water damaged parquet floor

Water Damage to Wood Floors

Water, the universal solvent is absolutely vital in bringing back most floors, such as carpet, vinyl and marble, to their former glory. Yet in the case of wood floors can be very destructive, and is therefore rarely used in the wood floor restoration process. So what causes water damage to wood floors, why is it important, and how do our wood floor sanding professionals recognize it?

Dampness in Wood Floors – Leaks

A common cause of dampness or water damage to a wooden floor is a leak in an adjoining room that travels underneath the floor and makes its way into the area underneath the wooden floor. Modern conveniences such as dishwashers, washing machines and showers are very often the cause of leaks such as this. Unfortunately, this type of problem can go unnoticed for a long time, often leading to the complete destruction of the wood floor.

Water Damage to Wood Floors – Sub Floor Issues

Many water damage issues are caused by sub floor problems. these mostly involve old or damaged damp proof membranes. Many wood block floors were bedded in bitumen. Bitumen served not only as the adhesive but also as the method of damp proofing. The problem is that with age bitumen becomes brittle and the wooden blocks become loose. It’s good to know that generally speaking the layers of bitumen on the sub floor and on the back of the blocks will be sufficient to prevent moisture damage. However, when our floor sanding professionals are repairing a wood floor like this using modern adhesives it is important to make sure that the adhesives are not only compatible with bitumen but also that any potential dampness is investigated and taken care of.

wood floor moisture metre

Tramex Moisture Metre –
Taking a moisture reading from a wood floor

Moisture Damage to Wood Floors – Incorrect Cleaning

A third common cause of water damage to wood floors is caused by day to day cleaning. Cleaning a wood floor requires very little moisture, a small amount of a ph neutral wood floor cleaning product and the sensible use of a quality microfiber mop are all that is required to keep wood floors looking good. Allowing excess water to sit on the floor can cause water damage over time.

Heavily soiled restaurants and bars may require more intensive cleaning but this should only be undertaken by professionals with rotary machines and wet pick up equipment working on small areas at a time. Quite often plant pots that don’t have plastic trays beneath them can also be the cause of water damage to wood floors too.

Water Damage to Wood Floors – Air Humidity

Many people are unaware that water damage to wood floors can also be caused by excess air humidity. Wood stays in equilibrium with the moisture in the air so if there is too much moisture in the air there will be too much moisture in the wood too. Excess humidity can occur naturally, but generally speaking excess humidity is caused by either the shower, tumble drier or cooker. Thankfully the solution is as simple as opening the window!

Professional Wood Floor Restoration

So why is important to know about moisture levels before carrying out any work? The fact is that the level of knowledge about wooden flooring and standard of wood floor fitting in the UK are extremely poor. Problems that are caused by poor fitting or maintenance are often made worse by sanding and finishing. That’s why our professional wood floor restoration experts carry out a full site survey, including moisture levels, before starting any wood floor restoration project.  It’s one of the benefits of hiring a floor restoration expert who specialises in wood.

We hope you find this article useful.  If you have noticed water damage to your wood floor and would like to speak to one of our restoration experts about how to bring it back to its former glory, why not speak to us.

Freephone 0333 9390193  or find your local approved Ultimate Floor Sanding contractor.

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moisture in wood floors - moisture reading

Case Study – Floor Boards Shrinking – Find Out Why

Art of Clean, the Cambridgeshire based wood floor sanding affiliate to Ultimate floor sanding has had a real interesting encounter recently. Here is their story:

An engineered oak floor was sanded and sealed using Pallmann’s high end primer and lacquer finish in the late summer of 2015. Our client just had a new kitchen installed and when the old kitchen cupboards got removed he noticed the lighter floor where the old units covered the floor. He loved this so much he asked Art of Clean in Cambridge to come in and sand and finish the engineered wooden floor.

To ensure we delivered the lightest finish possible we specified Pall x 325, a water based primer followed by Pall x Extreme with hardener as the lacquer,

Explains Pierre de Wet, the owner of Art of Clean

Our team worked extremely had on restoring the floor and took great care sanding around the newly fitted kitchen. In most cases it is far better to get your kitchen wood floor sanded and finished BEFORE you fit a new kitchen as this eliminates the risk of scuffmarks to your new units.

We finished the floor sanding and the client was really happy with the outcome.

Floor Boards Shrinking – 6 Months Later

About 6 months later Art of Clean received a call and the client expressed their concerns that some gaps had formed between the wooden boards in the kitchen.

wood floor moisture metre

Tramex Moisture Metre –
Taking a moisture reading from a wood floor

Not to worry – We are here to help! so Pierre went off to inspect the wood floor.  We conducted the investigation using Tramex high end moisture and temperature meters and we discovered that the room is very warm and that the relative humidity in the air was very low. This basically means the air is very dry; therefore the wood floor will let go of moisture retained inside of it, in turn this will cause the boards to shrink in size.

Change in Relative Air Humidity caused Gaps

It was at this point that the client shared the fact that following the kitchen install they also had the old boiler replaced. It all suddenly made sense. Due to a much more efficient boiler the room is much warmer and dryer. Our advice was to turn down the heating and allow some air movement by opening windows.

Once the relative humidity has increased the floor boards will reach equilibrium with the air surrounding it and will return back to normal.

Why the Ultimate Guarantee is Important

Had an inexperienced floor sander been contacted about this problem they might have opted to fill the gaps and re-finish the floor. The problem with this solution is that once summer comes and the floor absorbs moisture from the air again, the wood floor will start to expand. As the gaps have been filled, the floor will buckle as it expands.

This is one example of why it is so important to choose a professional, experienced, wood floor sanding company. The Ultimate Two Year Guarantee on our work means that our contractors will do a thorough investigation to understand the cause of problems and our experience means we will find the right solution to solve any issues.  That’s why our customers say we provide the ultimate peace of mind!.

What to do if you notice gaps in your wooden floor:

Always consider what might cause the change in the environment. 

  • Was a new boiler fitted?
  • Have living arrangements changed – If you are at home more and the heating is on during the day it will have an impact on the air in your home.
  • In some cases rugs on floors can cause heat to get trapped especially if you have under floor heating on your wooden floor.
  • Is your cleaning process leaving too much water on the wooden floor – that can cause swelling of the floor boards

Always get a professional’s advice before you take drastic action

This article was written by Pierre de Wet at Art of Clean, thanks to Pierre and his team for sharing this case study.

For professional wood floor restoration in Cambridge and surrounding areas including Newmarket, Saffron Walden, Ely, Huntingdon and Haverhill please call Art of Clean on 01223863632

If you are looking for an Ultimate Floor Sanding Company recommended floor sanding contractor in your local area, please check out our Find your Local Floor Sander page.

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