5 Tips for Restoring Hardwood Floor Under Carpet

Whether you’ve just moved in or have lived in the same home for years, you might consider doing away with that old carpeting and upgrading to hardwood flooring, a more sustainable, hygienic, and elegant alternative that can raise the value and comfort of your home. Luckily, you may not need to sink thousands of dollars into replacing the current floors in your home. If you’re living in an older home built before the 1970s, odds are your wall-to-wall carpeting is already hiding a hardwood gem.

Most hardwood floors under carpets can be restored—at a much more reasonable cost and with less labor if you choose the right professional service. But if you’ve opted to restore your hardwood floors on your own, then you may have a challenging yet highly rewarding task ahead of you. And if you’re working with a limited budget, restoring the floors yourself may be the most practical approach. Here are five tips for restoring hardwood floors under carpets to help you meet your project goals.

Tip 1: Time Your Project for the Season

Considering the timing of your project should be the first step. The Pacific Northwest experiences the year’s highest levels of humidity from fall to early spring. Starting a project in these months will make it more difficult to repair and refinish hardwood flooring for a number of reasons, including poor indoor air circulation, which prevents the finishing chemicals from drying and curing in the proper amount of time.

Since any floor restoration project requires the work area to be totally clear, moving back and forth between rooms or in and out of the house can be inconvenient in cold, wet weather. You’ll also have to contend with not having access to that room (or the entire house) for three to five days. And bear in mind that the strong odors of the finishing chemicals can take several days to clear up after they’ve dried.

Consider planning your project from late spring through the summer, when the weather is drier. Small, one-room projects can take less than a week to complete—sometimes only a weekend. While larger projects, such as an entire house, will inevitably take longer. Nevertheless, the majority of your time will be spent cleaning up after the last step while preparing for the next.

Tip 2: Assess the Condition of Your Hardwood Floors

This goes without saying: you need to remove the carpeting to actually see the hardwood floors. It’s also important to remove any foam padding, glue, tack strips and spikes, and/or nails left over. Once cleared, every plank should be inspected for damage. Depending on the condition of your floors, you might have to invest more time and money in your project or contact a local professional service, such as Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, if individual planks or the entire floor needs replacing.

Problems such as rampant wood rot, black mold, discoloration, and physical holes in the wood may be beyond the scope of your project. On the other hand, minor scrapes and scratches to the surface can usually be repaired by sanding and refinishing the wood.

In older homes, hardwood floors were typically sealed and coated with natural varnish or shellac. This is likely what’s protected your hardwood floor under the carpet for years. However, to restore your floor, you’ll need to sand down that top layer, otherwise, your finishing materials won’t adhere.

Tip 3: Handle Your Sander Properlywall-2-wall-5-tips-for-restoring-hardwood-floor-under-carpets

Depending on the size of your project, you may opt for either a random orbital sander or a drum sander. For restoring narrow spaces, such as hallways and entryways, or for completing smaller room projects, a random orbital sander may be the best option. But for larger projects, you’ll have to rent a drum sander.

Unless you have experience with a drum sander, you should avoid operating one without first consulting a rental company and researching the proper ways to handle it. Drum sanders vary in size and weight, but for room-length restoration projects, a typical drum sander weighs over a hundred pounds—and can seriously damage your floor if used improperly.

When operating a drum sander, don’t push, pull, or swing the sander like you would a vacuum or lawnmower. Doing so can cause you to leave deep scratches and grooves in your floor, known as “stop marks.” Avoid letting the sander idle in one place, as it will grind into the wood. Where the hardwood floor meets the wall, use an edger instead.

Tip 4: Take Care with Finishing

Before applying finish to your hardwood floor, you should clean up all the dust leftover from sanding. Use a heavy-duty shop vac to remove as much dust as possible. Then wipe the floor with a rag, preferably a tack cloth, soaked in mineral spirits to clear away any lingering dust and debris.

As the mineral spirits and finishing chemicals have strong, potentially harmful odors, it’s best to wear a respirator, gloves, and safety glasses. Always keep your area safe and well-ventilated.

Once you’ve applied the stain and allowed it to dry—often in two rapid coats to help bring out the color you want—it’s important to immediately seal the stain with a urethane coating. In-between applications, stir the urethane mix to prevent it from setting in its container. Typically, two coats (the second may be applied after the first has dried and been lightly sanded) should suffice. But for areas of heavy foot traffic, a third or fourth coat may be more practical.

Tip 5: When to Call a Professional

Restoring hardwood floors under carpeting is a time-consuming process, but it’s definitely DIY-possible. And there’s nothing like the sense of achievement you get when restoring the hardwood floors of your own home. Still … don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If your simple refinishing job turns into a massive floor replacement, that’s where a professional service has you covered. Consulting a hardwood floor restoration and construction company, such as Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, can turn out to be a real time-, money-, and life-saver. Getting a professional estimate for your project can also help you weigh your DIY costs. Check out these services for restoring damaged floors and bringing them back to life.

What Are My Options for How to Keep Wood Floors Warm in Winter?

Are you hesitant about adding wood flooring to your home because you’re worried it’ll get too cold in the winter? At Wall 2 Wall Flooring, we understand this concern, as we have heard it from lots of hesitant customers. But what if we tell you this doesn’t have to be the case? There are options out there that you can take advantage of to keep your wood floors warm in the winter.

If what is stopping you from installing wood floors in your home is the worry of how to keep them–and your home—warm, it’s time to go ahead and have them installed. You can definitely keep wood floors warm. Here are some options for you to follow for how to keep wood floors warm in winter.

