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More and more people are choosing to have a hardwood floor installed in their home. A hardwood floor is a surface that is hard-wearing and long-lasting whilst also being fantastically cost-effective.
Most hardwood flooring is extremely resilient to water damage, but if the flooring is kept in a damp or wet environment for a period of time problems can develop.
If hardwood flooring is exposed to moisture for a prolonged period of time it can swell and buckle and may need to be repaired. In the worst cases it may even need to be replaced completely.
Stopping hardwood flooring moisture damage
If you are installing a new hardwood floor over a concrete subfloor you need to make sure a moisture barrier is in place. The moisture barrier will stop the wood from soaking up any moisture from the floor beneath.
One of the worst things you can do to a hardwood floor is to continually mop the floor with a soaking wet mop. The water from the mop can get between the individual planks and over time may damage the wood. If you are going to mop a hardwood floor, it should be well rung out. If any damp residue remains on the floor it should be removed with a dry mop.
If any substance is spilled onto the floor it should be cleaned up straight away. If the substance is left to sit on the floor for a period of time the floor may be damaged and may need to be repaired or treated by a hardwood flooring expert.
- 31st May 2012
Wood Floor Maintenance
If you have recently had hardwood flooring fitted in your home by the specialists then they will almost certainly have advised you on all the main things you need to take into account. In this article we will offer a recap on a few points to consider with regards to your beautiful new wooden floor.
It is first worth noting that the floor will need to be left to acclimatise to its new setting now that it has been installed. You should ideally leave up to a week for the flooring to settle down and get used to its surroundings before filling the room with furniture and other possessions.
The exact period it should be left for will depend on the type of wood floor installed as well as site conditions. The engineers will be able to offer guidance with this.
Once you do start to make use of the room it is advisable to place ventilated coverings just outside and at the entrance point, so that sand, grit and soil is not allowed to damage the newly-laid floor. Mats are useful for any high traffic areas, while the surface also needs to be protected from direct contact with furniture – so use felt pads in this instance.
Most of this is really just common sense, so just ensure the wooden floor is treated with care and maintenance is carried out as and when needed.
Pets can be great companions to have around the home as they can bring a great amount of joy to their owners. However, householders should be aware that when it comes to wooden flooring, just like with expensive furniture and ornaments, care still needs to be taken in this regard.
For those with cats and dogs in the home, it is important to clean up any urine or spillages on the beautiful floor as soon as possible so that it does not dry and possibly damage the surface of the floor.
To do this, you should ideally use the cleaner recommended by the floor manufacturer and use a soft cloth that will not scratch the floor finish.
When it comes to the pet scratching the floor, there are a few preventative measures you can take. One is to have some kind of ventilated floor covering like a rug or mat in place on certain areas of the floor. The other recommended solution is to ensure the nails of the pet are trimmed on a regular basis. Otherwise, the sharp nails could scratch or dent the floor’s surface.
By being aware of these things can ensure your floor has a long life and is always looking at its very best.
- 30th May 2012
With wood being a hygroscopic material, it is prone to changes in humidity levels and behaves rather like a sponge, taking in (expanding) and giving up moisture (contracting) according to the conditions. Therefore, when it comes to wood flooring it is only natural to see some movement as it settles into its new surroundings.
This is nothing to be alarmed about though as the wood flooring specialists will explain everything to you before the floor is fitted so you can ensure this transition period is allowed to happen as it should. The humidity conditions of your home will be discussed prior to the wood floor type you have selected being installed.
The temperature of a building can vary and is also affected by the changing of the seasons, so according to the time of year you have the new floor put in the level of movement that can be expected is linked to this.
Most of the board movement you will notice will be across the grain, meaning that the width of the boards may be constantly moving. After a year or so you can expect things to settle down somewhat, with stability becoming more common once the floor has gone through the full four seasons.
We have been discussing how to go about cleaning wooden flooring, as well as pointing out some of the things people often do with the best intentions, but end up causing damage to the floor’s surface.
Here are a few more pointers to consider when going about cleaning the surface of hardwood flooring:
Do not use furniture polish or regular household dust treatments on these kinds of floors. Otherwise, the finish can easily be dulled, while the slippery surface can prove to be quite dangerous to walk on too.
Prevention is always better than the cure, so do all you can to make sure the room layout is such that the floor can be cleaned without any problems. By this we mean that mats can be placed at entrances and exits to prevent sand and dirt being ground into the floor. Ventilated area rugs can also be used in these situations to protect the hardwood flooring and keep cleaning to a minimum.
