Author Archives: Oregon Hardwood Floors

What Causes Hardwood Floors to Separate?

What Causes Hardwood Floors to Separate?

A hardwood floor can contribute a lot to the beauty of a home’s interior and give a nice, warm feel to any room. With different kinds of wood available or patterns to create, the possibilities are endless, and a hardwood floor can give your living space just the style you desire. But the effect can rapidly be spoiled if gaps appear between the floorboards. These little spaces easily accumulate dust and dirt and can be a source of frustration and concern. The good news is that there’s always something you can do to make your floor look beautiful again. First, let’s look at what causes hardwood floors to separate.

External and Structural Causes

A hardwood floor may start to show signs of separation due to outside causes. Wood is an organic material and sensitive to variations in temperature and humidity, which can cause it to shrink or expand slightly with changing weather. This is entirely natural, and flooring technicians will take a degree of floor movement into account when they install your hardwood floor. But when temperature and humidity fluctuations tend toward extremes or become frequent, your floor may start to exhibit cracks between sections.

Accidental damage—spilling liquids, dropping large objects, or dragging heavy, bulky furniture, for example—can also cause floorboards to dislocate. In older houses, moisture that seeps in unnoticed can also have damaging effects.

Separation can be due to structural issues with the floor itself. Perhaps the wood was inadequately acclimatized prior to installation or the gaps left around the perimeter of the room were the wrong size. Poor workmanship could be the reason your hardwood floor is separating. If the floorboards weren’t tapped into place properly or weren’t a perfect fit, they won’t be able to expand and contract freely and organically as they need to.

In a nutshell, although wood responds to its environment and to seasonal and other changes, a properly installed hardwood floor will cope well with these, within reasonable limits. In contrast, when variations in the atmosphere, particularly humidity, are too great or the quality of the floor itself (the wood or the installation) is subpar, problems are likely to arise.

What to Do About Hardwood Floor Separation

Prevention is better than a cure, so the ideal time to treat hardwood floor issues is before they arise. And this means before work even begins on the floor itself. To start, the space the floor will occupy must be prepared and the subfloor made ready to build on. Meanwhile, the wood must be properly acclimatized. This means that it needs to get used to the conditions inside the building it will be housed in.

The relative humidity of the wood flooring boards needs to be somewhere between 35 and 55 percent. So the climate inside the building—particularly in the case of newly built homes—needs to be stabilized to this humidity level before bringing the wood inside. When work starts on laying the floor, there should be no more than a few percent difference between the humidity of the subfloor and flooring.

All of this is second nature to us at Wall 2 Wall. Our hardwood floors can last for decades and will look as good as new for almost as long.

If you’re already past the prevention stage, here are a couple of steps you can take.

Correcting Gaps Between Floorboards

Sometimes it’s possible to actually close up the gaps between floorboards—after all, they shifted one way, so they can shift back the other. This is only an option if the boards aren’t fixed. If the floor has expanded outwards too much, it needs to be pushed back tightly into place. You’ll need to work from the outside inwards and use wooden pegs around the outside to prevent the floor from spreading again and cracks from reappearing.

Filling the Gaps

Sometimes, pushing boards back together again isn’t possible. But rest assured, there are ways to fill the gaps in such a way that the end result is almost imperceptible.

  • Using sawdust and clear resin filler. You can mix sawdust from the same wood as the floorboards with resin to form a paste and then fill the gaps. If you proceed unhurriedly and methodically, your floor should look nicely rejuvenated.
  • Color match acrylic filler. This kind of filler comes in many color tones, and if you can find one that perfectly matches your floor, your gaps will be nothing but distant memories in no time. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions for use.

Filler strips. For larger gaps, you can put a strip of actual wood in, almost like an extra tiny floorboard. Use the same species and color wood and gently tap the strip in until it is flush with the floor surface. You can sand it down if necessary.

Preventing New Gaps

But what happens if more gaps appear, even after repairing the previous ones? First, just wait a bit. Even when a floor has not been laid perfectly, it will often settle and then stop changing.

