Hardwood floors are an elegant and long-lasting feature in your home that have a variety of practical benefits as well. They are much easier to clean than carpets, they are environmentally friendly and sustainable, and they are generally low-maintenance. With these advantages, many homeowners are choosing to have hardwood floors installed in homes both new and old.
Some homeowners even discover that they had hard hardwood floors all along, hidden under their carpets! If you have a newly discovered hardwood floor or want to restore an old one, you will have to keep a few things in mind. Here are a few of the most common problems that come with hardwood floor restoration:
An uneven gloss or sheen
A well-kept hardwood floor will have a distinctive luster to it, having been polished to a high shine. This gloss comes from the finish, which is applied after the floor has been sanded and polished. If the shine is uneven, the most likely cause is the failure of the finish to cure properly. When you have your finish applied, make sure that there is proper ventilation in the room. Too much humidity in your house can cause water to be trapped between the finish and the floor, preventing it from drying properly. To keep this from happening, make sure you apply your finish on a day that is not too humid; you can open windows and turn on fans to get the air circulating in order to facilitate this. If you do notice that your floor isn’t shining the way you would like, you may have to have the floor sanded again and the finish reapplied.
Black mold stains
Another problem caused by humidity is mold growth. Excessive moisture in the floorboard will create ideal conditions for mold to thrive; it can then spread, leaving unsightly stains across your wood floor. Just as with the previous problem, the first step is attempting to remove the moisture from the atmosphere. Open windows and fans will help a great deal with this process. Next, you can kill the mold spores by applying wood bleach to the stained areas. After you have applied the bleach, use baking soda to neutralize it before you take the next steps in restoring your floor. The bleach will raise up the wood, so in order to remove the stains you will need to lightly sand it back down. Using a 120-grit sandpaper is usually the best choice for this. Then you can reapply a new stain to the area to leave it good as new.
Cupping or warping
Here is another problem caused by moisture. Are you sensing a pattern yet? Changes in the humidity level can also cause your floorboards to change shape. If the sides of the floorboards curl up, this is known as cupping. This can sometimes be subtle and require the trained eye of a professional to notice. Other times, it can be very dramatic and even pose a safety hazard to people living in the house. If the damage has become too extensive, then you may need to replace the floor completely. It’s a good idea to have a professional assess your floor and make recommendations regarding the refinishing of it; they can catch small problems that might otherwise be missed. The first thing you will want to do if you see your wood floor warping or cupping is locate the source of the moisture. While it may be caused by weather, there may also be another source of moisture in your home. Make sure you don’t have any leaks in your plumbing or poor seals in your windows that are letting in humid air. A moisture meter can also be used to test the levels of humidity in the floorboards themselves. You can check this against a chart which will tell you the acceptable moisture content for your floor. Removing the source of the moisture can often help your floors go back to normal, but if not, you may need to take steps to have them fixed or replaced.
Scratches in the floor
Refinishing your hardwood floor involves sanding it, and this process must be undertaken with great care. Too much sanding can damage the floor; too little can leave it rough and make it impossible for it to accept a new finish. Even if you treat your wood floor with the utmost care, scratches will accumulate over the years through normal wear and tear. There are a few ways to deal with a scratched floor; a simple wood marker may be able to cover them, or a light sanding followed by a small amount of finish can help as well. Deeper scratches may require the use of a wax filler stick, which you can purchase at your local hardware store.
If you are thinking about hardwood floor restoration, it’s a good idea to have a professional come take a look. They can often discover problems and issues you may not see and help you to repair them. Since a wood floor can last for many years and save you money over the cost of carpet, this should be considered a sound investment in your home’s future.