Install Radiant Heating Systems

Technology has advanced, and thanks to that, there are new options for keeping your wood floors warm during the colder months. With engineered hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to install a radiant heating system under your floors. Radiant heating supplies heat to the floor of your home via a direct heat source. This, in turn, heats the whole home. There are different methods of heating, such as air-heated, electric radiant floors, and hydronic heating, which is the most common.

Installing radiant heat under wood floors should be done by a professional to make sure that it’s done properly and safely and to ensure it will work with your hardwood floors. We urge you to call us today if you’re interested in adding radiant heating to your floors. We can explain the process to you, decide if it’s a viable option, discuss the best time to install this heating system, and determine which method will work best in your home.

Cover the Floor with an Area Rugwall-2-wall-what-are-my-options-for-how-to-keep-wood-floors-warm-in-winter

Not only will a rug add a pop of color and beautiful décor to your home, but it will also provide you with more heat during the winter. If there’s a specific area of your home that you and your family spend more time in than others, or if there’s a specific area of your home that simply gets colder than another area, putting a rug on the floor in that space will make a big difference. The warmth of the rug, especially if you choose a rug that’s heavier and plush, will add a nice contrast to the coolness of the hardwood.

Additionally, by using rugs, you can easily remove them in the warmer months and only use them when it becomes cold outside. If one of your biggest worries is walking on the cold floor, wearing fuzzy socks is an option too!

Check for Drafts

Be sure to check all your doors and windows for any possible drafts. If you find that there’s cold air coming in from one of these places, you can easily rectify it by using a draft guard, getting a sealer, or adding insulating weather strips to your doors and windows. Hardwood floors can’t get cold if cold air isn’t getting into your home. By preventing this from happening, you are keeping your floors warm and your house warmer too.

Change Your Curtains

Lighter curtains can be great for the warmer months, but in the winter months, it’s a good idea to change to heavier curtains. This is also a best practice even if you checked for drafts and you don’t have any. It is simply an extra layer of warmth. Choosing curtains that are triple-layered and interlined is a good choice.

It is important, though, to not always keep the curtains closed. Having them open during the day when the sun is at its strongest is a good way to take advantage of the natural warmth of the sun. Even in the winter months when it’s cold outside, the sunlight can bring warmth into your home, and this warmth can be absorbed by your floors for a warmer home.

Enter Your Home from a Different Door

This may sound like a strange option, but every time you open your door during the winter months, you’re letting cold air in. By opening up a door that leads to the main room you and your family spend a lot of time in, you make that room, and the hardwood floors in that room, even colder. If there’s another door you can come in and out of that doesn’t lead to a room you spend most of your time in, use that door more frequently. If you have a garage entrance, use that more than the front door. This will help keep cold from coming in and will help your hardwood floors stay warm.

Keeping your home warm in the colder winter months is important for so many reasons. It will reduce your energy costs, which will save you and your family money in the long run. It will also provide you with a more comfortable home environment. Who wants to be outside in the cold and then come in to cold too? Additionally, a cozy home is more welcoming to guests.

If you’re concerned about how to keep wood floors warm in the winter, we hope the above tips and tricks have reassured you and helped to convince you that wood floors are a good way to go. If you’re still worried, contact us. We’ll talk with you personally or come see your home and provide you with our recommendation for your home and your particular floors.

It’s very possible to keep wood floors warm in the winter. It just takes a couple of extra steps. From technology and décor to simply keeping the main door closed a bit more, the above options will help to keep your wood floors warm and your home warmer too.

5 Tips for Handling Hardwood Floor Repair After Water Damage

No one wants to discover water damage to their home, especially when it has damaged hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor is a sturdy and visually appealing addition to any home, but when water damage has affected it, your floor can become unsightly, discolored, and even dangerous. Though experiencing water damage is discouraging, know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to replace your flooring.

Wall 2 Wall Construction and Restoration has serviced both minor and major water damage to hardwood floors. From years of experience, professionals have seen that there are a few things that, if done, can decrease the amount of damage and work to prevent new damage from occurring. And there are ways to repair your floor without having to rip it all up and start from scratch.

Keep an eye open for signs of water damage, such as warped floors, discoloration, or mold and bacteria growth. If you can quickly notice when there has been water damage to your floors, you’ll be in a good position to handle repairs. Here are a few tips for how you can navigate repairs after water damage to your hardwood floors.

Remove Water Quicklywall-2-wall-5-tips-for-handling-hardwood-repair-after-water-damage

When water has penetrated your hardwood floors, your time to clear it of moisture efficiently is very limited. Because hardwood is such a porous substance, water seeps into it easily. When attempting hardwood floor repair after water damage, the first thing you want to do is remove the water as quickly as possible.

As soon as you notice your floor has been damaged by water, you should start attempting to dry it. Begin by using items like towels to suck up as much of the surface moisture as you can. The moisture sitting on top of the wood is slowly seeping into the underlying layers, and getting the surface moisture dried up helps to prevent further damage from occurring.

In this case, the faster you work, the better. Still, there’s probably a lot of underlying water that you’re unable to access. Water damage is usually much deeper than just the surface, but there are ways to fight against deeper damage.

Run Drying Equipment

After you’ve soaked up what was on the surface, there’s still work to do in order to attain dry wood, but you may need some equipment to do it properly. You may have items like heaters or dehumidifiers laying around the house, and these are the perfect solution for the next step of the drying process.

ehumidifiers are one of the best ways to suck up the extra moisture in your hardwood flooring when there’s been damage. They can work to remove the moisture from the wood as well as water from the air, and when put on their highest setting, can produce great results.

Once that moisture is taken out of the deepest layers of the wood, setting up a fan or heater in the room that the water damaged wood is in can further help to ensure it dries completely. Keep these machines on for at least 24 hours after discovering water damage to hardwood flooring. Don’t leave the dehumidifier running for too long, however. Here’s why.