If you have pets, you really need to avoid letting them scratch the surface with their long nails and don’t allow any urine to dry on the floor as this can also damage the surface too. Protective pads can also stop the furniture from scratching away the finish.
- 29th May 2012
When you have just invested in a beautiful hardwood floor in one or more rooms within your home the last thing you would ever dream of doing is damaging the floor. However, while nobody does this on purpose, sometimes people unwittingly go about cleaning it the wrong way.
In these two articles we will be taking a look at a few scenarios that should be avoided with floor cleaning as well as providing advice on what you should be doing instead.
Firstly, although it sounds obvious, it is still worth pointing out that the cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer are always best as they are designed for this particular type of wood flooring.
In situations where you are unsure what cleaning products can be applied to your floor, remember that water does not go well with wood. Too much water can really affect the surface of the floor as well as seeping into the wood, causing it to swell up. When cleaning the hardwood surface, it is advisable to ensure the mop is only slightly damp.
For those thinking of using a vacuum cleaner on the floor, bear in mind that certain parts, such as beater bars, can damage the surface of the flooring. Therefore, try to use the right type of nozzle for the attachment.
- 28th May 2012
For those who have invested in hardwood flooring it is advisable to consult with the specialists before attempting any maintenance work on it, such as sanding the floor. This is because going ahead with such a task requires the right level of training and expertise.
If you are confident at taking on this job, and know exactly what you are doing, then go ahead. However, it can take months and years of solid practice to really get to grips with floor sanding – to a professional standard anyway.
The only way to learn how to do this is by hands-on training, which is why, for those who have spent a significant sum on their once-beautiful floor which just requires a bit of careful attention, it is generally recommended to leave this to the experts.
Anyone wishing to sand their own floor will require the right tools for the job, which would require the hire of the equipment ( generally hire equipment will not be as good as the equipment professional hardwood flooring companies would use). The importance of getting proper floor sanders up to the job cannot be stressed enough.
Therefore, for floor sanding to be done to the highest standard, this requires powerful tools in the hands of trained engineers, or those with at least some prior experience of evenly sanding wooden floors.
- 12th May 2012
For wood flooring engineers who carry out floor installations and maintenance work on a regular basis, they will understand all about the need to take care with this type of work.
This is not just because of the unknown dangers involved with working at different types of premises and getting used to a range of situations. This trade requires engineers to protect themselves before attempting any maintenance tasks.
Face masks are very important when sanding floors due the dust also when using some finishes, vapour filters can be used to minimise the inhalation of any potentially harmful fumes. We also recommend the use of ear defenders when using the hardwood floor sanding equipment.
There are also knee shields you can buy to help protect your knees when working on wood floors. These are recommended for those who have to kneel down a lot as part of their work.
When you are about to apply a particular finish to hardwood flooring, be sure to check that the product does not contain anything that would be harmful to the skin. Rubber gloves can be used to look after the hands in these situations.
- 11th May 2012
Those involved with the wood flooring industry will know all about the necessity to take care when performing any kind of maintenance task on a floor. For those attempting to install a new wood floor or sand an old one, the points detailed in this article and the following one are very important.
Health and safety is a topic often discussed these days, but many times people skim over the details when taking on any manual work. If you don’t want to learn a lesson the hard way, it is always worth spending time considering the many issues involved.
For those who are specialists in hardwood flooring, their many years of experience can come in handy when assessing a situation and knowing how to handle different scenarios, but for those thinking about carrying out maintenance on their own floors it is not worth taking any risks.
For example, it is always advisable to read the MSDS sheets on using various flooring finishes as some include toxic components and should be avoided.
However, it is not just with your general health where reading up on what you are about to do is a precautionary measure. In the next article we will look at wearing protective clothing and making use of the right equipment.
- 10th May 2012
These articles have been looking closely at the decisions people will have to make about their old wooden floor and whether they can ever be restored to past glories.
We have established that this is quite possible, especially when you leave this in the hands of the specialists as their many years of experience can be put to good use as they advise you on the most viable options open to you.
For those that have just moved home into an older property, there is always the inclination to simply pull up the old floors and start again (budget permitting). However, restoring these hardwood floors may be more cost effective, not to mention being a worthwhile solution.
Even if the floor has been covered by a carpet for a long time, the old hardwood floors can be restored and exposed once more. Any quality wooden floor is worth holding onto, but the final decision is up to the homeowner.
A well-maintained wooden floor can last for centuries, although this depends on various factors such as the kind of wood used, its treatment and the type of floor fitted.
So, if you do have a genuine, old wooden floor, restoration is certainly something to think very carefully about.
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