Why Hardwood Flooring Deserves Your Protection
Whilst there can be no doubt that solid wood flooring is a beautiful addition to any style of home, real woods floors can also be considered an investment when the time comes to sell. A well maintained wood flooring can easily have a lifespan of 50 years or more so it is no surprise that UK homeowners view wood floors as an economical as well as beautiful alternative to other types of floor covering.
However wood is a breathable material and as such requires protection from dampness, shoe and heel scuffs, scrapes and abrasions and discolouration caused by toys, paws, sunlight and normal family living if it is to reward you with decades of service and beauty. The good thing is that a little regular maintenance and cleaning goes a very long way towards lengthening the life of real wood floors.
Simple steps to avoid warping and rot
One of the main reasons why wood flooring becomes prematurely aged is due to warping and rot which sets in due to an excess of water on the floor. Whether this is caused by a leaky bit of pipework, liquids and spillages being allowed to lie on the floor or moisture in the air, water damage means an early death to floor boards and prolonged water damage will certainly mean replacing damaged boards.
If there has been new plumbing installed, pipework or central heating it is worth checking planks which have been lifted and replaced for damage and gaps between the boards to ensure the floor is watertight.
Generally speaking solid wood flooring does not do well in wet and steamy rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, utility rooms and the like although if your home already has a wood floor repair company in any of these areas it does not mean the floor will rot away, rather that you should pay particular care that water is never allowed to lie on the wood and all spillages are promptly dealt with. Avoid rapid changes in humidity and strive for a constant temperature all year round which will reduce board movement and gaps appearing between the planks.
Another common problem caused by water is called ‘cupping’ which occurs when floor boards rise and fall almost of their own volition. This will be apparent by an area which feels slightly uneven to the feet or it might look uneven when viewed from a distance. Cupping must be attended to as soon as it is noticed otherwise you run the risk of the whole floor being ruined. Floor boards which have bevelled in this way will need to be removed and replaced.
For a floor which is overall in a bad state of repair the only solution is to remove existing veneer by means of sanding, repairing and/or replacing damaged boards and the reapplication of new finishing.
If the floor is already in good condition then all you need do to keep it looking that way is regular sweeping and a bi-monthly clean round with a lightly damp mop. Always avoid using abrasive cleaners or products which contain ammonia. A little plain water is best and you can add a little white vinegar for stubborn stains. Regular use of wax will cause a thick build up which will dull the wood through time. So if you do choose to use wax then use is sparingly and occasionally.
Other intelligent solutions to lengthen the life of your floor include the use of furniture feet protectors, scatter rugs on high traffic areas and mats at exterior doors. Discourage outdoor shoes worn in the home and keep animals claws clipped to avoid marking the wood.