Clean the Wood Thoroughly

Once you’ve removed as much water as possible, you’ll want to clean your hardwood floors thoroughly. The porous nature of your wood floor makes it more susceptible to dirt and other organic material penetrating it while it’s wet. This has the possibility of leading to the growth of mold. That’s why it’s best to give it a good clean after you’ve eliminated all the excess water.

When cleaning your floor, you should use a sturdy brush and a bucket of water that’s been mixed with disinfectant. The bucket of water should only be used as a place for you to soap up and rinse out your brush. Refrain from dumping any of that water onto the actual floor, as it could seep back into the floor and recreate the problem you’re trying to fix.

Once the floors are properly cleaned, follow up with one of your previous floor drying tactics like a fan or heater. You don’t want to leave the floor to dry on its own and possibly take in any more bacteria.

Find the Source

When you’re attempting to repair water-damaged hardwood floors, don’t get overly excited when you’ve properly cleaned up the mess. Unless the reason for the wood being water damaged was caused by you or something you know about, the cause of the water damage is probably unknown. Knowing what caused the damage is just as important as cleaning it up because it helps you to prevent it from happening again.

The first step you can take in finding the source of the water damage is to see where around the area that has been damaged the water could have come from. Is the damage right by the refrigerator? Is it by a pipe or a sewer line? Pinpoint exactly why there’s water damage, and you may find that you have an even bigger problem on your hands.

Water damage is a signal to you that perhaps a pipe has burst, that the dishwasher or fridge is leaking, or that your home is experiencing flooding. Identifying the reason for the water damage also lets you know what kind of water is being released into your home. Dray or black water, for instance, can contain harmful bacteria.

Call a Professional

After noticing water damage, your first idea will probably be to address it on your own. Water damage can become costly, especially when it affects your hardwood flooring, but your hardwood floor is an investment that you should protect. Do what you can to help your situation, but when your floor doesn’t seem to be taking well to at-home quick fixes, it’s best to call a professional, like Wall 2 Wall.

Some issues, such as long-term water damage or flooding, require a professional to service your floors. And calling a professional as soon as you discover water damage on your hardwood floor can increase your chances of having it repaired and not having to completely redo a room.

Do I Need a Dehumidifier with My Hardwood Floor?

Installing a hardwood floor isn’t a small task. Many homeowners spend thousands of dollars on a new hardwood floor. Installation requires going through the process of design, moving furniture out of the way, staying off the newly installed floor for a few days, and then putting the furniture back after installation. The installation process takes a lot of time and effort. After the investment of time and money, keeping the hardwood floor in great condition is important. That leaves many wondering how to best protect their new investment.

Wood is a natural material that’s very reactive to changes in environmental conditions, such as moisture levels in the home. Many homeowners worry about having too much moisture for their new hardwood floors and will install a dehumidifier, thinking this is the best way to protect their floors from excess moisture for years to come. Controlling the moisture levels in the home will help preserve the life of your hardwood floors, but it’s a common misconception that a dehumidifier is the best solution to managing moisture levels in the home.

A Dehumidifier Is Actually a Bad Idea for Hardwood Floors

Have you ever experienced walking on a wood floor where every step you take makes the floor squeak? Or perhaps you avoid particular spots of your floor in the morning while the family sleeps to avoid that loud squeak with your step. Perhaps you find a new spot that squeaks, and as you look closer, you notice there are spaces showing between the floor panels. Or you notice some of the floorboards have started to bend and the edges may curve up or down. Cracks may have appeared in the floorboards.

Maybe you thought you’d avoided these issues by installing a dehumidifier to protect your hardwood floor from moisture, but you were actually mistaken. To keep your floors in shape—pun intended—you need to maintain a certain amount of humidity in your home, not eliminate it. It’s not a dehumidifier you need for your hardwood floors, but a whole-home humidifier. Here’s why humidity matters.

Relative Humidity Levels in the Homewall2wall-do-i-need-a-dehumidifier-with-my-hardwood-floor

Relative humidity is a way of describing how much moisture is in the air. If the relative humidity is 0 percent, the air is completely dry. If the relative humidity is 100 percent, there’s enough moisture in the air to produce dew or mist. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) advises that relative humidity levels should range from 30 to 50 percent for the best performance and life span of hardwood floors. The NWFA estimates that approximately 90 percent of hardwood flooring failures are caused by relative humidity issues in the home.

Many wood flooring manufacturers will require homeowners to maintain a correct relative humidity in the home to keep their warranty active. Since wood is so reactive to temperature and humidity levels, it’s imperative to keep the humidity at the proper percentage.

What Happens When the Air Is Too Dry?

When air is dry, wood floorboards will shrink, which causes gaps to appear between the planks. This is normal behavior, and when the moisture levels rise, the floorboards will expand, filling the gaps. During more extreme changes, however, the wood panels become stressed. This weakens the wood, causing the panels to become more brittle. This brittle wood is more likely to crack and split, causing the finish to splinter, thus exposing the wood. This means the wood floor is no longer protected. These splits in the wood aren’t fixable, so to eliminate the damage, your floor will need to be replaced.

What Happens When the Air Is Too Humid?

When the air is too humid, the wood panels absorb excess moisture from the air, causing the panels to expand. When the humidity levels are too high in the home, cupping can occur to your floorboards. Cupping refers to the shape of the wood panel, as it resembles the shape of a cup. The floorboards bend, leaving the panel edges raised higher than the center of the panel.