There are also steps you can take to keep humidity levels, one of the main culprits that cause hardwood floors to separate, within a reasonable range. You can use a humidifier in winter to stop the dry air from making the wood shrink too much. And if your summers are hot and humid, a dehumidifier can stop the wood from expanding excessively.

If your floor still remains temperamental and doesn’t stabilize despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to call a contractor. There may yet be a simple cause and solution. At Wall 2 Wall, we can advise you on what’s causing your hardwood floors to separate and make all the repairs you need. Reach out today to discuss your hardwood floor.

What Can I Do When My Wood Floor Is Cracking?

What Can I Do When My Wood Floor Is Cracking?

Wood floors are growing prominence for their beauty and contemporary preservation methods. They are generally easy to care for as well. But what happens when cracks form in or between the boards? We have good news. This problem can be both rectified and even avoided with proper floor upkeep.The hardwood flooring experts at Wall 2 Wall have some suggestions to help you keep your flooring looking as good as new. Sealing cracked wood floors can be done in various ways, depending on whether the floor is finished or incomplete and the severity of the problem.

1. Use Adaptable Gap Fillers

Several of the fillers used to keep some elasticity after drying. They are a good choice for sealing microscopic fissures since they are less prone to be forced out if the boards expand. Filler application is a straightforward technique that requires only a caulk trimmer and a caulk gun or comparable removal instrument.

To implement this strategy:

  1. Start by suctioning the cracks with a hose attachment. This will help remove any debris that may be preventing the filler from adhering to the boards.
  2. Insert the end of the filler tube into the caulk gun with a little tilt. This tilt will enable you to control the filler application while preventing unequal coverage.
  3. Add the filler to the gap as you would normally add caulking; then use your trimmer to scrape away any excess carefully.
  4. To prevent leaving stains or other defects on your floor, carefully follow the recommendations on the filler tube when cleaning up.

2. Make Use of Wood Scraps

One common method for covering wider gaps in wood floor cracking is to use pieces of the same kind of wood as your floor. Ensure the area is moist to keep from having your wood panel forced out the next time your floors expand. Split the strips in half and glue the two halves together.

Then, fasten the strips between both the boards with a hammer with cushioning, leaving a small bit above the floor height. After the glue sets, scrape the extra wood using a woodworking plane to ensure that the surface becomes glossy over the repair site. It’s worth noting that this technique works best with square-curtain boards and is unsuccessful with tongue-and-groove flooring.

3. Make Use of Rope

An old but still popular method of crack closure utilizes a rope. This approach is evocative of Arabian shipbuilding traditions, and it provides a small amount of insulation.

You’ll need to gauge the rope to suit, just like you did with the wood. Avoid using synthetic rope. All you do is wedge it into place, filling the cracks as you would with caulking. Make sure the rope fillers are level with the adjoining boards. After that, you can dye the rope to suit the color of your floor.

4. Make Use of Sawdust

Using fine sawdust to cover holes in a cracked wood floor is a simple way to fill them. Larger sawdust may have undesirable grain. Thus, sanding wood of a similar species is ideal.

To use this method:

  1. Gather sufficient sawdust for the floor area that needs to be fixed. If you don’t have any spare pieces of matching wood, you can go to a flooring shop and buy some.
  2. If you can’t find matching wood, you’ll have to retool a portion of the current floor. Take a strip from the floor’s border or a portion from beneath a doorway, which will be covered by the doorframe when re-laid, by pulling up the baseboard and prying up a piece from the floor’s border.
  3. Using a belt sander, sand a cup or two of sawdust from the piece of wood.
  4. To form a reasonably thick paste, combine the sawdust and wood glue.
  5. Lay the sawdust into the crevices using a plastic spatula. Make an effort to finish it as smoothly as possible. Wipe any excess off the spot and nearby floors with a moist cloth. To avoid dragging filler out of the patch, wipe on a diagonal.
  6. Allow the filler to dry for a few days.
  7. Lightly sand.
  8. If there is a significant color difference between the patch and the remainder of the floor, you may need to re-stain it. Stain the patch with a tiny artist’s brush. Allow it to dry for a minute before wiping away. Allow the stain to dry overnight before applying a coat of varnish to the patch using a small artist’s brush.

