The No. 1 Enemy Of Your Wood Floor
A popular choice for high traffic environments, wood is actually one of the most durable types of flooring. When properly maintained, it can last for long, even as old as the building itself. Sure, there are different types of wood floor installations, from the engineered ones to the solid wood floors – and each have their varying levels of longevity, but safe to say that a well-cared for wood floor can last for decades. This includes the regular cleaning, as well as the occasional floor sanding and refinishing to replace the worn-out treatments. Over the course if its life, the wood floor will come under plenty of assault, from the abrasive soiling that is grinded against that the surface, to heavy items being fragged on it, and even pets running all over the floor and digging their sharp claws into the surface. However, one particular agent stands out, that is responsible for most of the problems affecting wood floors: moisture.
Why Moisture Is A Threat To Your Wood Floors
Wood, being hygroscopic by nature, absorbs and loses moisture depending on the moisture gradient with the surrounding. When there is excessive moisture, it will be soaked up by the wood tissue, leading to an assortment of problems depending on how much of it is taken in.
Common causes of excessive moisture include:
- Water that’s on the floor
Here, you have issues like spills that were allowed to remain on the surface for too long, plumbing issues like a broken pipe or a clogged toilet that resulted in a flooding incident within the house, all through to cases out of your control like a hurricane that came battering through the neighbourhoods and left a torrent of floods in its wake that got into the building. Whichever the case, the steeper the moisture gradient, the more the water that gets absorbed by the wood tissue.
- Water from under the floor
This looks at moisture coming from below the subfloor, or that which is between the subfloor and the wood floorboards. It can be as a result of a perforated vapour barrier that allows groundwater to intrude through and get to the floorboards, or leaking appliances especially around the sinks. It’s also witnessed when the wood floor was installed before the concrete subfloor had completely dried, meaning that the residual moisture will be taken in by the wood. The terrain of the building’s location can also factor in, especially when it doesn’t allow rain and runoff to move away quickly enough, instead letting it accumulate at the foundation of the building. The effect of this can be long term.
- High levels of humidity
In this situation, the wood floor simply absorbs the moisture right out of the air until the moisture gradient eases off. Areas that receive lots of humid weather will have more frequent case of the wood floors being affected, given that it will be expanding with a greater intensity. This leads us to the next point: acclimation.
- Installations that were not properly acclimated
You’ll see flooring manufacturers insisting that, when it comes to wood, it should be properly acclimated before installing them. Basically, this is storing them for a while in an area that has similar conditions with the residential or commercial space where they are to be set up. This is to give them time to either lose or gain moisture – depending on the average temperature and humidity conditions of the location, until the floor boards stabilize. After this, the fluctuations of the atmospheric conditions won’t cause much expansion or contraction unless they are extreme changes in temperature and humidity. As such, the expansion and contraction of the wood floors will be to a reduced intensity, since it has already stabilized to the average conditions of the space. However, failing to allow the acclimation to occur will result in the floorboards expanding or contracting too much after the installation, causing damage to the structure.
- Poor installation
There’s no escaping the fact that wood will contract and expand with the seasonal changes and fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This needs to be taken into account during the installations. Mistakes, where floor is fastened wrongly such that the floorboards are not given sufficient allowance for the seasonal changes, will lead to damages to the structure. For instance, there needs to be sufficient expansion gaps allowed around the floor’s perimeter. Without adequate expansion joints for the large floor areas, there will be buckling when the boards absorb moisture. Other oversights during the installation process include failing to set up a vapour barrier between the subfloor and the wood, or rushing the process such that the concrete is still wet when the wood floorboards are installed.
Are you looking to revitalise your wood floor? We have a qualified team that comes with years of experience handling the floor renovation projects. From the sanding to the refinishing, they carry out the task to quality results – and we have the track record to prove it. We have invested heavily in state-of-the-art machinery, where the powerful equipment cuts down the amount of time required for the process. Industrial-grade sanders grind away those existing layers of finish on the floor, and the personnel ensure that a smooth surface is obtained, ready for the treatment process that are to follow. With our dustless floor sanding systems, you won’t have to worry about your home getting covered in loads of dust and putting your family members at risk. The high-powered vacuums that are connected to the sanding gear suction away the coarse and fine dust particles immediately they are grinded off the floor, and these are directed into waiting containment units, where they are safely held.
Our floor sanding and restoration crew love what they do, and will treat your property with care and respect. They have been thoroughly trained in the various aspects of the job, and handling the different types of installations. We also invest in the continual professional development, keeping them up to date with the latest technologies regarding floor care, to ensure that they deliver the optimal services each time.