Floors Damaged by Ice Cleats
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Barbara K. on the line, calling in from Minnesota, who’s got truly a geographically unique question. Barbara K. accidentally wore her ice cleats on her boots into her home and did a number on the floor.
TOM: So Barbara, was there ice in the house that caused you to wear the cleats inside?
BARBARA: No. I did break my arm, though, in February – both bones – and my son give me his boot-cleat thing and …
TOM: Oh. So you weren’t really used to having them on?
BARBARA: Yes, I – well, the bird food I keep in the porch. And I would come in the back door and go through the linoleum kitchen, the dining room hardwood floor, the living room hardwood floor and the porch hardwood floor. And these are 1900 wood floors: all different woods. And there must be billions, if not millions, of – not on the whole floor, of course, just the …
TOM: Oh, my God. So you turned around at some point in this journey and saw the holes that you now pierced into your floors.
BARBARA: Yep. Well, about a month-and-a-half later, I didn’t notice them because it’s always so dark here in the winter. And then one day, the sun did shine and it hit them at an angle and I thought, “What the heck is that?”
TOM: So were you wearing these cleats all winter long while you fed the birds?
BARBARA: No, no. No but I would go for a walk every day and then get my mail and come home and feed the birds last and …
TOM: OK. Yeah and so you just kept those cleats on until you got done with all your routine and now you’re faced with hole-y floors.
BARBARA: Yeah. With a broken arm, they were hard to get on and off with one arm, so I left them on and I didn’t – I’ve never had them before.
TOM: Oh, OK.
BARBARA: I was stupid. I was in a lot of pain for about two months, anyway, so I wasn’t thinking straight.
TOM: Yeah. Your judgment was clouded by pain medication, I’m sure.
BARBARA: Oh, no. No, no. I’m allergic to everything, so that wasn’t a problem.
TOM: OK. So let’s tackle these one floor surface at a time.
TOM: The hardwood floor – if it’s solid hardwood floor and they’re not too terribly deep, you could lightly sand the surface and refinish it. If they are kind of deep, then you’d have to have it professionally sanded so we can get down below those dents.
Linoleum, no, I don’t have any solutions for you on there. There’s no way to patch that, so you’re going to have to live with that and eventually replace it. But the hardwood you may be able to sand out.
BARBARA: Yes and I did measure the cleats. And I don’t know what they were new before walking on concrete for a couple of months but right now, those cleats are between 1/8-of-an-inch and a ¼-of-an-inch long. So that’s how deep: just under a ¼-of-an-inch deep holes.
TOM: Yeah, that’s pretty serious damage and I’m pretty sure it’s not covered by homeowners insurance, either.
BARBARA: I know. But you think sanding, huh? I mean there’s no – there’s nothing I can pour on it or …?
TOM: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
LESLIE: Well and if you do, any sort of filler that you put in, because it’s a floor, it’s just going to pop out when you vacuum, traffic, movement. It’s just not going to ever stay.
TOM: Just consider it a little Wisconsin character very, very special to your area and a great story to tell people. And by the way, may I suggest that you wear slippers next time?
BARBARA: Yeah, well, then I will break another arm.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project, Barbara. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.