and protect them longer,” she said.

For a commercial application, she suggested mats that can be built in the vestibule, which are made to help trap the snow and elements from getting into the main entry area. “Also, another idea would be carpet tile,” she said. “This way if an area is damaged, certain tiles can be replaced instead of the entire area.”


Wendy Werner of Carpet Town in West Allis said the best flooring materials for dealing with salt and slush are ceramic, stone (which must be sealed), and vinyl products, including sheet vinyl and vinyl composite tile (VCT). “It would be very easy to clean and wipe these products,” she said. “Also, the salt does not tend to penetrate these surfaces.” She noted that it’s important to clean up any mess within a reasonable time period.


Homeowners with hardwood and laminates will have problems from any sustained exposure to water and salt. “These will penetrate the surface and cause damage,” Werner said, agreeing with Padley that it’s important to protect these surfaces with either plastic sheeting or a throw or area rug. “It would be very important to immediately wipe the areas that do come in contact with the salt and make sure any residue is removed from the surface. Any water should be dried off as soon as possible.”


As for carpeting, Werner said that it will absorb salt and anything wet, so she advised homeowners to use a stain treatment that will repel stains, such as the well-known Stainmaster. “It would be important to have a protection on the carpet if it is in the area of traffic coming from the outdoors. It is also recommended that people take off their wet shoes and boots at the point of entrance.”

Werner strongly suggested that homeowners have their carpeting professionally cleaned immediately following the winter season.


Nick Elliott of Elliott’s Floorstore in Brookfield added that the number one thing you should do is clean up the areas immediately. “Sweep, then vacuum. If you track dirty snow onto carpet, let it dry and then scrape the dirt with a butter knife and vacuum. If the problem is on a hardwood surface, always clean it up right away.”


The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.


The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.


For more information on the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at


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