5. Replacement of the Whole Floor

If the problem with your wood floor cracking is more severe, you may need to completely replace it. This is the case if the spaces are wide and many or when other signs of board deterioration are present, such as missing or warping slivers. While this is a costly alternative, trying to fix a badly deteriorated wood floor can end up costing you even more money over the long term.

Preventing Wood Floor Cracks

Following are some of the things that may cause your wood floor to crack in the future. Knowing these, you can prevent cracks in the future.

Humidity Levels

Low humidity levels may wreak havoc on your floor. Low levels allow the wood to dry out, which weakens it and causes the floor to crack. This drying process can also cause the floor to check, which means the wood will crack along the pattern. Low humidity might also degrade the finish, causing routine maintenance problems.

Keeping a small humidifier in the area or using your furnace’s humidifier will help balance the humidity and prevent this problem. Proper humidity levels in your house will also improve your family’s health, so this preventative action has numerous advantages.

Cleaning with Water

Wood flooring can only withstand minimal wet cleaning. Soaking your floor with a cleaning solution will cause damage. Use a moist mop or towel instead.

Rug Protectors

Although rug pads help keep your rug in place and prevent it from sliding, certain varieties create scratches on your floor. Rubber-backed mats, for example, may affect the color and luster of your floor. Rather, it is advised to utilize pads made of felt.

Water damage on hardwood floor.

Prevent Water Damage to Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a thing of beauty. They add a refined, rustic charm to your modern home, instantly adding warmth and charm. When well maintained, hardwood floors are an excellent investment, as they increase your property’s value. Typically, these floors are highly durable and can withstand minor damages caused by temperature changes, pets, tools, and toddlers. However, take extra care to avoid water damage. As tough as hardwood floors can be, water makes a formidable enemy.

The best way to keep your hardwood flooring shiny and beautiful and reduce the cost of maintenance is to protect it from water damage. To help, we’ve compiled a list of tips for preventing water damage to hardwood floors.

How to Protect Your Hardwood Floors From Water Damage

Check Your Plumbing

Check your plumbing before installing hardwood floors and keep an eye on it after installation. This is because water pipe leaks and flooding are some of the primary causes of water damage to hardwood floors.

Call professional plumbers to inspect your plumbing system once in a while, and make necessary repairs as soon as you notice a problem. Also, check appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines for cracks and pipe damage. The quicker you address these issues, the longer your hardwood floor will last and the lower the maintenance cost.

Keep Wet Things Off the Floor

An important step in preventing water damage to hardwood floors is keeping an eye out for wet items on the floor and removing them immediately. Muddy shoes, wet umbrellas, damp towels, and drenched furniture should not be allowed near or on your hardwood floors. These wet items transfer moisture to your hardwood floor. If it keeps happening, the moisture content will increase until it causes severe water damage. Soaked objects also promote mold and mildew growth on the surface and in the seams of your hardwood floors.

Clean Spills Quickly

If possible, always keep a dry towel nearby so you can quickly clean spills on your hardwood floors. This is perhaps the simplest way to protect your floor from water damage. Don’t let puddles of water or any other liquid, no matter how small, sit on your hardwood floor for a long time. The liquid can quickly seep into the wood and weaken it from the inside. Instead of a wet mop, which can further wear down the wood, use a dry or slightly damp cloth to clean up the mess.

Use Quality Cleaning Products

Using the right cleaning products for your hardwood floor can improve durability and keep it safe from water damage. Only use products specifically made for hardwood floors, and always read the instructions before use. Steer clear of products that promise to make your hardwood floor shine because they usually contain waxes that can actually destroy the finish on your floor and allow water to penetrate more easily.

Use Mats and Rugs

A great way to prevent water damage to hardwood floors is to cover them with mats and rugs. By placing a mat in front of your door, you can ensure that you and your guests don’t bring wet feet into the house.
Lay rugs strategically inside your home. For instance, if you have a pet, place a mat with a waterproof back under its water bowl to absorb spilled water. Rugs or mats in high-traffic areas, such as the living or dining rooms, will add a layer of protection to your hardwood floors.

