wood floor advice for commercial property

Wood Floor Advice for Commercial Property Owners

The options open to the commercial property owner when it comes to selecting a floor surface are bewildering these days with every manufacturer screaming that theirs is the most durable, the funkiest, the easiest to clean etc., etc. The reality is that the most acceptable “look” to the greatest number of people is the “natural look”, so whatever the actual make-up of the product is, it is often trying to look like wood. Little surprise then that many high-end commercial designers are shunning the “faux” wood alternatives and are taking inspiration from upmarket residential trends and opting for the benefits provided by natural wood flooring.

We can all understand the visual appeal of a real wood floor, even the best fakes are still just that, but concerns over the durability and maintenance of wood as a floor have been in peoples’ minds for some time and yet with the advent of modern finishes, machines and maintenance products, most of these concerns can be relegated to the history books. Similarly, issues with subfloor moisture content have entered the thought processes of many a specifier but moisture issues also manifest themselves with LVT (the best of the faux products) and even sheet vinyl albeit in a different way. Better buildings and moisture barrier products have also helped eliminate those concerns provided they are properly specified and applied.

So accepting that real wood floors are desirable (estate agents in the UK and America consistently report that properties with wood floors sell faster and for higher amounts) what are the other benefits?

Let’s start with sustainability. First, the production of wood flooring is virtually 100% sustainable, wood literally “grows on trees” so aside from the mineral resources used in harvesting and manufacture, we can go on producing it ad infinitum. For the real “greens” out there reclaimed wood flooring is not only environmentally friendly it is currently very trendy, often being laid with all the old finish, sports lines etc., still on it creating a patchwork of colours and textures that designers currently love.

Moving on, the importance of air quality in modern buildings has been on the agenda for some time and organisations such as the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA have recognised the benefits of hardwood flooring in reducing allergic reactions caused by dust and other allergens.

The third benefit is repairability. How many surfaces can you take out sections where damage has been caused and stitch in new material with no visual clue as to where the problem was. I will also include re-surfacing under this category, most damage can be simply sanded away, revealing perfect wood once again at a fraction of the cost of a new floor.

 

The fourth benefit is change of appearance. This one confuses some people, but if you select a good timber you can change the colour of your floor from Scandinavian white to Jacobean oak black (or anything in between) in a matter of days, totally changing and updating your premises without major upheaval or cost.Finally, let’s talk about maintainability because it’s the one definitely relevant to FM companies. This is the one I get most calls about from cleaning contractors because our history of wood flooring in the UK is not a long one and there is a general level of ignorance on the correct procedures. A well maintained wooden floor will have a long and glorious life without the need for regular re-sanding if it is properly maintained and by that I mean entrance barrier matting, regular dry mopping, cleaning with a neutral ph cleaner and then using a refresher or dressing that is appropriate to the finish.

Finally, let’s talk about maintainability because it’s the one definitely relevant to FM companies. This is the one I get most calls about from cleaning contractors because our history of wood flooring in the UK is not a long one and there is a general level of ignorance on the correct procedures. A well maintained wooden floor will have a long and glorious life without the need for regular re-sanding if it is properly maintained and by that I mean entrance barrier matting, regular dry mopping, cleaning with a neutral ph cleaner and then using a refresher or dressing that is appropriate to the finish.

As you can probably tell I am passionate about timber flooring but I am also concerned about the lack of knowledge in how to specify, fit and maintain floors using the correct products and processes. That’s why my team of Ultimate Floor Sanding Company experts are here to help.  Give us a call if you need advice on restoring, cleaning or maintenance of your commercial wood floor.

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wood floor installation advice

Wood Floor Installation Advice

If you are considering a wood floor for your home or business, you should really read this article. This comprehensive, impartial, wood floor installation advice comes from our experts, who have been working with this beautiful and complex natural material for decades.

Everyone knows that wood floors come from a living, breathing object…. a tree, right? Most of us understand that a tree takes water from the soil it is growing in via its’ roots and distributes that moisture, laden with nutrients up the trunk along the branches and into its’ leaves where excess moisture is expelled into the air (transpiration). Most probably don’t know that this transpiration causes suction which brings more water up from the roots and that the conduit for the water through the trunk is made up of small straw like tubes known as xylem.