Buckling is a more extreme reaction to excess moisture in the home. Buckling is when the floorboards expand past the gaps left for expansion, causing the floorboard to pull away from the subflooring. Cracks can appear with extreme moisture levels due to the pressure buildup from the wood panels expanding beyond the allowed gaps for expansion. The wood panels lose their structural integrity and cracks form.

Preventing Moisture Issues in the Home

You can help prevent structural issues with a hardwood floor in several ways. Making sure to leave expansion space around the perimeter of the floor during installation. Typically, baseboards cover the expansion space for aesthetic purposes. Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important in preventing the need for excessive expansion. By using a whole-home humidifier, you can more easily control the relative humidity in your home.

Using a hygrometer in the home allows you to be able to read the humidity levels. This will help you to know when an adjustment may need to be made to stay in the preferred relative humidity range. During the rainy season, avoid tracking water onto your floors by removing wet gear while on a protective layer such as a doormat. For cleaning, use a soft cloth that has been only lightly dampened with recommended floor cleaners.

Hardwood floors are an investment in your home. Their natural beauty adds to the aesthetics of your home. They’re durable but not invincible, and they do require regular care and maintenance. Natural wear and tear can cause the need for professional hardwood floor repairs.

Whether you’re looking for cosmetic repairs, such as fixing water stains or scratches, or more intricate repairs due to damage from lack of humidity control, such as cupping, buckling, gapping, squeaking, or even mold and water damage, Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors is here to help with your repair needs. The sooner you contact us for repair, the faster we can resolve the problem, which results in less damage and less costly repairs. For all of your hardwood floor repair needs in Portland, OR, contact Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors today.

Is Wood Flooring a Good Idea in Portland?

At Wall 2 Wall Construction & Restoration, we specialize in hardwood floor installation, repair, and refinishing. You could even say that installing hardwood flooring in Portland, Oregon, is our passion. We have been doing it for years. We’re experts at it. We have done it thousands of times. We offer incredible hardwood flooring, excellent prices, and craftsmanship that’s unparalleled. Simply putting it, we are the best when it comes to wood flooring in Portland.

But is wood flooring a good idea in Portland? The short answer is that, yes, it is. But let’s take a more in-depth look at that.

It’s Easy to Maintain and Safer

We ensure that we only use natural wood for your floors. Because of this, your floors will be much easier to clean and maintain. Hardwood floors don’t trap dust particles or debris. This means that if you want to clean your floors, a simple sweet usually suffices. Furthermore, if you go the extra step and add in a proper sealant, your floor will be borderline impermeable.

This is very different from choosing to carpet, as carpeting easily can trap germs, dust, dirt, and scents. In most cases, hardwood floors are already resistant to odors, germs, and debris. They also don’t trap moisture or allergens. This means that if you suffer from mold allergies, hardwood flooring is a great option for your home.

In addition to this, hardwood floors are eco-friendly and sustainable. They’re free of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and of formaldehyde. You may find a bit of volatile organic compounds in engineered wood or bamboo, but the amount is much less than found in carpets.

Financial Valuewall2wall-is-wood-flooring-a-good-idea-in-portland

When it comes to comparing the value of other flooring options in Portland, Oregon, to that of hardwood flooring, there really is no comparison. No other flooring matches the value that hardwood flooring will bring to your home. Why? Because hardwood flooring in Portland homes can increase the property value of the home by as much as 10 percent. Hardwood flooring adds both quality and appeal to your home. Both will help add value to your home.

Additionally, hardwood flooring shows up great in photographs, which is an important feature when the time comes to sell your home. Potential buyers will be looking at these photographers of your home and definitely take note of your beautiful floors. If the floors stand out, it can excite potential buyers and make them want to spend on your home. Plus, potential buyers like the idea of seeing “hardwood floors” in the description of any listing they’re reading.

Increased Variety

As different cuts bring out different aspects of wood, the options you can choose from are nearly endless. This means that you can select the best color, shape, design, and type of wood for your home, whatever your style is.

You can opt for the type of wood that best complements the paint colors and furniture you already have. If you’re starting from scratch, you can choose a floor that will go with any color scheme or type of furniture you may have in mind.

Some types of wood will show off the grain of the wood. Other types will include the imperfections, such as burls, that don’t even look like imperfections and instead will give your floors (and your home) even more character. And more characteristics of wood can come out and change with age, stains, and sealants.

Most Portland Homes Already Have It

If there’s currently carpeting in your home, there’s a chance that it was simply installed directly over a hardwood floor previously there. Most Portland homes were built either in the 1980s or earlier. For those older homes, there’s a chance that hardwood flooring was originally used.

Homes built in the 1950s or before that primarily used hardwood floors. If your home falls into this category, and carpet or laminate was simply laid over the original hardwood floors, then all you’ll need to do is peel back the more recent flooring and refinish the old hardwood floors—a service that we provide!

Refinishing old hardwood floors sounds tedious and time-consuming, and it can be, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s less expensive than replacing floors altogether, so if you do have old hardwood floors hiding away in your Portland home, it’s in your best interest to take advantage of them.

Technology Has Advanced

Are you worried about hardwood flooring leaving your Portland home too cold, especially during the winter months? Technology has advanced, resulting in ways to combat this. With engineered hardwood flooring, you can install radiant heating systems right under your hardwood flooring. There are many perks to installing this type of heat system, as it doesn’t pump allergens throughout your house. Additionally, it helps save on energy costs, as it uses less electricity than other potential sources of heat. This can also help you save money in the long run.

You can also combat some of the chill by using a variety of area rugs throughout your home. This is a common option that allows homeowners to further show off their style, as rugs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs—anything you can imagine.

If you’re thinking twice about whether hardwood flooring is a good idea in your Portland home, there’s no need to. If all of the above reasons still don’t have you fully convinced to go ahead and install that hardwood flooring, please give us a call. We’re happy to chat more with you and hear what your concerns and hesitations are.