Control Indoor Humidity Levels

If you don’t have a humidifier in your home, get one as soon as possible. Because of the nature of hardwood floors, changes in weather and humidity can affect the wood and cause water damage. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, humidity levels should fall between 35 and 55 percent to maintain the quality of your hardwood flooring. Humidity levels above 55 percent can trigger cupping or buckling, causing your hardwood floor planks to expand and pull up because of excess moisture. Humidity levels lower than 35 percent can cause the wood to dry out and contract.

You need to find the proper balance of humidity and maintain it. Some HVAC units have built-in humidifiers. If yours doesn’t, you can also purchase a stand-alone humidifier in the size you need. An inexpensive indoor humidity monitor can help you determine if your space needs more or less humidity to keep your hardwood floors at their best.

Apply a Sealant

Applying a sealant is a great way to toughen and maintain your hardwood floors. Sealants such as polyurethane can make your hardwood floors more resistant to water. This means it takes longer for water to seep into the wood and cause damage.

Because polyurethane spreads thinly, apply at least three coats to ensure it prevents water absorption. For the best protection against water damage, reapply the sealant every three to four years. If you’d rather use a wax sealant to protect your floor, you may need to reapply once a year.

Use a Natural Oil Finish

You can use natural oils in place of wax or polyurethane to prevent water damage to hardwood floors. Since oil and water don’t mix, the oil finish will serve as a good layer of protection. Unlike most sealants, natural oils don’t just sit on the surface of your hardwood floors. Instead, they penetrate deep into them and harden the wood to improve its durability.

If you’ve noticed any sign of water damage or require preventative refinishing services, count on Wall 2 Wall Hardwoods to protect and restore your beautiful hardwood floors. Don’t hesitate—contact us now for more information.

Worker laying pipes for hydronic heat under floor.

Does Hydronic Heating Work With Timber Floors?

These days, alternative heating methods are all the rage as homeowners seek to get in front of rising energy costs and develop a “greener” home. New technologies have been developed that can heat your home to a comfortable temperature without utilizing as much energy. People who install these advanced methods of heating in their homes can often save thousands of dollars on their heating costs over the years. One such method is hydronic heating, which radiates heat energy through the floors.

Of course, advanced technology is only part of the puzzle when it comes to designing a comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient home. Tried-and-true features that have been used for many years, such as timber floors, are also gaining in popularity again as homeowners seek to maximize the potential of their living spaces. But is hydronic heating with timber floors actually a good idea? Read on and we’ll explain how these two popular features of many modern homes are compatible with one another.

What Is Hydronic Heating?

Most homes are heated with forced air, where a fuel source of some kind generates heat, which is then used to warm up air to the desired temperature. This heated air is then circulated throughout a system of ducts by way of a large fan.

Hydronic heating operates based upon a completely different mechanism, although the methods of generating the heat in the first place can be largely the same. Once the fuel source has been used to create heat, it then heats up water instead of air. A pump then circulates the water throughout a series of flexible tubing underneath the home’s floors. Gradually, the heat will radiate upward into the room, eventually bringing the whole house to the desired temperature.

What Are the Benefits?

There are plenty of benefits of hydronic heating, not the least of which is the fact that the heat can be circulated entirely without the use of a fan. Ductwork tends to accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and allergens. These allergens are then recirculated throughout the home by the fans, leading to all sorts of respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies, and more. A hydronic heating system means no ducts, no fans, and no allergens.

Energy efficiency is another key benefit of this advanced method of home heating. Water tends to lose heat energy more slowly than air does, meaning that it requires less power overall to achieve the same temperature. Chances are, you’ll save a decent amount of money on your energy bill if you make use of hydronic heating in your home.

The other benefit to consider is that of comfort: no one enjoys stepping into a bathroom, for example, only to discover that the floor is ice cold. Hydronic heating avoids this problem entirely, as the heat is radiated directly through the floor. This means the floor itself—and often the surrounding furniture—is kept at a comfortable temperature, rendering your home that much more pleasant during cold nights.

What About the Benefits of Timber Floors?

