The Beauty That Is Wood Flooring
Wood is one of the most popular types of flooring materials, actually increasing the real estate value of the property. It’s durable nature, the warm look and feel that it adds to the space, that natural charm that accentuates the décor, the wood grain and characteristic hues of the particular species that adds to the uniqueness of the floor, all through to the wide range of wood stains available to enable you to wind up with the particular result that matches your state and style – it doesn’t come as a surprise that these installations are all over for residential and commercial establishments alike. What’s more, they bring a timeless appeal. Wood floors don’t go out of style so you can rest assured that your installation will still be trendy after the decades have passed – just ensure that it is properly maintained. Let’s go over a run-down of what you should know.
Wood Floor 101
There are two main types of wood floors: solid wood and engineered wood. How are they different? Well, the solid wood floor is basically the same piece of wood through the entire plank. It has just been cut or sawed into shape. On the other hand, engineered wood has a high-density fibreboard (HDF) or rigid plywood core, onto which a thin strip of actual solid wood has been glued. This top layer is the veneer layer. The two variations of flooring have their strengths and weaknesses.
Solid wood can be restored multiple times – even over seven times, since there is much more tissue for the floor sanding to be done. There is also lots of room for customisation, since there are multiple tree species to pick from, cut patterns to work with, all through to the finish products to use. Engineered wood finish also versatile, though there is limited room for personalising the cut patterns. The engineered wood also stands up better to water and humidity fluctuations, which allows it to be installed in areas like bathrooms and basements, where solid wood sees drastic changes. However, the thin veneer layer of engineered wood floor means that it can only be refinished a limited number of times – usually two or three. It’s especially important to ensure that when the floor sanding is being carried out, only the minimal required amount of material is used. Oversanding will reduce the strength of the installation, and reduce the number of times it can be refinished in future.
Signs That The Floor Sanding Is Due
When you pay close attention to your floor, you will be able to take note of changes early on, and take measures to protect the installation and prolong its life. For instance, if the finish is becoming dull, a quick screening and recoating will be enough to spruce it up. This is a light sanding technique that is not invasive, and keeps the floor looking good between the deeper floor sanding sessions where the existing finish coats need to be overhauled, and new treatments applied. Here’s how you can tell that the wood floor needs to be refinished:
- When the surface is excessively scratched
While you shouldn’t panic over every tiny scratch that forms on the wood floor, they can enable you to gauge the condition of the finish. When the scratches are especially in the finish or stain, and haven’t reached the wood underneath, then the issue isn’t severe – though by this point you should start planning to have the refinishing job done. When there are deep scratches that have gone through the wood stain, then here the floor sanding and refinishing is a priority. These deep scratches will provide an entryway for water to get to the wood, increasing the risk of damage to the installation.
- Staining from water damage
Water is a problem to wood floors in multiple ways, one of which is leaving behind marks on the floor. Over time, the numerous beverage spills, occasional leaking appliances, issues like pet urine and broken pipes can lead to their being multiple stains all over the floor, which will take away its beauty. The floor sanding allows you to give your installation a fresh start. Note that if there has been cupping or crowning due to the wood floor absorbing excess water from its environment, the moisture problem should first be addressed and the wood floor allowed to stabilise, after which the floor sanding can be carried out to even out the surface.
- Greying of the surface
When sections of the floor begin becoming grey, this is a sign of water damage. It occurs when the polyurethane finish that has been applied wears off, allowing the underlying boards to absorb more water. This causes oxidising in the wood, and it turns grey. The worn out finish coats should be removed through a thorough sanding, and a new treatment applied as soon as possible. Unless attended to, the greying will continue, and the floor will gradually turn black. From here, the only recourse will be to replace the floorboards themselves.
- Discoloured boards
The sun’s radiation can result in the floorboards getting discoloured. This will depend on the type of wood species involved, and it mainly affects the floors that come under prolonged exposure to the sun – like the sections near the windows or at the patio doors. Note that there are finish coats that also react to the sun’s radiation, developing a yellow hue over time. Through the floor sanding and refinishing, you get to remove the existing treatments, and have a new wood stain and lacquer coats applied, depending on your individual preference.
The floorboards in the high traffic sections of the building are susceptible to splintering. These are the like the hallways, the floor under the dining table where there is repeated chair movement, all through to the doorways. With kids and pets around, the chances of splintering of the floorboards increases due to the playful activities of the little ones. Splinters are particularly problematic because they can cause injuries, and also provide points of weakening through which water can enter the wood and result in damage.