When Your Wood Floor Needs A Fresh Start
They are durable, elegant and highly sought-after installations. Wood brings a natural appeal to the room, that is difficult to achieve with other types of flooring. The wide array of species available to work with, diverse treatment options- including the wood stains, lacquers, sealants and varnishes- which bring different attributes to the floor, add to the flexibility that the property owner has in determining the final result. However, this elegance doesn’t last forever. The flooring inevitably loses its appeal- even when you have been very strict on the cleaning and maintenance. It’s just part of life. What happens?
The wood floors handle a lot on a daily basis. Take foot traffic for instance. As people walk about the surface, they grind dirt particles against the floor. This slowly abrades the finish coats that had been applied, wearing them down. Heavily trafficked areas witness accelerated wear and tear. Situations where you have multiple people tracking in dirt from the outdoors means that there will be more gritty particles around to cause harm to your floor. This is why it is recommended that one invests in area rugs and entrance mats, that reduce the amount of dirt getting transferred to the rest of the floor, increasing protection for the installation. Then there is the type of footwear itself. From those with high heels to those with spiked shoes- these add to the train that is on the surface. Do you have kids? As the young ones use the floor as a road for their toy cars and tracks for the model trains, these can create scratches. Drops of paint from the little ones practising their artistry skills, plus the accidental spills of the drinks they were enjoying- these add to the problem. Speaking of spills, when liquids are allowed to sit on the surface for long, the chances of them seeping through to the wood structure increase. This raises two issues. First, the increases moisture content leads to more of it being absorbed by the wood, causing more expansion- increasing the risk of cases like cupping and crowning. Secondly, the longer the spills are neglected, the higher the chances of the stain becoming permanent. Furniture also weighs in- literally. Sofas, bookshelves and other heavy pieces of furniture can damage the wood floor- especially when dragged across the surface. The general rule of the thumb is that one is meant to lift and carry the units, instead of dragging them across the floor. Even during normal usage- with the sofa for instance, there will be a slight movement in its position, affecting the spot on which the furniture has been positioned. For those with chairs that have casters- especially with the case of metal wheels, these increase the amount of scratches that are formed on the floor. Pets are also notorious for causing scratches, digging into the surface with their sharp claws as they run about.
Over time, the charm of the wood floor is replaced by a dull and worn-out look. There may be cases of peeling finish. Sometimes the scratches can get so deep that they expose the wood itself, increasing the risks of water damage. Cracks and gouges on the installation, faded or discoloured finish, darkened boards as a result of interaction with UV radiation from the sun- they all take away the aesthetic appeal of your floor. Fortunately, with wood, this is not a permanent fate. The installation can be revitalised. All it takes is for the floor to be sanded, and new finish coats applied.
Dust is the main nuisance that comes from the sanding process. It is generated in large amounts, and unless appropriate measures are put in place to control it, poses lots of threats to both the contractor and the persons on the premises. Take irritation for instance. Once those tiny particles that are released into the air get into body systems, different reactions can result- from coughing and sneezing, itching and watery eyes, all through to short term breathing problems and all-out asthma attacks. Birch, fir, pine, spruce and cedar- just about every time type of timber flooring is an irritant at some level. Then there are those that increase one’s sensitivity over time, especially with prolonged exposure- these are the likes of mahogany, cedar, poplar and teak. The dust from some of the wood species is also carcinogenic, such as beech and oak that can cause nasal cancer. Others are directly toxic- like teak.
An obvious control measure would be to ensure that there is as little airborne dust created as possible. This is where dustless floor sanding comes in. This is a process that is increasingly being adopted by professional floor renovation companies, for the protection of their workers, plus the residential and commercial clients that they are providing the services to. Here, powerful vacuuming systems are hooked up to the sanders. The dust that is sanded of the floor is captured immediately and directed out of the room through hoses into a containment unit, from where it will be safely disposed of. Truck-mounted units provide the power that is required for the process, enhancing the efficiency of the operations. The dustless floor sanding system can get rid of 99% of the dust that is generated during the sanding, thus reducing the health risks involved. The crew themselves are also protected by wearing safety gear such as respirators. This approach has the welcome benefit of avoiding the mess that would have been caused by dust covering the different surfaces of the household. You also get to proceed onto the next stage of the floor refinishing- applying the woods stains, sealants and other treatments required, much sooner than you would have had you been forced to first carry out a monstrous cleaning chore. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about dust particles settling onto the finish coats that will be applied and ruining them. This contributes to better quality results at the end of the floor sanding and refinishing project.