Even fewer will realise that in order for the roots to thrive and grow they also need to be nourished and for that to happen the sugars that are created by photosynthesis need to travel from the leaves, back down the tree to the roots and this is done via cells called phloem.

So now you know a bit more about the two basic components of a tree that allow it to live, of course just like us trees are made up than more than just a vascular system, they also need to have a skin like protective layer (bark), they don’t need a bone structure to support them but they do have heartwood which is the dead wood in the centre of the tree made up of previous years’ growth.

So now is the time to start telling you why all this is very important to you if you have a wooden floor because if I go into any more detail you will stop reading and you really need to understand this!

In the UK we have no real understanding of wood and so we put down beautiful wooden floors because we “like the natural look” and yet we expect them to behave like plastics or other materials that have never lived. In addition to this, the number of fully trained wood floor fitters in this country is woeful. A friend of mine runs a fantastic flooring school that is full of people wanting to learn about vinyl fitting and carpet fitting, but he cannot get people on his wood floor course!), yet it requires more skill, knowledge and equipment to correctly fit a hardwood floor than either of these man-made products. In addition, a badly fitted wooden floor can damage the structure of your house EASILY, that doesn’t happen with carpet or vinyl!

So if you are thinking of fitting a wooden floor here’s what you need to think about.

Wood Floor Installation Advice – Moisture Content

wood floor moisture metreWhen a plank is cut from a tree it is made up of heartwood and sapwood the former being old dryer and dead and the latter being softer, moister and vascular (our friends Xy and Flo). In order for it to be stable enough to be machined for its’ final purpose that plank will be seasoned over a reasonable period in the open air.

Immediately prior to machining, the plank will be stored inside to bring its’ moisture content down further. The extent of this will depend on the type of wood and its final purpose.

For flooring, it is not unusual for the moisture content to be as low as 7% when it leaves the factory but because the process has been carried out slowly and methodically the wood has retained its integrity and is flat and stable.

The scenario

So jump forward now to Fred the floor fitter opening the new packs of freshly delivered wooden flooring. They arrived early this morning (the driver loaded the night before) and Fred can’t wait to get fitting – well why not? It’s only wood, what can possibly go wrong? After all, the room has just been re-screeded and plastered and the heating isn’t on yet so it will all be fine, just like the carpets are. Fred has been fitting carpets for 20 years without a problem and the vinyl he’s done for the last couple of months with (barely) an issue, he’s a skilled floor fitter!

Wood floor Installation advice – Finding a qualified installer

So let’s talk about what should happen to correctly install a wood floor. It starts at quotation stage and in the above scenario, the process will go on for at least three weeks before floor laying is commenced.

  • At quotation the fitter or salesman should advise you of the suitability of the product you are considering for the environment it is being fitted in. They should further advise you about the pros and cons of your choice and what you should expect in terms of living with the floor.
  • He/she should inform you of the requirements that are necessary for a successful installation. This will mean measuring moisture, temperature and humidity levels in the subfloor and the air and stating that he/she will not fit the floor until the specified parameters are met. If your fitter does not have quality measuring equipment (Tramex or Protimeter for example) then do not proceed with them.
  • If the conditions are not correct at quotation stage (if a room has been recently plastered, screeded or heating has been off for a long period) then measurements will need to be taken at regular intervals and a record of the progress kept.
  • Once conditions are correct the wood should be delivered, stacked correctly and acclimatised in the room it is being fitted WITH THE CONDITIONS AS CLOSE TO LIVING CONDITIONS AS POSSIBLE.
  • Measurements should be taken again immediately prior to installation and this time should include the wood itself.
  • Installation should be carried out with reference to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • On completion of the installation, the client should be given instruction on how to clean and maintain their wood floor and how to keep the conditions in their house correct for their floor.

So why did I bore you with the details of tree structure and what bearing does the above have on that?