If you’re ready to install hardwood flooring in your home, please call us for an estimate. Who knows, your home may already have hardwood flooring under your current carpeting, and then all you’ll need to do is refinish it. Regardless, if you’re looking to sell your home sometime in the future and want the best value possible for the sale, investing in hardwood flooring is the right decision.

Help! My Hardwood Floor Is Splitting

No one wants to think about their hardwood floor splitting, but it is, unfortunately, more common than you may realize. Hardwood floor splitting occurs more commonly if your hardwood floors are on the newer side. Why is that? Well, hardwood floor splitting occurs due to water, typically excess moisture or humidity. And if your hardwood floors aren’t properly installed or sealed, that can lead to moisture getting into your floors and causing the hardwood to split.

Potential Causeswall-2-wall-help-my-hardwood-floor-is-splitting

For instance, if the wood was installed in an environment that wasn’t humidity controlled, extra moisture could have been trapped in the boards. An uncontrolled environment is one that’s outside the ideal humidity range used throughout the hardwood flooring industry, which is 35 to 55 percent.

Another way the installation could have been done improperly is if the wood wasn’t acclimated correctly before it was installed, which means your floorboards could have either been too wet or too dry during installation.

There are other reasons your hardwood floors could be splitting that have nothing to do with installation. The levels of humidity in your home could have increased or decreased significantly. This can also lead to splits. For example, if it’s an excessively humid summer and the humidity gets into your home, that could cause splitting. Additionally, moisture can seep through the subfloor, causing a damp crawlspace, which will, in turn, cause splitting. Your floor will take on the moisture and then release it to the rest of the room.

Now that you know why your hardwood floor could be splitting, what can be done to solve the problem?

Call a Professional

The first thing you should do is call a professional. Don’t attempt to fix the splitting on your own. Not only can it be dangerous, but it could lead to further damage to your floors if the repair isn’t done properly. Additionally, you’ll want to call a professional because they can fix, not only the problem, but also the source of the problem to help ensure that your hardwood floors stay fixed.

At Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors, we can do all of this for you (and more!). We’re pros when it comes to hardwood floor installation, hardwood floor repair, and hardwood floor restoration, just to name a few of our specialties. We’ll use our expertise to fix your splitting hardwood floor and get to the root of the problem to prevent it from happening again. For example, if there’s a damp subfloor under your flooring that’s causing the splitting, we’ll help you remedy that issue.

You should only take action on your own if you’re entirely sure the issue isn’t due to an underlying water or moisture issue and that it won’t reoccur. If this is the case and you know how to use the proper equipment safely, you can sand, fill, and refinish the floor if the splitting is getting extensive. If you’re at all hesitant, call for assistance.

Check the Humidity in Your Home

As we mentioned above, moisture in the air is a common reason hardwood floors split. Double-check the humidity of the room where the floor is splitting and of your home in general. You don’t want to fix your split hardwood floors only for it to happen again a short while later due to excessive moisture in the house.

Just as high levels of moisture in a room can cause the hardwood floors to split, low levels, resulting in it being too dry, can do the same. For instance, if it’s wintertime and you have the heat pumping throughout your home, check the humidity level in the room where the floor is splitting. It might be too low. If it is, you can get a humidifier and run it in the room. This humidifier will help to bring more moisture into the room. It’s all about finding that happy balance in the range we mentioned above (35 to 55 percent).

Don’t Feel Like You Need to Act Right Away

Of course, if you see a split in the flooring of your home and it’s right after installation, you should call the company who installed your floors. However, if the floors aren’t new, there’s no reason to call for help immediately. It’s good practice to wait a full season to see if there are any further changes in your flooring before you get the problem fixed. This is because, as the weather and humidity changes, it’s normal for hardwood floors to change somewhat. Sometimes, the splits can close by themselves when the humidity rises again. Wait a while and see—there’s no reason for you to spend excess money if you don’t have to.

Whereas moisture—whether there’s too much or too little of it—tends to be the main factor when it comes to hardwood floor splitting, if the floor is older and the finish on the floor is worn, the splits could simply be a sign of age. This is something that a professional can diagnose so you know for sure.

When the splitting is due solely to age and not because of a water problem, there’s no need to fix the splits—as long as you’re okay with them, of course. If they don’t cause a safety risk to anyone walking around, if they aren’t that big, and if you don’t mind the look of them, it’s okay to simply leave the splits as they are. When, however, the splitting is a concern or you suspect an underlying water or moisture issue, call in a hardwood floor professional to assess the situation.

If your hardwood floor is splitting and you’re in the Portland area, please give us a call. We can come to inspect and fix the problem for you.

5 Tips for Installing Hardwood Flooring Wall to Wall

A hardwood floor is one of the most elegant upgrades you can give your home. A wood floor brings benefits both aesthetic and practical. Compared to a carpet, it’s easier to clean and longer-lasting, and it won’t trap allergens and bad smells in the way that carpet will. What’s more, a hardwood floor can have a profound effect on your home’s value: up to 2.5 percent, depending upon other factors. Since a hardwood floor doesn’t need to be replaced every few years the way carpeting does, you’ll easily find that the initial cost of installation pays for itself over the lifetime of the house.

Of course, installing wall-to-wall flooring is an art and science unto itself. Below, we offer our top five tips to ensure your home has a floor that can last generations.

Tip #1: Know What’s Involved

Attempting to install a hardwood floor yourself is not a job for a beginner. You should have a solid background in carpentry and know your way around the tools of the trade. Because installing wall-to-wall flooring requires extremely precise measurements—even a minor error can lead to serious problems with your floor—you shouldn’t try to undertake this job on your own unless you’re confident of your skills. You’ll also want to be sure you have the patience to undertake a task of this size. It’s a long and difficult job.