Timber floors have their own set of benefits that homeowners enjoy taking advantage of. They’re also great for allergy sufferers, as they don’t tend to trap dust and dirt in the same way that carpets do. This also makes them significantly easier to clean than other types of floors. In most cases, simply wiping them down is all you need to do.

Timber floors also enhance the value of a home due to their aesthetic appeal. They are much more attractive to most buyers than other floor types. They can last for many years due to their impressive durability, requiring very little maintenance over time. When they do require repairs or other basic maintenance, it’s often fairly simple to perform. Basic refinishing will do the job without too much cost.

Timber floors are also extremely versatile. Unlike carpeting, which severely limits the decor options in your home, timber floors can be decorated in essentially any way. If you prefer a modern vibe, you can easily achieve that with a hardwood floor. It’s just as easy to opt for something more retro.

Can They Work Together?

Generally, hydronic heating is done through ceramics or another medium that holds heat fairly well. In the past, hydronic heating with timber floors just wasn’t possible, due to the limits of technology. However, technological advances have allowed this method of heating to be installed underneath the wooden floors in your home. When it’s used, the timber flooring is placed directly over some other medium, such as a thin concrete slab, to allow the heat to radiate without damaging the wood.

Note that the thicker the wood, the more difficult it will be for heat to get through. This will directly translate to increased energy costs, which is why it’s a good idea to opt for thinner strips of wood over your heating element. This may mean that your floor needs a little more maintenance than an ordinary hardwood floor.

So How Can I Get Hydronic Heating With Timber Floors?

It’s highly recommended that you find a reputable dealer of hardwood floors, such as Wall 2 Wall. When you work with Wall 2 Wall, you can discuss your preferences with us regarding both heating and flooring. Ask us to inspect your home and offer you a quote. We’ll be able to perform the installation to your exact specifications. If you have a preference when it comes to heating methods and types of hardwood, discuss it with the contractors at Wall 2 Wall.

You can also use Wall 2 Wall for maintenance when your floor requires it. We can also assist with refurbishing and refinishing should the need arise. With years of experience in the business, we’ll work to make you happy with your new floor.

Worker sanding old parquet hardwood floor with sander, preparing for refinishing.

Do You Need Hardwood Floor Refinishing or Restoration Services?

Inevitably, after years of use, hardwood floors can become damaged or lose their luster. This is quite normal, especially in high-traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens. From pets to spills, kids, fire damage, time, and renovations, there are loads of things that can cause your floor to get damaged or appear dull and faded. If your hardwood floor has started to lose its glow or is showing some signs of wear and tear, you can turn to our professionals at Wall 2 Wall in Portland to help restore your floor to its glory, either through restoration or hardwood floor refinishing.

What’s the Difference Between Hardwood Floor Refinishing and Restoration?

Think about refinishing like putting on makeup and restoration like undergoing plastic surgery. You refinish your floor when the finishing on your hardwood floor has begun to fade and lose its color. You restore your hardwood floor when it has some damage to it.

In refinishing, the floor is stripped and sanded to remove the dull or scratched finish that’s making your home look dingy. Then the floor is stained and coated with fresh layers of finish, giving it a brand-new look. This can take about three to five days to complete, but a quality refinishing job lasts for years.

For hardwood floor restoration, you need professionals who truly understand your floor and how to repair it. Damage might be due to pet stains, scratches, water stains, cracks, or buckling. If you complete any renovation in your house, there’s a chance that could also cause some damage to your floor. While hardwood restoration takes longer and is more expensive than refinishing, it lasts longer and fixes deeper levels of wear. At Wall 2 Wall, we can get your hardwood floor looking just as good as if you just set it.

When Does My Hardwood Floor Need Finishing or Restoration?

Now that you know the difference between refinishing and restoration services in Portland, you can spend some time considering which would be best for your floors. What issue are you having with your hardwood floors?

