Renew Your Wooden Floors

A few simple tips to revamp and gloss up your wooden floors

Do you have a beautiful, hidden gem in your home, waiting to be discovered? You never know what amazing hardwood floors are lurking beneath that mangy wall-to-wall carpeting, or what the full potential is of your current, tired-looking wooden floors. Once you do, you will be hugely and pleasantly surprised. With the right treatment and refinishing, you will boost your property value, and overhaul your interior without even trying.

People pay a small fortune to have bamboo, cork and wooden parquet flooring installed, which is a great investment, but many already have fantastic wooden floors in their homes and they don’t really know the value of what they have. If you already have wooden floors, we think it’s time for you flaunt them. Here are a few tips to renew the life of your hardwood floors:

Preparing

If you have carpeting, you will need to remove it in sections and trash it. Once the wooden floor is exposed, you should check for protruding nails and hammer them down. These loose nails could mean loose floorboards.

Next, you need to clear the random dust that you pretended wasn’t there, and the bits of plastic Xmas tree leaves, all of which blended perfectly with the old wood. Moving on, you need to clean, clean, clean; make sure the floor is super smooth and free of all old carpet backing, glue etc. Use a vacuum and mop afterwards for good measure.

Sanding

Once the floor is smooth and clean, it’s time to get down to the real work of stripping the floor of its old top layer. You may need to hand-sand a few areas so make sure you have sandpaper around, and that you’ve been lifting some weights because this is going to give your muscles a real workout.

Hand sand the perimeter of the floor because, unless you have a specialised sander, you’re not going to get into those corners and crevices. When you start using the machine, you will need to start with course-grit paper to cut through the years of imbedded dirt and grime. Next, use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth out the rougher grit streaks and give the floor a smoother finish. Remember to change the sandpaper regularly to ensure a consistent finish across the floor.

Chemical Stripper (Optional)

This is for those who haven’t been to the gym to lift weights; a chemical stripper can be used instead of sanding. It’s a quick-fix solution if you want to avoid the trying task of sanding, but it does require a lot of preparation beforehand, due to the poisonous nature of the chemicals.

Ensure the house is well ventilated and that you have goggles, gloves and a mask because you don’t want to inhale these toxic chemicals. If you have little ones, make sure they do not enter the house at all for several hours after applying the chemical. Chemical strippers should not be inhaled and your skin should not come into contact with the actual liquid.

Leave the stripping liquid on for about five minutes and you will notice the old varnish will start bubbling and peeling from the floor. Start removing it with a paint scraper before it dries otherwise you will struggle to remove it.

Mind the Gaps

Fill all remaining holes with wood paste, which you can make from any leftover sawdust – if you’ve sanded. Mix the dust with some wood glue and create a paste, which you immediately use to fill the holes and gaps. Leave it to dry and then sand it down by hand before varnishing. Make sure you give the floor one more vacuum before applying the finish.

Varnishing

Once you’ve decided on a gloss or matte finish, you need to apply it at this stage. Open all windows and doors as the fumes can be overpowering. Once again, wear a mask and gloves.

Do a spot test on a small area first, so you can see what the final result will look like. Some people use synthetic brushes while others prefer to use cheesecloth, either way you will need an applicator pad afterwards to evenly spread the varnish across the floor. Start from the outer perimeter and work your way in, ensuring you leave a place for you to exit the room without leaving footprints over your hard work. You can give a light sand between each application to ensure a smooth consistent finish.

Overhauling your floors will add value to your home and turn the interior around, making it stylish and functional because hardwood floors are easier to maintain than carpets that stain and fray. So take the step, we dare you. If you want to discover the beauty of your wooden floors but don’t have the energy, time or know-how, then contact the flooring specialists who will get it done in next to no time, and with phenomenal results. Here’s to wooden floors, glossy finishes and increased property value!

Floor Care and Maintenance

Caring for your timber floor

Timber floors vary in ease of maintenance depending on the type of coating used and the severity of use and always greatly benefit from regular care. In doing so, the life of the floor finish and floor are greatly enhanced.

However at some stage the floor will need to be rejuvenated and this usually requires buffi ng back and re-coating.

Some of the softer floor finishes can also benefit from application of metallised polish which provides an additional wear surface. It is important that maintenance aspects are passed on to customers as it assists in ensuring ongoing customer satisfaction.

A Newly Finished Floor

Although a floor may be walked on after initial curing, some precautions are necessary with a newly finished floor until the coating system has fully hardened and this may take in the order of two weeks. Use of the floor before the full cure has been realised can result in increased tendency for scuffing and scratching. It is recommended that rugs are not laid until after the floor finish has fully hardened. Additionally rugs with rubber backings should never be used as these may tend to stain the applied coatings. While light furniture can be replaced and used during this period, it should be ensured that furniture protection felt pads are attached to the feet of tables and chairs etc and furniture such as chairs should be lifted. Similarly, it should also be ensured that heavy items such as fridges are moved carefully into position and at no time should they be dragged over either newly finished or fully cured floors. Consideration should also be given to chairs with castors as they can indent softer timbers and also cause premature wear of the coatings they are in contact with. Again these should not be used until the finish has hardened and barrel type castors are less likely to damage a floor than ball castors.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

Ingress of Grit and Direct Sunlight

There are some things that are enemies to timber floor finishes and one of these is sand or grit that can be brought into the house with footwear. These small particles act like sandpaper resulting in scratches in the floor.

Mats placed both outside and inside external doors provide a simple and effective means of significantly reducing grit from entering the house. Similarly, in high wear areas, runners and rugs can be effective and can also add to the décor of the house. The kitchen floor generally experiences high wear and therefore a floor rug in this area can be particularly beneficial.