If you’ve considered all the above factors and have decided that you can handle the installation process on your own, great! If, on the other hand, you’ve decided you need the help of a professional, there’s no shame in that either. Contact Portland’s top hardwood flooring professionals at Wall 2 Wall and ask them for a quote for the job.

Tip #2: Choose the Right Materials

So you’ve decided you want to install a hardwood floor. Of course, that’s only the first of a series of decisions you’ll have to make. “Hardwood” can mean many different types of material, and you’ll need to decide exactly what’s best in your situation. While most people imagine that hardwood floors are always made from solid planks of oak, cherry, or other similar materials, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

In fact, modern technology has led to advancement in the hardwood flooring world, just as it has in other areas of home design. For example, a popular and relatively new type of hardwood flooring is known as engineered flooring. These are planks covered with only a thin top layer of the hardwood of your choice, and it has a variety of advantages over other types of hardwood floors. In particular, engineered flooring can be installed directly onto concrete, without requiring the layers of plywood traditional floors have beneath them. This means that they can be installed essentially anywhere—and also that they can be installed over floors that have radiant heating systems.

Solid flooring still has advantages over other types, though. It can be sanded repeatedly and therefore can easily be refinished every few years, meaning it will stay in amazing shape for decades.

Besides these choices, you’ll have to make aesthetic choices as well. What type of wood do you prefer to have in your home? Oak, cherry, mahogany, or something else entirely? Oak is a popular choice, owing not only to its durability, but also to its ability to take stain well. If you prefer something with a darker finish, walnut is also an excellent choice, although it’s a little softer than oak.

Tip #3: Decide On the Size of the Wood Planks

As with any home improvement project, preparation is key when it comes to installing wall-to-wall flooring. You’ve settled on the material to use, but you have a few other important decisions to make. For example, what’s the width of the planks you want to use? Do you prefer wide planks or thin planks? Each has its own distinct advantages.

Thin planks—in the four- to six-inch range—are standard and a bit cheaper. Wide planks—seven inches or more—are considered to be a “luxury” feature that exudes a sense of elegance in the home. It’s more expensive than thin planks. Thinner planks also tend to warp less over time, although this can vary depending on other factors.

Tip #4: Consider How You’ll Install Your Floorwall-2-wall-5-tips-for-installing-hardwood-flooring-wall-to-wall

After you know all the details regarding what your floor will look like and what it will be constructed from, you’ll need to know how your floor will be installed. How the floor is installed depends a good bit on what it’s constructed from. Solid hardwood planks usually need to be nailed straight down onto the plywood beneath them. Engineered flooring can usually be glued down or even stapled into place.

Tip #5: Prepare Carefully Before You Begin

Once you’ve made all the decisions regarding installing your wall-to-wall flooring, you’ll need to actually begin ordering the materials. Begin with careful measurement of the rooms you’ll be installing the flooring in. Always order at least 5 percent more material than you actually need. This is to allow for cutting and a margin of error.

The next step you’ll have to take is rolling out your underlayment, should it be required, and then you’ll lay out the hardwood planks. Line the planks up parallel to the longest wall. If you’re nailing the floorboards down, you may have to drill holes in them first. With each step, take care that there are no large gaps between the planks of your floor, and then you can begin the job.

As with any massive building project, it helps if you have a few extra sets of hands to assist you. Ask friends or neighbors to help with the job. Of course, don’t be afraid to call a professional if you believe the job requires it.

5 Tips for Making Your Portland Hardwood Floor Last

As a homeowner, hardwood floors are one of the lowest maintenance flooring options you can select. And more importantly, they look amazing with nearly any design aesthetic. Regardless of whether you want your home to remind you of that French chateau you once visited, your favorite mountain-range escape, or a beach-side bungalow along the Pacific coast, you can find the hardwood to match the appeal you desire.

And, yes, while hardwood flooring is rather low maintenance, as you don’t have to lug out the vacuum for every dog hair that shows, nor get on hands and knees and dig crud out of tile grout, it still requires some commitment to keep your Portland hardwood floors looking like new.

Here are five tips we share with customers who want their floors looking like the day they were installed for many years to come:

1. Clean with Care5 Tips for Making Your Portland Hardwood Floor Last

Hardwood floors won’t show every scuff mark and stray hair, but they will wear down in time, so you still need to put in some effort to properly clean them. So sweep as often as you desire, and every once in a while do a little bit more.

On the “more” days, these are the additional steps you should take:

  1. Gently vacuum the floor to ensure every speck of dust and crumb has been removed.
  2. Mix together one cup of white vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil into a water bottle filled with distilled water and then lightly spritz the concoction onto the floors.
  3. Use a sponge mop to clean each nook and cranny of the floor making sure to travel with the grain of the wood.
  4. Allow the floor to completely dry before buffing with a Portland hardwood floor buffer or microfiber cloth.

These added steps take time, and you’ll likely want to move aside the furniture during this deep clean, so it’s not recommended every weekend. But when you want to bring the shine back to your floor, this process is effective.

2. Take Off Your Shoes

As a guest entering someone’s home, you don’t always want the first thing you hear to be, “Please, take off your shoes.” And walking along hardwood floors with shoes on occasionally isn’t cause for alarm. However, if you really want to ensure your floors stay in tip-top shape, then you should take off your shoes.

Don’t let your child in dance class practice their tap routines on your Portland hardwood floors. Ask them to remove their soccer cleats before stepping foot in your abode. Even take off your own kicks at the end of the day.