My floors look dingy and dull

If your hardwood floors are starting to look lackluster and dull, it’s likely time to refinish them and get them popping and glowing again. Areas with heavier foot traffic can cause more wear. Spots that receive higher exposure to sunlight are likely to have color irregularities. Sometimes, a change in the color of your hardwood floor can be a sign of deeper damage. For example, if your hardwood starts turning gray, it may soon begin to absorb water. The polyurethane in the finishing protects the wood from water damage, and when it wears off, the wood begins to absorb water and turn gray. If your hardwood floor is gray, contact us at Wall 2 Wall for refinishing

There are scratches all over my hardwood floors

If you have pets, you can probably particularly relate to this. Pets, especially large dogs, can scratch or gouge your floor, leaving it damaged. You may also have scratches caused by moving furniture. If the damage is minimal, refinishing might be all you need. If the scratches are deeper, restoration might be necessary.

I want to increase my home’s resale value

Ask any realtor or real estate agent and they’ll tell you—refinishing or restoring the hardwood floors in your home can increase its resale value significantly. When you refinish your floors professionally, your home will look brand new and more attractive to buyers. A 2013 survey revealed that 99 percent of real estate agents believe hardwood floors make homes easier to sell.

My floors have water damage

Water is one of the biggest enemies of hardwood floors, but Wall 2 Wall in Portland can fix it. If you’re not sure whether your hardwood floor has suffered water damage, there’s a great way you can test it. Pour a spoon of water on your floor and check to see if it sits on the floor or gets absorbed. If the water just sits on the floor, you’re safe and you can just wipe it off. However, if the water is absorbed into your hardwood floors, then you need to call us in as soon as possible.The

color of your hardwood floors can also be an indicator of water damage. If you have hardwood floors that have turned black, your floors are in grave danger, and you need help from professionals.

I haven’t refinished my hardwood floors in years

Apart from regular maintenance, you need to refinish or restore your hardwood floors periodically so they have the same great look and strength. We recommend refinishing your hardwood floors at least once every seven years. If you have a particularly old house, you might need to replace your floor entirely.

My floors are warped

Moisture damage can cause your hardwood floors to start warping or cupping. When this happens, the planks may begin to separate or the edges of the wooden boards can start turning upward. Warped hardwood floors are a sure sign that you need to refinish or restore your floors.

My floorboards are creaky

If your hardwood floor creaks when you walk on it, it’s definitely a sign that you need to get it checked. While it is sometimes nothing to worry about, it can also be a sign that the structural integrity of your floors has been compromised. If your floorboards move, that can also be a sign of water damage.

I want to give my house a new look

When we refinish hardwood floors, we give your house a whole new look. You even get to pick a new color for your hardwood floors and change the style of your house entirely. Hardwood floor refinishing isn’t always about repairing damage—sometimes, it’s just about sprucing the house up a little. You can pick from the basic levels of hardwood floor finishes—matte, satin, semi-gloss, or glossy.

If you have hardwood floors, you need to take care of them so they keep that stunning glow that made you love them in the first place. You can take care of your hardwood floors yourself by following these five maintenance tips. However, at the end of the day, you need to leave some things up to the professionals. Our experts are experienced, thorough, and always happy to answer your questions and provide restoration or hardwood floor refinishing in Portland. Give us a call at Wall 2 Wall, and we’ll show your hardwood floors some TLC.

Four-poster bed in bedroom with wood floors and rugs and blue paneling, decorated in blues.

5 Options When Your Hardwood Floor Is Cold

Your beautiful hardwood floors have been installed and they look lovely. They’re easy to clean, easy to maintain, and make your house look like a home. However, you may have installed these floors in the summer and didn’t think about what they would be like in the winter.

What may be pleasantly cool in the summer may be uncomfortable in the winter. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it is an annoyance. There may be more than one factor at play here as well, so you might have to approach this problem from multiple angles.

At Wall 2 Wall, we are experts in hardwood flooring and have some tips to help keep your home comfortable. Here are five practical options for you when your hardwood floor is cold.

1. Rugs

Putting a rug down under any heavy furniture is a good idea anyway. This way, the feet of your bed, the legs of chairs, and the bottoms of dressers won’t leave scratches or marks on your hardwood. Check out small rugs that can make a path from your bedside to the bathroom, rugs that brighten up an entryway or a hallway, or rugs that pop as a color accent for your living room or den. This won’t fix any issues with your floors themselves but will make your feet a lot more comfortable. And it may be all you need to get you through the coldest months.

