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Hardwood Flooring & How to Keep It Looking Great

Posted on October 11th, 2012 In: Articles, Hardwood Floors Sanding Articles

If you have a hardwood floor that has been expertly laid then wear and tear, repairing and minor cosmetic touch ups should be relatively easy to do for the gifted DIY amateur. A little care and attention means that you’ll be able to keep your hardwood floor looking great for years to come – so what are the main concerns you may face, and how do you tackle them?

Buckling problems

Buckling occurs when the floorboards become damaged and are raised up sufficiently to lift away from the subfloor or underlay. This is a common enough problem for hardwood flooring, especially if it has been subjected to fluctuation in temperature over a period of time. Buckling occurs when hairline cracks first appear along the surface of the wood although, if spotted quickly enough, these can be repaired by means of angling nails into the board. This brings two sides of the fissure together, and any flaws resulting from this method can be successfully disguised with coloured or plain wood putty.

If however the cracks are larger and more noticeable it may take a floor refinishing process to eliminate the problem. If this is the case then it is worth taking professional advice unless you are absolutely sure you know how to tackle this type of job successfully. On the other hand, if the crack is too large even for refinishing to cure, then it may be that replacing the floorboard is necessary.

Fill in the Gaps

Another common problem is the appearance of gaps in between the boards. Generally, through the natural process of an organic substance like wood, gaps occur as the wood dries out and shrinks and when it becomes moist, expands. This shrinkage and expansion occurring over a period of years will eventually cause noticeable gaps to occur between the floorboards.

Before you rush in to fill the gaps, it is worthwhile exercising a little patience. For example if you check the gaps periodically and discover the gap is in general not more than the width of a penny then you can say that the floor is behaving normally. If however the gaps are wider then you may require to do some gap filling. Gap filing can be done with papier mache or slivers of pine, depending upon the width of the gaps.

Washboarding

Washboarding, also known as cupped floors, is a slow process which occurs as the ends of the boards become raised whilst the centre of the board sinks lower into the subfloor. Imbalance of moisture is the most common cause of washboarding – when the moisture level is greater on the underside of the wood than on the top.

The long-term cure for washboarding problems is to professionally regulate the humidity levels in your home, although you will also have to give the floor underside sufficient time to dry out before you can expect to see any improvement. When the floor has levelled out then it should be expertly sanded and refinished for best results.

Warp speed

Should you discover your floor boards have warped or sagged then this is unfortunately a serious problem that must be addressed as soon as it is discovered if the flooring is to be saved. Commonly such a problem stems from long-term humidity problems within the home that has to be addressed before tackling any flooring repairs.

Pesky flooring problems

Small but irritating issues such as loose boards or scratchy planks can be dealt with and successfully repaired by means of concealment techniques and a little know-how. In the case of loose planks then they must be secured i.e. nailed in place on to the subfloor to prevent any movement.

If the whole floor is loose, this points to an initially faulty installation and is best dealt with by someone with trusted professional floorboard sanding expertise.

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