The Scenario – What’s next

So Fred fits his floor, he hasn’t done any measuring so he doesn’t know that that the subfloor moisture reading is too high because the screed hasn’t fully dried, or that the plaster is still damp so the moisture in the air is too high. The wood itself left the factory at 7% but it was loaded last night and left on a truck outside so Lord knows what the reading in that is! He hasn’t done any training so is oblivious to the need for expansion gaps, the correct spacing around pipes etc., and he’s a geezer so he’s not going to read the instructions is he? Thank God the heating hasn’t been commissioned yet so he won’t be sweating buckets!

Wood Floor Installation Advice – Why Moisture Matters

moisture damae - wood floorSo what’s going to happen here? In all likelihood, the fact that the wood was loaded the night before is not going to be a big factor (unless it was not covered and it poured down rain) and in any case if it was slightly wetter than 7% it would help with the scenario that is developing.

The biggest issue is the moisture in the subfloor and the walls which once the heating is finally switched on are going to cause a massive spike in humidity in the room. The moisture in the air is going to get into the wood and travel along all those little tubes causing it to swell, not a problem for one piece of wood, after all, what’s one or two millimetres on a 75mm stave? Oh hang on, that’s 40 -80mm in a small room and Fred didn’t leave ANY expansion gaps, let alone enough to cover this.

In this scenario, if you are lucky the floor will just pop up, it probably won’t be economically recoverable so you’ll only lose a £1000 worth of materials (it’s a VERY small room), plus the labour (it won’t be Freds’ problem after all, will it?)

Worst Case Scenario

Of course, if you are unlucky (and yes I have seen it) you’ll push the wall down and lose all the wood (in this case it definitely won’t be salvageable), so substantially more than £1000 will be lost!

I have only scraped the surface of why you should only use a wood floor fitter who knows what he is doing. An environment that is too dry will result in a gap filled floor, a wood with lots of minerals in the heartwood can cause finishing problems, underfloor heating requires special treatment, all these issues can be correctly dealt with by the correct fitter and finisher, but without a desire to learn about wood specifically and equip themselves correctly your wood floor fitter is unlikely to be up to the job and you’ll end up paying the price.

It’s enough to drive you to an (a)xlem (sorry).

For more information on floor installation training follow this link.

http://floorskills.co.uk/

To find a trained floor sanding contractor in your area please follow this link.

https://www.ultimatefloorsanding.co.uk/floor-sanders/

 

 

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oil or lacquer for wood floor

Choosing a finish – The Beauty of Options

This article is to help with choosing a finish for your newly restored wood floor. In our current fast-paced world, we all want it easy and we want it now. We also want it cheap and we want it to be good and we, of course, want it to last a long time. In the art of wood floor sanding these few factors do not fit together well. In the world of wood floors and wood floor restoration, to get it good and to last a long time, is not fast nor it is cheap.

To get the best result for your wood floor restoration project it is always best to be as well informed as possible before you get the professional wood floor sanders in to provide you with advice and costings. As the owner of Art of Clean in Cambridge, I am lucky to have seen many floors and finishes as well many standards to which floor sanding professionals work.

One of the factors clients are most let down on is providing clients with options as to what finish will be best for their newly sanded wood floor.

Before we set out the guidelines on chosing a finish for your wood floor I would like to explore with you why so many floor sanders do not offer their clients enough options to the right finish for their floor.

Here are a few reasons:

Lack of knowledge.

It is true that there are some very talented wood floor sanders around. It is also true that there are some floor sanding contractors that do not have the required knowledge. Many of these floor sanders might have been trained in a hands-on fashion, working with other floor sanders, basically learning on the job. Though a floor sanding professional may have many years’ experience it does not mean they have the required knowledge.

Due to the fast-moving pace of the technology and science in the floor sanding industry, it is more beneficial for a floor sander to expand his/her knowledge by attending industry recognised training than to use the “slow lane” by learning from other floor sanders on the job.

Lack of Experience

It is fair to expect that if a wood floor sander knows and trusts a wood floor finishing product that he will use the product more if he has the option. This means that once he has to advise on the best product for the floor that he/she will naturally have a bias towards the product he is familiar with.

This is no problem until… new technologies offer products that outperform the product the floor sander prefers.

