TLC for Your Floor
A well-maintained wood floor is always central to the character of any room. But on area that is often forgotten are the stairs. Many a home has beautifully shiny wood flooring throughout, only to be let down by shabby stairs that creak and squeak at every step! If you want to give your stairs the TLC they deserve and stop that squeak then try this easy method of squeak removal.
Place some graphite powder (a versatile and dry non-greasy lubricant) in a plastic spray bottle. Sprinkle the powder across all the stair jointing and risers paying particular attention to the edges. If the squeaks are slight or have just appeared then the chances are that this will be enough to banish irritating squeaks and groans for some time to come. If you cannot get hold of graphite powder then try a sprinkling of talc instead. However, if the squeak has been there for a long time you may have to employ other means to eradicate the noise.
Most stubborn squeaks are caused by friction as the stair tread moves against the riser where the wood has expanded over time. Fixing a squeak is always easier to do from below the stairwell, and if this is the case then you should enlist the aid of a helpful spouse or friend who is willing to act as Squeak Locator for the day by running up and down the stairs!
Stair squeaks can be repaired easily by plugging the small gap between the parts that are moving. Cut pieces of wood or pressed woodchips make useful wedges and can be slipped into the smallest cracks before being nailed or glued in place. If the size and shape of the stairs means that wedges are not an option then you can use a wood brace block fitted flush along the step and nailed in securely.
If there is no space below stairs to work from then you will have to work on the stairs themselves. If the squeak is coming from the front of the stair (where it joins the riser on the step below) then you can use flooring nails in a v-shape across both tread and riser. You may also need to use wood filler to eliminate any gaps caused by the nails.
If the squeak is coming from the rear of the stair (linking to the riser above it) then this can be repaired by using small wedges glued in place. If, despite your best efforts, these wedges can still be seen then you can camouflage them by covering with a thin beading trim. However, if you do this you will have to do the whole staircase so that it matches!
Burns and other nasties on a favourite rug
Although not strictly on the subject of hardwood floor sanding, a well chosen rug can enhance a floor to add style and colour. Many of us choose our rugs just as carefully as we do our flooring. So if a nasty stain or (even worse) a burn mark appears on a rug you have spent a very long time in choosing then here are a few remedies you can use to save your beloved rug.
If it is only the top of the carpet which is damaged then you can (using a magnifying glass if needs be) carefully cut away the burned ends with manicure-size scissors. Then gently rub the spot with a little water on a fibre-free cloth. Allow the spot to dry naturally and chances are the damaged spot won’t be noticeable.
Stains caused by spilling tea, coffee, drinks or from Fido’s little accident can be successfully removed the old-fashioned way by applying a dilution of vinegar (1:4 parts water). Dab a little on to the stain starting from the edge and moving inwards to the centre of the stain before rinsing in clear water.
Thicker spillages such as milk, egg, chocolate etc. can be removed as above, although you should scrape up the residue with a knife or spatula before applying the solution.