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For millions of households across the country, there’s just no substitute for putting up a live Christmas tree at the holidays. The aroma of fresh-cut pine often evokes deep memories of childhood. For others, it’s the thought of having a living tree inside the home, or the family tradition of tromping into the woods to chop down your own tree. But whatever the case, live Christmas trees and hardwood floors don’t always get along. Not only can your floor get scratched by falling needles or scraping, it could also be damaged by water runoff or dripping tree sap. If you’re not cautious, you could decorate the most festive tree ever, only to find irreparable damage to your floor when the holidays have ended.

The good news is that preventing this kind of catastrophe is relatively simple. Take the following precautions to keep your live Christmas tree from ruining your New Year.

Clean the Floor First

Regardless of what protective coverings you use, placing a tree on a dirty floor is a recipe for scratches. The dirt and dust particles trapped beneath can grind against the floor under the weight of the tree, and the first thing you’ll have to do after the holidays is have the floors refinished. To reduce this risk, vacuum the floor with a non-beating sweeper or run a soft Swiffer-type dry mop across the surface to remove dust and dirt before bringing in the tree.

Use the Right Kind of Barrier

It’s obvious to most people that setting a metal tree stand on a bare hardwood floor is asking for trouble—but sometimes their solution to that problem can be just as harmful. You do need a barrier between the tree stand and the floor—but it needs to be the right kind of barrier to protect the floors. Towels or blankets are not a good idea because if they get wet, they can hold moisture against the floor and cause cupping or warping. Instead, go with a water-resistant Christmas tree mat, or possibly a large drain pan (similar to what you might put under a washing machine). Whatever floor covering you use, try to make it wider than the widest part of your tree to catch pine needles or any stray sap that might drop from the branches.

Bonus Tip: If you are putting up an artificial tree, you’ll still want some sort of barrier to keep the tree stand from scratching the floor. Typically some sort of sheet or floor mat will suffice in this case—just something to keep the stand from making contact with the wood floor.

Shake off Loose Needles Before Bringing in the Tree

Falling pine needles are an unavoidable issue with most trees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t limit how many needles you’re dealing with. The fewer falling needles you have, the fewer opportunities for the floor to get scratched. So before bringing the tree inside, give it a nice shake to dislodge any loose needles.

Wrap the Tree Before Moving It

You can also reduce needle fallout on your wood floors by wrapping the tree up in plastic or a sturdy blanket before carrying it. This is helpful not only when bringing the tree in, but especially when removing it (since there will likely be more loose needles as the tree dries out).

Vacuum Up Loose Needles Often

Pine needles can scratch your hardwood floors just the same as loose dirt or sand. While the tree is in your home, cleaning up these needles may be an ongoing battle. Be sure to vacuum up loose needles when bringing the tree in, when moving it out, and on a regular basis while the tree is up in your home (preferably daily).

By taking these precautions, you and your family can enjoy your live Christmas tree without risking damage to your hardwood floors. If you do need your floors fixed or refreshed during or after the holidays, Renaissance is here to help. Give us a call at 918-298-4477 for a free evaluation and estimate. Merry Christmas!