Pressure to meet budget requirements.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article we see many clients who have a budget to meet and therefore it pushes many floor sanders to offer a lower cost finishing product. Though this meets the budgetary requirement for the client it is plausible that due to the lower budget the quality of the finishing product will be reduced.

Now let’s move on and explore what options you can expect when choosing a finishing product for your wood floors.

Water Based VS Solvent Based.

In the quest to be as environmentally friendly as possible many floor finish manufacturers push for water based finishes. Floor sanding professionals worth their salt will aim to provide you with a water based finish where possible. It is a fact that water based finishes are better for the environment and better for your health, your family (domestic) your staff or clients (commercial) and the health of the person applying the product.

Single component VS Two Pack

To increase a wood floor finish’s durability the finish is manufactured as a 2 component product. This means mixing 2 components together and a reaction between the products causes the finish to be much harder wearing than a single component. Your floor sanding professional is obliged to offer you the best finish for your floor. For floors with standard to lower use, a single component product will be a good choice of finish. It is beneficial to choose a 2 component finish for your high traffic areas or areas where the floor is possibly exposed to higher levels of moisture or spills, examples include, Bathrooms, Kitchens, hairdressers floors and sport’s halls to name a few.

Choosing a finish – Oil Vs Lacquer

choosing a finish - oil or lacquerMore recent developments in the finishes of wood floor oils offer the option to get floors finished with an oil that provides a more natural finish (very good for older style homes) to compliment the feel of the premises. Penetrating oils like Pallmann Magic Oil also offer end users the choice to have localised repairs carried out on their floors. This eliminates the need to have floors fully sanded back in the future if only a small part is worn or damaged.

If a lacquer is used on a floor it will offer the option to give a matt, semi sheen or a high shine finish. This gives a polyurethane protective coating on the surface of the wood floor. Your wood floor restoration professional will be required to advise what finish will be best for your floor.

Benefits of choosing a wood floor contractor:

Ultimate Floor Sanding Affiliates are professionals that can discuss your floor sanding and finishing requirements and link this to the correct product for your need. This will save you time and money in the following ways:

The right product will mean the wood floor will last longer, the room will not be out of use for that long. It is also a well-known fact that a wood floor can only be sanded so many times before it needs replacing. Sanding a wood floor prematurely means it will require replacement much sooner.

Where to find the right wood floor sanding contractor

Choosing an Ultimate Floor Sanding Affiliate will mean you get access to a floor sanding professional that will have attended training on an annual basis and is up to speed with changes in our industry.

For wood floor finishing advice and getting the most for your wood floor including getting advice on what finish is best for your wood floor please contact Art of Clean who is a proud affiliate of Ultimate Floor Sanding.

About Art of Clean

Learn more about who we are, what we do and what we stand for by visiting www.floorsandingcambridge.co.uk www.floorsandingnewmarket.co.uk www.woodfloorsandingessex.co.uk also our main website at www.artofclean.co.uk

Areas covered by Art of Clean for wood floor sanding and restoration and wood floor sanding and  polishing include: Ely, Huntingdon, Godmanchester, Papworth Everard, , Cambridge,  Thaxted, Newport, St Neots

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why steam cleaners are bad for wood floors

The Steam Clean Lie

My mum was a sucker for advertising if there was some faded Z list celeb endorsing a product somewhere on TV she bought it, which is why when she passed away and we cleared out her house we found two “steam” cleaners used, but put neatly back in their boxes.

So before I start my tirade against these over hyped pieces of nonsense let me start by saying that I am referring to the DIY steam mops you see on product TV and home shows, not the expensive professional pieces of kit that have serious cleaning power (but are definitely not for wooden floors).

So let’s start with the hype and the first one is in the name “Steam Cleaner”. Water boils at 212F and many machines on the market will reach that temperature and at this point the power of water (steam) is indeed very powerful especially when pumped at pressure. However let us consider what you are cleaning, WOOD. If I suggested to a wooden floor owner that boiling a kettle and either pouring the water or injecting that steam into the wood in order to remove surface dirt was a good idea, they would be horrified and quite rightly so, cleaning a wooden floor at that temperature is neither necessary nor desirable.

