Get Your Floor Ready for Winter
As we get ourselves ready for the colder months with warm boots, cosy jackets, hats and gloves we should also remember that, to get the best from our floor and of course to save on those ever rising energy bills it is important to get our wood floors ready for winter too.
There has been much recent TV coverage and infomercials on energy saving ideas such as lagging pipes, loft and cavity wall insulation. But there’s been considerably less information on how to gap-proof a solid wood floor, one of the most common ways to lose heat. Although the sanding floor board gaps may look tiny to the human eye, they are probably dotted all over the room, and some may even be large enough for you to physically feel the draught when you place your hand across the gap. Fortunately this is fixable – and with considerably less upheaval that either loft or cavity wall insulation too.
Because the coldest air in the home will naturally become trapped and move around underneath floorboards, any gaps between the planks will act just the same way as an open window and suck the hot air out of the room. Assuming an average sized lounge has small gaps throughout it is just the same as having a window open whilst the central heating is on.
If you check current status with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) you will see that it is estimated that by filling in spaces between floor boards and skirtings the average householder can save not only money but also reduce their CO2 emissions too.
If you already think the argument for gap-filling is looking pretty tight then the deciding factor should be that it is not difficult to do. Anyone with a little general DIY experience should be able to eliminate those gaps quickly and easily.
Method of gap filling
There are many products available for the job, from traditional epoxy resin-based solutions to the more modern draught-fill product, which looks rather like an elasticated frankfurter sausage! This can be purchased and cut into varying sizes to fill all sizes of gaps. This filler is available in different colours, so it should blend in well with most floor types.
Although gap filling is not rocket science it is pretty exacting work if you want to get it right, and will take some time to do. This is because floor board gaps are not obliging enough to be uniform in size, so you will probably find different lengths and widths of gaps throughout the room. If you are unlucky you might find every single gap is a different size, but even if this is the case it is important to take your time and do the job right.
You should put aside sufficient time to do one complete room before starting on another. Once you feel the benefit (and it should be pretty instant!) it will give you incentive to carry on throughout the house.
If you are thinking of a complete restoration including sanding and refinishing then it is best to sand the floor first if it has not been sanded in a long time. Then you can attend to the gaps once the floor has been sanded down.
Once the sanding and gap filling is completed then you can apply a new refinishing product such as oil, wax, lacquer or varnish or alternatively leave the floor bare and opt for clear sealant protection instead.
Wood flooring is nothing if not versatile so to get the most from your floor this and every winter, as well as saving money and energy get those gaps filled right away.