Pay Attention To What Your Wood Floor Is Saying
Can your floor speak to you? Of course – just not in the conventional way per se. However, by just being observant, you can pick out problems before they spin out of control and address them early on. There are plenty of signs to keep a lookout for when it comes to wood floors. When you take them into consideration you will be able to avert costly damages later on. Let’s take a look at some of these.
- Huge gaps between floorboards
When they are out in the open, they will be hard to miss. But there are cases where the gaps occur in the flooring underneath the carpet, and you occasionally feel draughts coming in, spreading their chilling sensation within the interior space. The gaps are initially caused by the seasonal changes in temperature and humidity, where they shrink over the cold winter months and expand over the summer. Gradually the gaps become larger and more permanent, and renovation steps will be needed to get rid of them.
Here the fix is simply having a filler paste applied into the gap. This is a mixture of a gap-filling product, and the dust from sanding the same floor. The resultant paste gets properties that are similar to the surrounding floor, such as the colour closely resembling the adjacent boards. This is why it is important to use the floor sanding dust of the same boards, in order to ensure that there aren’t discrepancies with the final results.
- Squeaky underfoot
It can be exasperating when your floor keeps squeaking with each step that is taken. From the noise during the day with lots of people walking about, to those nights where you can barely make it to the fridge for a midnight snack without waking up the household. As the floor bards adjust to the fluctuating temperature and humidity, some of the boards get loose. This is also exacerbated by joists that are set up far apart, in which case there won’t be sufficient support for the boards, causing them to bounce when walked on, creating that annoying creaking sound. Larger floor boards develop bigger gaps, so they’ll be more noisy.
The remedy for squeaky boards depends on the cause. For instance, if there are particularly long gaps, construction adhesives can be used, applying them especially along the joists. You can also have more joists added. In case the subfloor can’t be accessed, lubricants can be applied to the problematic areas. If it is unavoidable, then having the flooring itself changed and a new one installed will permanently fix the issue.
- Fungal growths
What if you spot mould or mildew growing in the corners of the floor, behind the furniture, or simply popping up in random places like right in the middle of the living room floor? This is a threat that needs to be dealt with immediately. Fungi infestations can quickly become a nightmare, a persistent problem that will be difficult to remove. So the sooner that you can fix it, the better.
The fungal growths are caused by water dwelling on areas of the floor for long. It can be anything from spills that remain unattended to for quite a while. to water damage caused by issues like plumbing leaks and all-out flooding incidences. Increasing humidity levels worsens the situation.
If you notice the mould or mildew in one spot, carry out an assessment of the entire floor, looking for additional growth. Next, check how deep the fungi has growth with a quick scrub of the area, using a diluted solution of bleach and water, with a 1:9 ratio (e.g., 100ml of bleach mixed with 900ml of water). Once you determine that the fungi has spread deeply in the wood, then that’s a problem that needs more measures to be taken. Here, a floor sanding is carried out, then refinishing products applied. This has the welcome benefit of giving your flooring a new lease of life. However, there are cases where the damage will be too extensive and require the contaminated floorboards to be replaced.
Once the fungi issue has been resolved, don’t put it completely out of thought. Mould and mildew can be quite persistent, you should remain extra-keen for some time in order to spot any growth the moment they pop up.
- Stains all over the floor
Those dark or light stains that are predominant around potted plants and water sources like sinks are left behind as the spots dry. For the discolouration that is around the window, this is due to the sun’s radiation affecting the floor. Just like people tan when they are exposed to too much sun, the wood tissue will change colour. For these cases, floor sanding and refinishing will resolve the issue.
- Rotting smell that doesn’t go away
This is common at the floor corners, and in bathrooms. The cause is the water that has accumulated in the wood floor – probably because of the leaking pipe. The longer that it is allowed to continue, the greater the extent of the damage that will result. It can even cause the joists to get destabilised, and increase the risk of injury to persons who will be using the facility. The affected floorboards need to be moved, and the cause of the leakage resolved.
- Flaking of the floor surface
For flaking to occur, the initial floor sanding and finishing hadn’t been done correctly. The different coats of the product may have been applied without allowing sufficient drying time between them, or incompatible products have been mixed together, perhaps in an attempt to develop a unique colour for the surface. Blister and bubbles pop up on the floor, and it begins peeling. For superficial damage, a light buffing can resolve the issue. If the flaking is extensive, then a complete floor sanding will be required, and it’s recommended that you hire the professionals for the task. Also ensure that the cleaning products that will be used for the routine surface care are safe for the wood floor.