The second lie is that they are quick, NO THEY ARE NOT. Reading the ebay guide to steam cleaners it states that they take 5 to 15 minutes to heat up, in that time I would have done my kitchen floor twice with a microfibre mop  (more on microfiber later). If the tank runs out of water, you start over again and if you have a big area you may have to unplug it and plug it in elsewhere.

Moving on, the next myth is that they are environmentally friendly because they don’t use toxic chemicals. I am going to split this one up as it is a mixture of lie and misinformation. First off anything made of plastic in China, shipped halfway around the world and that has to be plugged in to achieve a result no better than a (microfiber) mop IS NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY to start with! However the best of the bunch is the toxic chemical thing, so much so I’m going to start another paragraph.

No one ever suggested using toxic cleaners on your floor, the really dumb salespeople use this word the smarter ones use the word “chemical” so let’s look at that word. To start with everything is made of chemicals, trees, food, water even you and me, we have stop allowing people with an agenda to taint innocent words for their own purposes. Every day we wash using soap, we clean our hair with shampoo (well not me I’m bald), we put on deodorant (yep do that one), we clean our teeth (still good on that one too) and we wash our cutlery.

In all these cases we are using chemicals that will come in direct contact with our body and yet the thought of using a chemical on the floor horrifies some people, as our American cousins would say “give me a break” To make sure the “toxic” claim had no validity I did a quick check on the wood floor cleaning shelf, there were none carrying the toxic symbol that would be a legal requirement if they were (toxic). In fact, the ones most sold are PH neutral which is not true of many of the products you use on your body by the way.

So now after telling you not to use these machines on your wooden floor, it’s time to tell what you should use and why.

pallmann clean n go wood floor cleaning kitThe biggest step forward in cleaning for years is not in sophisticated machinery or chemicals it is actually in mops and cloths in the shape of microfibre. This fabric is a mixture of fibres that range from one tenth the width of a human hair up to one hundredth the width, even the cheapest cloths can claim to be antibacterial and antimicrobial whilst the most expensive ones are antiviral. These tiny fibres surround the soil and remove it using a principle call van der Waal force (serious science this) and (get this) for those who hate chemicals they work perfectly well with just water for regular soiling.

AND NOW FOR THE BEST BIT, guess what? All the steam cleaners out there use microfibre mops, the bulk of the work is not done by the steam it’s done by the mop!

So if you want to save money, be faster, more environmentally friendly and prolong the life of your wooden floor dump the steam mop (or just don’t plug it in) and get a micofibre mop kit.

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sanding engineered wood floors

Sanding Engineered Wood Floors

Most people are quite nervous about getting their engineered or semi-solid wood floor sanded and their concerns are quite understandable. After all the wood layer is only a few millimeters thick and therefore easily sanded through by modern belt sanders. Here is a short guide to what to think about if you are considering sanding engineered wood floors and getting this type of floor re-finished.

First off if you need to ascertain exactly what thickness the solid wood veneer is. This can be done by looking at anywhere the floor has been cut such as around radiator pipes or underneath door threshold strips. DO NOT omit this part it is very important to know how much you have to play with, some veneers are only 1mm thick and sanding those engineered wood floors will be disastrous.

Sanding Engineered Wood Floors – Previous Sanding

The second thing to consider is has the floor been sanded before? If it has, then obviously the veneer will be thinner than it originally was and it will probably not be consistent across the whole floor as the central, more damaged areas, will have been sanded more aggressively.

The next factors to think about are the level of damage to the floor, the species of timber and whether the floor is plank effect or three strip and these should be weighed up as one. If it is a three strip heve a floor in poor condition the cost of like for like replacement is probably not much greater than sanding the floor. If it is a plank effect oak with a decent wear layer it is probably worth saving even if the condition is quite poor

Sanding Engineered Wood Floors – Choosing a Finish

The fourth consideration is the type of finish product you are going to use. If you use oil or hard wax oil you are only using a small amount of liquid and this is good as the ratio of liquid to solid wood is always disproportionate in engineered floors and this can lead to de lamination and buckling of the veneer. If you intend to use water based polyurethane you need to be especially conscious of this.

sanding engineered wood floorsThe final two factors are the skill of the sanding contractor and the type of machine he is using. A skilled contractor with a belt sander will assess all the above and select the correct grit level to do the job but remove as little timber as possible. Better still select a local floor sanding contractor who has the latest generation of planetary floor sanding machine known as the Pallmann Spider which will do the job every bit as good as a belt sander in a much more sympathetic way to the structure of the floor.

