Giving Your Floor Quality Care To Prolong Its Life
With wood floor installations, it’s all about the diversity. There are numerous wood species to choose from, allowing one to go with the character, wood grain and even colouration that meets their decor needs. Even the hardness varies- from Douglas Fir that is used in areas like shops and utility sections, Teak and Black Walnut to the more durable Hickory, the Brazilian Cherry and Patagonian Rosewood that rank high on the Janka scale, used to test the hardness of the structure. Oak, ebony, maple and ash- there are plenty of wood styles to choose from. Then there is the type of wood design- with there being solid wood floors and engineered wood. For the solid wood, this is basically sourced from the individual trees, cut up into sizeable planks and treated in readiness for installation. On the other hand, engineered wood is layered, with a plywood base that had a thin slice of hardwood on top of it. When it comes to the finish products to use, you get to choose from a vast range of wood stains, delivering their unit colours to the wood. Whether you want a light look that brightens up the space, to those darker tones that give more character to the wood, finish products that provide various gloss levels, from the highly reflective surfaces to the satin finishes- you are spoilt for choice. Even the installations are done in different ways. These can be broadly categorised into two: fixed wood and floating wood installation. For the fixed wood, the boards are nailed, stapled or glued to the subfloor- causing them to be ‘fixed’ to it. On the other hand, for floating wood flooring the boards have more freedom to move- giving it more flexibility to avoid ‘working against itself’ during the seasonal expansion and contraction. They also tend to be easier to install, being basically fitted together like a puzzle. However, one of the major downsides to this method is the squeaky or hollow sounds that come about as one is walking on the floor.
Once installed, the wood floors bring elegance to the room. Their aesthetic appeal- that natural look and feel can barely be replicated by other flooring types. Add the durability of the structure to this, which allows them to be used in high traffic areas due to their ability to take on a beating and keep on going strong. Attributes such as the installation properties of the wood also comes in handy, where it reduces heat loss from the building, enhancing the energy efficiency of the room. Its cellular structure- with the layers of tissue, aids in reducing sound reverberations in the room as well. It’s not a surprise that the wood floors come with hefty price tags. It’s worth the price spent on them. When properly taken care of, they can last as long as the building itself. They are even an asset in the real estate industry, where properties with wood floor installation get to fetch higher rental and sale prices.
Factors Affecting Your Wood Floor
For all their strength, wood floors are still not invulnerable. They handle a lot on a daily basis. Take moisture for instance. Wood, being hygroscopic, absorbs and loses moisture based on the condition of the environment around it. This ranges from the relative humidity in the room, to aspects like spills that are on the floor. Issues like cupping, crowning and buckling of the floor are all attributed to the moisture changes in the structure. Then there is the heat. Too much of it will cause the wood to dry out, and shrink, leading to gaps forming. The sun’s radiation affects the finish- where some formulations begin yellowing over time, and can also affect the wood tissue itself, with there being types of wood that fade, and others darken on prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Foot traffic itself has an impact. As people walk up and about in the room, the dirt particles that are on the floor surface are ground against it, creating an abrasive effect akin to numerous bits of sandpaper being used on the floor. Even the type of footwear being used weighs in- pun intended. For instance, despite a person weighing just a fifteenth of the weight of an elephant, the same person in heels would do more damage to a wood floor. This is because the entire bodyweight of the individual being concentrated on a tiny section of the floor. This contributes to the strain that the structure is being put under- which is why many property owners with wood floors dread heels being worn on the premises. Do you have a pet? For households with cats and dogs, the furry members of the family are notorious for leaving scratches all over the floors as they run around the different rooms. Kids’ toys, casters from the chairs with metal wheels, furniture dragged across the surface instead of being lifted- over time the damage becomes so extensive that the existing finish needs to be removed and a new one applied. This is achieved through the floor sanding and refinishing process, which enables you to give your installation a fresh new start.
Even the day-to-day vacuuming may be damaging the wood floor. This especially for those using ordinary vacuums for the process. These have roller brushes with thick bristles which- though they are ideal for picking up dirt from upholstery and carpeting, will lead to scratching of the wood floor. In addition, the vacuums that are come with plastic wheels may also scratch the wood. This is why it is particularly recommended for property owners with wood floor installations to use vacuum cleaners that come with padding for the wheels. In addition, the rolling brush should be switched off, preventing it from spinning and damaging the wood.
To keep your floor in optimal condition, routine maintenance measure will be required. Routine cleaning to remove the dirt and grime, dealing with spills the moment they form, treating it with sealants to ward off water from getting absorbed by the structure, applying protective finishes to increase the ability of the installation to withstand wear and tear- it’s all part of the process. When the finish coats have been dilapidated, investing in professional floor sanding will enable you to prep the surface again for the new treatment to be applied.