If you find the perfect fabric or mat that you’d like to make into a rug, make sure it has a non-slip back. You can easily pick up a non-slip rug pad or make your own by breaking out your hot glue gun.

2. Insulation

If your home is older or if you haven’t thought about your attic insulation very often in the years since you moved in, updating the insulation could be a game-changer in many ways. For starters, it’ll help keep the heat your furnace produces from escaping through your roof. Maintaining that heated air will warm your entire home and help keep the chill of your hardwood floors.

Insulation doesn’t only keep your home warm in the winter—it also keeps your home cool in the summer by insulating against the sun beating down on your house. Making sure your insulation is in good order will make the ambient temperature in your home more comfortable no matter what weather you experience. There is also the added benefit that good insulation will also save you some money as your home becomes more energy efficient.

Also, if you have a vented crawl space in your attic or your basement, make sure those areas are well insulated as well. This will prevent cold air from entering and flowing through your vents. However, do not seal these vents if you have water leaks or other sources of moisture in these spaces. You don’t want to trap the moisture in because that will lead to mold and mildew. Call a professional for assistance.

3. Weatherproof

If you notice that your hardwood floors are cold only in particular areas or in specific rooms, it could be that you simply have an air circulation or a weatherproofing issue. One thing you could do to solve this issue is purchase air deflectors. These are plastic devices you can attach to your heating grates. The warm air will deflect to the areas that need them most, instead of losing the heat against the wall or right out a window.

Maybe you’ve put a piece of furniture over one of these vents. In the summer, it may not matter much, but in the winter, maybe the heat is being lost in a cabinet or side table or under a chair or behind a couch. Walk around barefoot on one of those chilly days and see if you could benefit from this quick and easy addition to your heating vents.

Speaking of windows, since heat vents and registers are often placed right below windows you want to make sure your heat isn’t simply being sucked out through your windows. If your windows are older or not weatherproofed, they could be losing heat easily. Make sure your weatherproofing is in good shape and not dried or cracked. You can also put plastic over your windows during the coldest months to keep the warm air in and cold air out.

4. Turn on Your Ceiling Fan

This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear us out. Warm air rises and cold air sinks. But even the tallest of us can’t enjoy the warm air that’s sitting on the ceiling. Here’s a trick you can use all winter long. Most ceiling fans have a switch that will turn your fan to run in reverse—it’s usually located just below the blades. This function will create an updraft. The warm air that has risen to the ceiling will be pushed back down toward the floor. Your rooms will all be warmer, and your floors won’t be as chilly. Make sure that your fan is on the lowest setting—this works best with a gentle breeze.

This is something you can add to your annual winterizing list and then turn it back to the regular setting when the weather turns warm again. If you’re unsure if your fan is running the correct direction for the temperature you want, just know that “forward” is counter-clockwise (for cold) and “reverse” is clockwise (for warm).

5. A Smart Thermostat

Cranking the heat up to 80 degrees in the midwinter won’t solve your cold floor problem. In fact, it may not warm up your floors at all and actually cause some other problems. Natural wood flooring reacts to the humidity in its environment and can change shape depending on the moisture in the air. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to a damp climate most of the year. When you turn the heat up for days on end, the natural humidity in the air gets cooked out and the air becomes very dry. This is when you are most likely to see floorboards that warp or cup.

Fixing a floor that is warped or is cupping is as easy as restoring balance within your home, either by turning the heat down or by using a humidifier. But prolonged dryness or moisture could cause permanent damage

Part of this can be mitigated with a smart thermostat. Look for the kind that offers zoned heating. This breaks your home into areas that need higher temperatures and those that don’t so you don’t have the unpleasant experience of walking into one room into a wall of heat while freezing in the next room over.

Hand vacuuming hardwood floor.

