How to Protect Hardwood Flooring from a Christmas Tree

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'Tis the Season!

Christmas trees signal the start of the holiday season and the cheer that goes along with it. Unfortunately, their pointy needles can wreak havoc on hardwood floors. Throw some water into the mix and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.

Luckily, if you take proper precautions to protect your hardwood floors from needles and spillage, you won’t have to worry about refinishing your floors going into the new year.

You have to be aware about protecting your hardwood floors not only when bringing the tree inside your home, but also while the tree is sitting in your living room. Here’s a guide on how to protect your floors from your Christmas tree.


Step 1 - Clean and Prep Area

Thoroughly vacuum and microfiber mop the floor in the area that the Christmas tree will go. Any debris that is trapped under the tree can scratch or harm your hardwood floors. Sweeping is not recommended as the needles have the potential to scratch or dent the finish. 

Step 2 - Prepare a Barrier

You will want to prepare a barrier between the flooring and the tree. A proper barrier will prevent the water you pour into the tree stand from making contact with the hardwood floor and damaging the finish. It will also help to contain the tree’s needles to a certain extent. For the barrier, you can purchase a washing machine drain tray, like this one from The Home Depot. This will collect any excess water from the stand and won’t allow the water to penetrate or overflow. 

Don’t use a towel or any other absorbent material under the tree, as these will hold onto the water and damage your hardwood floors finish. Trapped water or moisture can cause your hardwood boards to swell and separate or turn black.

Step 3 - Bringing in the Tree

Before bringing the tree into your home, shake it and bang the trunk on the ground outside. This will cause any loose needles to fall off.

Place the tree in a large garbage bag, pulling up the bag to cover as many of the branches as possible. This will keep some needles from falling off and getting tracked across your floor while you carry the tree through your house. Don't drag the tree across the floor, even if you put it on an area rug or any other “soft” item.  The tree is heavy and can easily put a nice long scrape along your floor.

Step 4 - Maintenance 

Frequently vacuum the area around the tree to get rid of any loose needles, which can severely scratch your floors if they are dragged around. 

Tip 💡 Keeping the tree well hydrated will help prevent excessive needle loss.

Step 5 - Removing Tree and Clean Up

If possible, put a plastic bag around the tree to prevent more needles from falling. Then carefully drain the water out of the stand. If any water spills, be sure to clean it up right away as standing water can cause significant damage to your floors.  But, hopefully all will be caught by the plastic tray you’ve placed under the stand. 

When the tree is removed, use your vacuum and microfiber mop to clean up the area.