Shoes don’t appear “that dirty” but are incidentally trampling in dust and dirt from outside. They are also causing scuff marks. Switch those clackity heels for socks or slippers that glide along the floor, and you’ll notice the difference over the years.

An everyday step to take to keep your hardwood flooring in its best shape is to simply remove your street shoes.

3. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Do you recall purchasing backyard lounge furniture at the beginning of the summer, only to realize that you need to replace the cushions before the next season because the color has already faded away? This fading is caused by the direct rays from the sun—almost like a reverse suntan. And the same can happen to your wood flooring.

While windows, shades, and curtains do provide protection, if you expose your floors to direct sunlight day after day, you’ll eventually notice this effect after a few years. It won’t be obvious. Instead, you’ll go to move your hutch slightly to the left only to realize that there’s a distinct line denoting where the sun did and didn’t hit the floor over time.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a shut-in and always have your blinds closed to the outside world, but do recognize that these outside influences will impact your inside aesthetic, and make adjustments as you see fit. One way to negate this problem is by rotating your furniture more frequently in the rooms that are exposed to the most direct sunlight.

4. Invest in a Whole-House Humidifier

In a perfect world, the humidity and temperature levels in your home would be consistent. This would not only benefit you and ensure you’re always comfortable in your home, but it could do wonders for your flooring.

Hardwood flooring shrinks and expands depending on the humidity in a room, much like curly hair. When it’s humid, the slats are at their maximum width, but they contract when the humid conditions abate. This contracting and expanding over the years can cause your flooring to warp. So if you want to limit this possibility, invest in a whole-house humidifier.

And not only will a humidifier help extend the life of your Portland hardwood floors, it’ll improve your seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms as well.

5. Opt for Harwood Restoration

An investment in hardwood flooring is an investment in your home. It’s not the cheapest flooring option, but it will look wonderful for many years to come with little effort on your part. However, everything fades and warps with time.

If you’ve invested in a property that has beautiful hardwood floors but they’ve seen better days, don’t give up entirely and jump to replacement. Instead, look into hardwood flooring restoration.

It doesn’t matter what the cause of destruction is, as we can tackle squeaks, gaps, stains, mold, buckling, warping, and more. No matter what flooring issue you face, restoration may be the best solution.

And hardwood flooring restoration is often more affordable than a complete replacement while allowing you to retain the originality of the home.

If you’ve done all you can to get your floors to look like new but are ready to consider restoration, reach out to the Wall 2 Wall team today.

When Are Hardwood Floors Beyond Repair?

Hardwood floors have been an absolute favorite for the last few decades, and at Wall 2 Wall, we know they aren’t going out of trend anytime soon. They’re known for durability, beauty, and quality. An absolute classic, hardwood floors are a sign of a well-built home. Being evergreen and versatile in function and design, they are unmatched and make houses feel like home.

However, even the most reliable flooring can give up sometimes. After all, everything has a shelf life, and you may need to get your flooring repaired from time to time. The key lies in knowing when your hardwood flooring is beyond the scope of repair.

As a homeowner, it’s vital to know this difference, but there’s no need to worry! At Wall 2 Wall, we’re all about providing you with the best consultation services at affordable prices, no matter the state of your floors.

So here’s a list of common indicators that suggest that your hardwood floors are beyond repair.

Structural Instability

Structural instability can sometimes creep in unknowingly, and before you know it, the wooden planks and boards beneath your feet are shaking and moving, and you are caught in the middle of your own personal earthquake.

The reason why this problem is beyond the scope of repair is because of all the intensive fixing that you would need to do. In such cases, the overhaul work usually extends to the sub-floor and may cost a fortune.

Needless to say, it’s time to bid adieu to your hardwood floors because they are beyond repair and start looking for new options for yourself.

Pest Infestation

This is another common problem that plagues hardwood floors and requires homeowners to take precautions. Infestation by bugs or pests is a huge problem that can essentially spell a death sentence for your floors. The most common types of pests are termites and ants, both of which can eat away at your wood flooring.

Again, in such circumstances, the cost of pest control will be nearly equal to the amount you would spend on new floors. So it’s advisable for you to start evaluating your choices and probably consider replacing your hardwood floors.

Squeaks and Creaks

The most common sign that your hardwood floors have become old is when they start squeaking, creaking, and making noises that are generally not expected from a good-quality floor.
Everything comes with an expiration date, and your floor, which may boast durability and longevity, is bound to succumb to it too eventually.

The reason your floor starts making such noises is that, with time, your hardwood starts to expand and contract in such a manner that the individual planks start rubbing against each other, and the nails, which are holding the entire thing together, also start making contact. Usually, such squeaks and creaks can be fixed, but only temporarily because there’s only so much resealing and sanding that you can do.

Eventually, the noise will return, and when it does, it will be back with a vengeance. So it’s strongly advised that you get rid of what you presently have and start working on getting fresh, new flooring.

Multiple Refinishing Jobs

If you have had hardwood floors for a while now, then it would probably be right to guess that your floors have gone through the process of refinishing.

If this is the case, they may not respond as well to a second or third time around. Refinishing involves sanding the wooden planks down to a smooth surface again. This can only be done so far before the wood becomes too thin to support normal wear and tear and overall exposure to the elements. Once your floors reach this point, it’s time to look into getting something new and durable.

Excessive Mold

Mold isn’t necessarily an issue with old hardwood floors. It can, however, impact newer flooring due to high indoor humidity and accumulated moisture.

If you don’t get the mold cleaned in time, it can spread and affect the entire floor, damaging it beyond repair. Mold can also cause a serious threat to your health, and that’s, of course, a chance you shouldn’t take. From asthma to eye irritation and rashes, there are various issues that mold can cause. Be wise and replace the flooring before such health problems arise.

