Signs That Your Wood Floor Needs Some Maintenance
When maintaining a wood floor, it will be important to watch out for early signs of ruin so that you can arrange to have them resolved quickly. Damage to the installation can quickly spiral out of control, and put you in a position where you’ll need to replace entire floorboards, which will be a costly endeavour. Fortunately, when noticed early, the remedial measures required will be more pocket-friendly, and also prolong the life of your unit. Here are 5 signs that you should take seriously:
- When floorboards begin resembling bows
That “bow” or “basin” shape is known as cupping, and is more likely to occur near the water sources in the household. Water finding its way under the floorboards is absorbed by the wood, and the resultant expansion causes the floor to cup. This is also common for those with concrete flooring underneath the wood planks, especially when a waterproof underlay has not been installed. The high levels of humidity seen with concrete floors will lead to more moisture being absorbed by the wood above them, which will lead to cupping. Here, all that’s needed is to dehumidify the room. Regulating the humidity levels will protect the boards, though there are cases where some of the floorboards will need to be actually removed and allowed to airdry, in which case the moisture that is under them gets to evaporate. If there isn’t an underlay, this will need to be installed otherwise you will keep finding yourself in the same situation.
- Crowning floors
Here, the floor takes on the shape of a small mountain. It can be due to a myriad of causes, from spills that remained on the floor for too long, to there being high humidity in the room. It affects the floor boards that are near water sources. Basically, the water on the wood surface is absorbed by the floorboards, causing them to expand and rise in the middle. With cases of severe water damage, such as when there are broken pipes and water covers the room, there will be buckling, where some boards end up lifting and twisting.
When crowning occurs, your first priority is to deal with the water problem, especially for cases of plumbing issues and when there are flooding incidents in the house. Mop up any residue water on the floor, and allow it to dry naturally. This will be gradual. For damaged areas, floor sanding and refinishing can be carried out.
Rushing a floor finishing process can ruin the results. Failing to allow sufficient drying time in between the coats that are being applied prevents the layers from curing properly. Rookie mistakes like mixing incompatible products in the quest to obtain a final characteristic hue that will be unique to your floor can be costly. All this leads to cases of blisters and bubbles forming, and eventually the wood floor begins to peel, ruining is aesthetic appeal. For cases where the damage is superficial, buffing can suffice. However, most cases require a whole floor sanding to be carried out, to remove the finish coats that have been applied and apply fresh new ones. It’s highly recommended that you hire professionals for the floor sanding and finishing process, in order to ensure that the task is carried out appropriately.
- Waves on the floor
These waves usually run the entire length of the room, and can occur just about anywhere in the house. It is due to the warping or loosening of the subfloor or joists supporting the floorboards. Here the priority will be to change or repair the joists before any attempt of floor levelling is made.
- Pet stains
For those with cats and dogs in the household, urine stains are likely to be an issue you have already encountered. These spots are a threat to the wood floor, especially due to the pH and the breakdown of urea that occurs over time. Dealing with the pet urine stain as soon as possible is highly recommended, using removal products that will be safe for application on wood floors. Over the years, some stains will have slipped through your fingers, and not got dealt with in time, allowing the wood tissue to absorb them. Sure, you can treat the spots with the enzyme-based cleaning agents to prevent those odours from forming, but the damage to the surface finish and wood tissue will have already been done, leaving behind a patch that stands out from the rest of the flooring. With multiple such patches in the household, it will reach a point where they need to be removed, through a floor sanding, and the new finish coats applied.
The floor sanding and refinishing is one of those projects that requires lots of skill to get it done right. There are numerous stories of DIY jobs gone wrong, including aspects of damage to the structure of the floor and ruined results, which usually require the task to be repeated. For instance, under-sanding, where the floor is not sanded enough and there are patches of the old finish still left on the surface, means that the new finish coats won’t bond well with the surface. It can start bubbling or peeling off, making an unsightly mess. The only recourse for this is having the floor sanding process repeated – which just ends up consuming more resources.
The dust that is generated during the sanding is also an issue. Working with the conventional sanders, these units usually come with dust bags on the machine to collect the dust – but there’s still a substantial amount that escapes into the indoor airspace. It ends up covering the different surfaces from the walls to the floors and countertops, getting into the sinks, vents and sockets, becoming a nightmare to clean. What’s more, unless it is effectively cleaned off, it will stick to the wet coats of the finish products that will be applied, ruining the final result. This is why professionals used dustless floor sanding systems, where the sanders are hooked up to powerful vacuums that suction away the dust the moment it is grinded off the floor, and it is then directed to a containment unit, which is usually mounted on a truck outside the property. This makes the process less messy, and far much safer for the occupants of the building.