Damaged beyond repair, or fixable?
You’ve pulled back the carpets and the underlay – the plan is to go ‘au naturelle’ with gorgeous wooden floors. Surely it’ll only need a quick sand over and a varnish and you’ll have a floor that could have come straight out of a magazine, right?
Then realisation sinks in. Underneath the carpet lurks a dilapidated floor that hasn’t seen the light of day in years and is desperately in need of some tender loving care. Suddenly that simple job seems much more complicated. The reason most people go to a professional floor sanding company when they’re faced with the horrors that lurk underneath their carpet is because unless you get the basics right first, you’ll never achieve that perfect wooden floor. And it takes an expert eye to assess the true condition of a wooden floor properly and be able to tell you what’s ‘fixable’ and what really is damaged beyond repair and will need replacing.
The chances are your wooden floor can be saved. Often, superficial surface damage actually disguises what turn out to be solid and intact wooden boards underneath, and simply taking off the top surface will reveal the floor’s hidden beauty. Scratches and even some staining is relatively easy to remove. But there are other situations where the only option is replacement, not renovation.
Serious water damage
We’ve just gone through one of the worst summers on record and there will be plenty of people who have had the misfortune to suffer some serious water damage to their floors. If the floors have been saturated for days on end then no amount of dehumidifiers will prevent them from warping and twisting, and the only option will be to replace the entire floor. There’s also the problem of contamination – if the wood has been exposed to tainted water (for example if sewerage contaminated the floodwaters), then again it will be very difficult to ensure that all harmful microbes have been completely removed from deep within the porous heart of the wood. Again, the most likely course of action is replacement.
Dry rot and woodworm
There’s actually no such thing as ‘dry rot’ – just rot. And that is normally caused by damp conditions causing bacteria and fungus to grow, breaking down the structure of the wood. Prolonged exposure to damp can cause the integral structure of the wood to decompose into a soft, spongy mass that has no strength whatsoever. Again, replacement is the only option. In older properties, woodworm can also be a real problem. Tell-tale tiny ‘pin’ holes in the wood and piles of exceptionally fine sawdust are a clear indication of a woodworm infestation. However, you won’t necessarily have to replace every single board in this situation – if the integrity of the floor hasn’t been compromised then woodworm can be treated quite effectively by experts, and the floors restored to their former glory through filling and varnishing. This will also help to protect them against future attacks.
So even if stripping back the carpets has revealed what appears to be a train-wreck of a wooden floor, there’s a very good chance that unless there has been serious damage, you will be able to renovate it without having to replace it entirely. Talk to an expert floor sanding company to get a proper assessment of your floor – they’ll be able to talk you through all your options and give you a frank and far appraisal of what needs doing and, just as importantly, how much it’ll cost.