Water DamageWhen Are Hardwood Floors Beyond Repair

If you live closer to areas that are prone to floods or in contact with water due to excessive leakage, your hardwood floors may be in danger. Wondering why water damage takes place at all? It’s because your hardwood flooring absorbs the water instead of resisting it. The ideal moisture content in hardwood flooring should be around 6 to 12 percent, but once it crosses a 40 percent moisture content, be sure to replace the flooring, rather than face severe damage.

Once the water starts warping the wood, the foundation of your hardwood floors will be disturbed, making replacement necessary. The best advice to save money and time is to replace the hardwood flooring instead of going for a refinishing job, as the nails and mold can also start giving you issues.

Here are common signs that signify there’s water damage beyond repair:

  • Staining and discoloration
  • Buckling of the floor
  • Lifting nails and floorboard

Home is always going to be a work in progress, whether it’s getting your floors sanded, polished, or even repaired—a homeowner’s work is never over. Don’t worry, at Wall 2 Wall, we’re here to help you with all your hardwood flooring needs.

From hardwood floor installation and refinishing to repair and restoration—Wall 2 Wall’s dedicated team of professionals comes with expert-level craftsmanship to offer you the best service at affordable prices.

With many years of experience on our side, we’ve established ourselves as the hardwood floor maestro that you can trust. So next time you need hardwood flooring installed or need your existing floors checked, contact us right away.

Choosing Between Hardwood Floor Contractors in Portland Oregon

Selecting the proper flooring for your home is essential. This decision is paramount, as it will be the surface you are walking on in the many years to come, which means it must be durable, timeless, and attractive. Few options check all these boxes as well as hardwood flooring.

Installing, resurfacing, or restoring hardwood floors is also an investment, so when choosing between hardwood floor contractors in Portland, Oregon, you’ll want to be selective.

Ultimately, there’s no definitive way to know if you’ve gone with the best contractor for your hardwood flooring project until the job is done, but there are specific details you can look for that indicate you’re choosing a company that’s reputable and will get the job done as expected.

This is what you should look for before making your final decision:

Full-Service Hardwood Flooring CompanyChoosing Between Hardwood Floor Contractors in Portland Oregon

Not all companies that install hardwood floors are also adept at restoring older wood flooring, or even offer that service. However, even if you aren’t looking for this service, the added knowledge that company can provide you with will help you select the best option for your household.

For example, a full-service company will be best at knowing which types of wood are more likely to scratch and scuff, which shades and species are more likely to wear down first, and which one is the most resilient against kids, pets, moisture, and more.

You deserve a team of dedicated professionals who will take the extra time to provide you with their expertise and guide you in the best direction.

This is even truer if you’re looking to restore or refinish your hardwood flooring. While you might think the best way to have your wood floors looking like new is to request refinishing, you might really be better off with a restoration project.

Unless the company you select has experience in both and has a customer-focused approach, you may not be happy with the results once the job is complete.

Positive Online Reviews

Will good reviews guarantee a good outcome? No, but it will likely increase your odds. While no company is going to have a 100-percent-satisfaction record, when one can boast about its many satisfied customers, it’s worth taking note.

Similarly, negative reviews are important to read too. When choosing between hardwood floor contractors in Portland, Oregon, you may find that a company has nearly all positive reviews when it comes to water damage restoration but numerous complaints with staying on schedule for installations. Depending on the service you’re interested in, this could be a deciding factor as to whether or not this is the company for you.

Are online reviews a definitive source of excellence? Of course not, but they can be a great tiebreaker when deciding between two hardwood flooring contractors.

Proper Licensing & Insurance

All home contracting companies are required to meet specific state-mandated licensing and insurance requirements. Some even go beyond these requirements to ensure everyone is protected in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Don’t hesitate to ask if the company you want to work with has the proper licenses and insurance. In fact, reputable companies will be glad that you asked and will gladly answer any questions you have on this topic.

This also shows that the company you’re interested in hiring isn’t just focused on itself and you, but also on its employees and their safety. This is a company with the right priorities and one that’s going to do the right thing by you when you choose to work together.

Clear, Educational Communication Style

When choosing between hardwood floor contractors in Portland, Oregon, you’ll come across a variety of personalities as you make your initial introductions. Take these first interactions into consideration.

When you called or emailed, was the company quick to connect with you, answer all your questions, explain the various services in detail, share which one might be best, and provide you with the information you needed to make an educated decision?

Or was it difficult to get ahold of someone, you felt rushed or unimportant, and you were left with more questions than answers?

These moments might seem unimportant, especially if the company came highly recommended or had excellent reviews, but it’s likely an indicator of how you can expect your communication to continue moving forward. While it might not be the sole deciding factor, it may play a big role when you’re whittling down your top choices.

Your Community Recommendations

Whose opinions do you trust? Your coworkers might be valuable resources, friends and acquaintances on Facebook might be a go-to for information, or maybe a relative knows everyone in town and is always tossing in her two cents.

While you might trust your relative the most, when looking for a hardwood floor contractor, spread your net wide. Ask around and see if the same few companies keep rolling off the tongue. If everyone you know, and even people you don’t, keep throwing out the same recommendation, this company is one you should place high on your list to vet for yourself.

No matter what others have to say, this is a personal decision and an investment you are making that will impact you for years to come. Don’t take it lightly and don’t rely on others alone. Trust your instincts and ask the right questions to determine which hardwood flooring company will best meet your needs.

It may take some time, but you’ll find a reputable, highly qualified contractor whose skills will wow you and leave you thankful for the time you put in before making a final decision.
Still looking for the right company in your neck of the woods? Go with Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors based here in Portland, Oregon.