Contact Us

If you are considering sanding engineered wood floors – contact your local Ultimate Floor Sanding Company expert floor sanding contractor today for a FREE no-obligation survey and quote FREEPHONE 0333 9390193 or fill in the contact form on our website.

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how to get scandinavian white wood floors

Whitewashed wood floor – How to get the Scandinavian look

The Scandinavian whitewashed wood floor look is currently very fashionable and regularly requested by our clients. It’s worth knowing a little about it. The traditional Scandinavian approach to achieving this look is to white oil the floor followed by the application of a soap treatment. This method will eventually deliver a less than pristine white but it is true to the traditional Scandinavian whitewashed wood floor look and feel. The result is a natural looking floor what will develop more character over time. The orange tones of some timbers can spoil the overall look of the white finish in some people’s opinion. If you want the very palest look it is possible to pre- treat the timber with either softwood or hardwood lye depending on the species.

Whitewashed Wood Floor – Maintenance

how to get scandinavian white wood floorsWith the traditional approach it is important to keep in mind that like those nice white shoes or clothes, a natural white is harder to keep clean. Although the required care and maintenance of this oiled finish is relatively easy, it is more frequent than most people want. We generally recommend that you wash the floor with specialist white floor soap. This should be required between two and four times a month, depending on traffic and use. When used regularly, a soap membrane is formed that protects the wooden floor against grease, dirt and depletion.

Whitewashed wood floor – Alternatives

If the traditional method of achieving the Scandinavian whitewashed wood floor look is not really your cup of tea, there are two alternatives. A more modern approach that achieves a similar look is white tinted, catalysed oil. This option requires less regular maintenance and is our preferred option for non- traditionalists. A second option is to stain the floor white and then apply a lacquer over the top of the stain. This method gives additional control over the shade of white that can be achieved, long term it also means that any damage to the floor is virtually impossible to disguise without a total re-sand. The choice is yours.

Call out experts

If you are considering a bleached white Scandinavian look for your floors, talk to one of our floor sanding and finishing experts today. Find your local contractor.

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oil or lacquer for wood floor

Oil or Lacquer for Your Wood Floor – What to Choose?

Oil or Lacquer – What to choose?

Scenario. You have moved into your new home and have found a beautiful old timber floor under the carpet. You decide to have it restored by your local floor sanding professional. At some point, he should ask you which type of finish you would prefer. So, should you choose oil or lacquer for your wood floor?

How you decide which finish to use, will depend upon various things.  First, you need to decide what style of finish you like.  For example, do you like a shiny look or do you prefer a more natural looking finish?  Second, the finish you choose will have a lot to do with the traffic the floor is likely to experience.  And finally, of course, there’s the maintenance question to be answered.  How important is low maintenance to you?

Oil or Lacquer?

There are two main options when it comes to wood flooring finishes.  Firstly there’s lacquer, which is a durable, low maintenance option but can be prone to scratching.  Secondly, there’s oil which is slightly less durable but easier to repair if the floor starts to look a bit tired or scratched.

Wood Floor Lacquers

Most lacquers, even matt lacquers give an appearance of an obvious coating to your floor, whereas oils sink in, enhancing the grain of the wood and giving a more natural look.  The reason that lacquer looks more obvious is that it effectively sits on top of the wood, rather than sinking in.  What this means is that lacquer has a tendency to get worn looking in high traffic areas.  What happens is that the traffic effectively sands away the lacquer and leaves scratches on the surface. The only way to repair this damage is to re-sand the whole floor and start again.