Another aspect that should be considered is the amount of direct sunlight that is reaching the floors. Direct intense sunlight can contribute to gapping and possible cupping of boards. It will also cause the colour of both boards and finish to change with time. Some floor finishes are more prone to darken with age and direct sunlight accelerates this process. Filtered sunlight through sheer curtains or blinds provides an effective means of slowing the colour change processes and is also effective in controlling gap size and possible cupping. In some instances it may be decided that window coverings will not be used, and if the sunlight has not been controlled by patio roofs or awnings then floors rugs can be used.

Maintenance Plan

Establishing a regular cleaning program will greatly assist in keeping floors in pristine condition. There are many aspects that affect how often the floor requires cleaning and these include the degree of grit present (particularly from children and pets), type of exterior and interior matting used, the level of traffic, type of footwear and general conditions of the area outside the house. Spills should be mopped up when they occur and any leaks must be attended to immediately. Failure to attend to leaking pipe work can result in severe problems with a floor particularly when laid over sheet flooring or directly adhered to a slab. Scuff marks or stubborn stains may be removed with light rubbing using a wood floor cleaner. As some cleaners can attack certain types of coating, use where possible the cleaning regime specified by the coatings manufacturer – alternatively always test rub an isolated area of floor to verify compatibility of the cleaner used to the coating.

For regular cleaning of domestic floors an antistatic mop provides an effective means of collecting dust and grit.

Continual walking on a dirty floor will quickly damage the finish. If a vacuum cleaner is used then the condition of the brushes should be regularly checked. If they have worn thin, contact of the metal head on the floor can result in scratching. Also, do not use hard head vacuum cleaners as they will invariably cause fi ne scratches on the floor.

Steam mops are not recommended on polished floors as they can cause damage to certain types of coatings. They may also cause ‘lipping’ on floating floors.

On a monthly basis floors can also benefit from damp mopping. Providing the mop is only damp and the finish is in good condition, mopping carried out correctly will not affect either the finish or the timber. Damp mopping provides an effective deep clean and should be undertaken with a neutral pH wood floor cleaner or product recommended by the finish manufacturer. Harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners are to be avoided as are use of methylated spirits and vinegar as they can chemically attack some types of coatings e.g. waterborne polyurethanes and penetrating oils. After wetting the mop it should be wrung out until it is moist and the floor can be mopped in this condition. Using clean water, a final mopping with a mop wrung out till it is ‘dry’ may be used to further remove excess moisture on the boards. Periodically the protective pads on furniture legs should also be check to ensure that they are clean of grit or in need of replacement.

Re-coating

Timber floors are subject to different wear patterns and it is in areas of higher wear that there will initially be signs that the floor requires re-coating. It is important to ensure that excessive wear has not occurred if a total re-sand and re-finish is to be avoided. The finish should be inspected in the high wear areas and if a few drops of water bead on the surface then the finish is still intact and may require cleaning rather than re-coating. If however, after a few minutes the water begins to soak in and the timber colour darkens, then the finish is partially worn and recoating should be undertaken. It is important that the details of the original coating system can be made available to the sander and finisher to ensure compatibility between coats.

5 Benefits of Bamboo Flooring

Why bamboo flooring is a great investment for your home

Choosing the right floor for your home is an important decision because it’s an investment that adds value to your property. It adds style to your home and requires a large degree of durability to ensure  that it lasts. Bamboo is popular with developers and homeowners because it’s aesthetically appealing, durable, cost effective and environmentally friendly. Here are 5 benefits of bamboo flooring and why it’s fast becoming the preferred choice of flooring in residential and commercial properties.

Eco-friendly

Not really a timber, bamboo is a grass that grows rapidly, which means that regular harvesting of bamboo does not harm the environment in any way. A renewable resource that can grow up to 60 centimetres a day, which is unheard of with any other wood or grass. Using bamboo for your flooring in no way harms the environment.

Easy maintenance

Bamboo has a naturally better flexibility and resilience than other flooring such as pine. Considered to be extremely strong, bamboo is built to withstand harsh outdoor conditions and is durable enough to handle a lot of traffic. Maintenance is easy enough with the following tips:

  • Clean up any liquids as soon as spillage occurs.
  • Use a specialised cleaning solution for bamboo floors. Wet cloths and mops are not recommended.
  • Due to the makeup and nature of bamboo, a lot of UV on the surface will cause the light colours to go darker, while darker bamboo floors will lighten. Allow moderate sunlight onto the floor and use curtaining and blinds where necessary.

Aesthetic dream

Bamboo’s fine details make for an attractive material to use for flooring. It adds a lovely warm ambience to any room and there are many colours to choose from. One of the fundamental reasons why bamboo is considered the ideal flooring choice is because it’s a timeless classic. Not a trendy option, it won’t date; bamboo complements just about any interior and does not age.

Easy installation

It does fall into the easy installation category, and with a tongue-and-groove option available, you can DIY. However, professional installation will ensure the correct floor preparation before this material is permanently installed. You don’t want your floor lifting and distorting because you messed up in the preparation and laying process.

Highly adaptable

Not as sensitive to harsh temperatures – unlike other flooring materials – bamboo can be laid over just about any prepared surface, and is considered the perfect choice when you’re on a strict renovation budget. Strong, durable and available in a variety of grains, you are destined to be a bamboo fanatic after you install this in your home.

You can’t go wrong with bamboo flooring because it really is everything rolled into one; attractive, long lasting, adaptable, budget friendly and timeless.