Wood floor oil

Pallmann Magic oil 2KWood floor oil has the advantage of having a low build up and comes in a low gloss finish, which helps mask slight imperfections caused by wear and tear.  A wood floor finished with oil can be easily repaired at any time with a simple wipe of oil on a soft, dry, cotton cloth.  Furthermore, extreme stains can be scoured away and re-oiled if necessary.

So, in summary, how you choose your wood floor finish depends very much on your personal tastes. After all, whether it’s oil or lacquer, you have to live with it.

About the Author

This article was written by Adrian Cunnington at Floor Blimey. Adrian offers expert floor sanding and finishing services in Bath, Bristol and Taunton areas. Thanks to Adrian for sharing his expertise on wood floor finishing options with us. Find out more about Adrian’s work by visiting his Ultimate Floor Sanding Company provider page.

For professional floor sanding and finishing in Bristol and surrounding areas call  Floor Blimey on Freephone 0333 9390193 .

If you are looking for an Ultimate Floor Sanding Company recommended floor sanding contractor in your local area, please Freephone 0333 9390193 or check out our Find a Provider page.

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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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Restoring a Pine Wood Floor

Our floor sanding experts are regularly asked if it is worth restoring a pine wood floor. Let’s be honest, pine is not exactly the Rolls Royce of wood floors but nonetheless it is still a natural product that can look great in the correct circumstances. So for customers who have just discovered that they have pine floor boards under their carpet and are wondering if it’s worth having them sanded and restored, here is some advice from our floor sanding team. Find out what you need to consider before deciding if it is worth restoring a pine floor.

Restoring a Pine Wood Floor – What to Consider?

It may seem obvious but before you do anything ask yourself what type of floor covering you would prefer, do you want a soft or hard surface? Carpet or wood. Don’t make an assumption based on price. Our floor sanding contractors often find that a full pine wood floor restoration can be cheaper than buying and fitting a mid range carpet. So think about what your preference is, you have to live in your home so it’s important to go with what suits you best.

Assess the condition of the pine

Have a professional look at the condition of the pine floor. On the odd occasion we have come across floors that are ‘too far gone’ and not worth restoring. There are a number of causes that might lead to this scenario. Contractors like plumbers and electricians sometimes cut or break boards under carpet for access. Pine wood floors can also be degraded by woodworm or dampness.

Replacement Pine Boards

It is true that pine boards can be replaced with reclaimed timber, however it is important to know that these can look different to the original boards when sanded. This is because they will have come from a different tree, from a different forest, in a different country. Occasionally our floor sanding contractors come across wood floor that are unsafe due to the beams underneath being weak. This causes much more expense, as it is a serious health and safety issue for you and your family and needs to be taken into consideration. Having a professional inspect the floor will help your decision making.

Pine Floor Restoration – DIY

The likelihood is your pine floor is in good enough condition to be sanded and restored. That’s what we find in most cases. Once you have had your floor assessed, talk to your professional about the best way forward, you may be able to hire a floor sanding machine from him (or her) to you if you fancy having a go at restoring a pine wood floor yourself. We would always recommend having a professional do the work; in our experience, the result will be far better, but we do understand that sometimes that’s just not possible budget wise.

Pine Floors – Filling the Gaps

When considering restoring a pine wood floor it is worth having the gaps between the boards filled. There are several advantages to this; one being it will help to insulate the room from drafts, the other is it makes the floor look much nicer, as you are effectively turning the floor into a solid floor.

Finishing a Pine Wood Floor

The type of finish to use when restoring a pine wood floor is also important. There are basically two types, polyurethane (varnishes) and oils. Polyurethane is a topical finish. In essence, it sits on the top of the wood like any paint, providing a resilient clear protective layer which is easy to maintain. Oil is a penetrating finish, it penetrates the pores of the wood protecting it from the inside out. If it’s a quality oil like the Pallmann Magic Oil that our contractors use, it will also form a cross linking layer on the surface, providing significant extra protection. Both of these finishes can be applied over a color to give you floor even more character.

Professional Floor Sanders

This article was written by Adrian Cunnington of Floor Blimey, an Ultimate Floor Sanding Company approved contractor.

To speak to Adrian about your floor restoration project, please call 0333 93 901 93 or visit his website at www.floorblimey.co.uk

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

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