5 Tips to Help You Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a beautiful look and upscale feel to a home. A newly installed hardwood floor or recently renovated hardwood floor, however, is a costly investment in your property, and it requires some extra care when considering how to clean and maintain it. Whether you have installed solid wood, engineered wood, or even reclaimed wood flooring, the maintenance of your wood floors will be similar. Regular cleanings and upkeep will keep your hardwood floors looking pristine and add years of life to your home investment.

Each season brings different obstacles for your hardwood floors. During the winter months, you will be battling ice melt that gets tracked in on shoes and furry paws. Ice melt can eat away at unprotected wood flooring, and it should be removed promptly. The fall and spring months are wetter, and with family and friends tracking in wet leaves and mud, your wood floors will need to be regularly dried to prevent warping and mildew buildup. During the summer months, you may battle dripping swimsuits loaded with chlorine and saltwater after a day at the beach or pool, and that chlorinated or salty water will need to be cleaned up regularly to help maintain hardwood floors.

The experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors offer some pro tips on how to keep your hardwood floors healthy and lasting for years to come.

1. Dry Mop and Vacuum Hardwood Floors Weekly

Leaving dirt that is carried in on shoes and furry paws on a hardwood floor can cause unwanted scratches. The debris acts as sandpaper, and as it’s walked on and spread across the hardwood floors, it will cause scratches that build up over time to make your floor look dull and scuffed up. By dry-mopping your floors weekly, you can prolong the bright glow of your hardwood floor. You can sweep with a traditional broom or, even better, use a microfiber cloth that will cling to the debris and remove any dust and allergens more easily.

Weekly vacuuming is important as well, as the suction can help remove the debris that has built up in between the floorboards. When using a vacuum on your hardwood floors, make sure to put the vacuum on the hard floor setting, which will switch off the bristles so they don’t scratch up your floors as you push the vacuum across the floor. Alternatively, you can use the non-bristle attachment that is meant for hardwood floors if your vacuum comes with one.

2. Clean Wood Floors With Wood Floor Cleaner Monthly

Dry mopping and vacuuming your floors are great ways to remove dust, but there is also debris buildup that happens over time that can slowly eat away at your hardwood floors. Cleaning your hardwood floors regularly with a wood cleaner recommended by your flooring manufacturer is an important step in keeping your wood floors in great shape.

Not all wood floor cleaners are meant for all hardwood floors. Depending on the finish on your flooring, your floors may require a certain type of cleaner. Check with your manufacturer to determine which is best to use on your floor. Most hardwood floors will do best with a floor cleaner that has a neutral pH. It is best to avoid floor cleaners with harsh chemicals when cleaning any type of hardwood floor.

When you have found the right cleaning product for your floors, make sure to use a damp cloth or mop to clean the floors, and avoid using too much water. Using too much water can cause your floorboards to warp and bow. Also, avoid steam cleaning your wood floors for the same reasons, as it can make your wood floorboards swell and cup.

3. Wipe Up Spills Immediately

Wood floors are very reactive to moisture, and so if there is a spill on your hardwood floor, it’s recommended to wipe up any wet spill quickly. Leaving moisture on a hardwood floor will cause the wood floorboards to swell, and they could warp and become misshapen over time, causing potential tripping hazards and unsightly warped flooring. Leaving wet spills on hardwood floors can also cause staining that can be difficult to remove.

To effectively clean up any wet spill on your hardwood floors, it’s best to use a dry or slightly damp cloth to wipe up the spill right away. This will avoid any moisture leaking in between the floorboards or into the wood, which will avoid any potential for swelling floorboards from the spill.

4. Use Furniture Pads on Furniture and Trim Pets’ Nails Regularly

Scratches can be difficult to remove once they are found on your hardwood floors. To maintain the good condition hardwood floors, it is recommended to use furniture pads on the bottoms of your chairs and heavy furniture. If the furniture is on the heavier side, it’s best to use a wider furniture pad to help spread out the weight. Consider attaching the furniture pads to your chairs, couches, tables, and any furniture that may be heavy or that you may move across the floor regularly.

Your pets’ nails can also cause scuffs and scratches on your hardwood floors. Keep your pets’ nails trimmed to avoid unwanted wear and tear on your hardwood floors.

5. Polish or Wax Your Hardwood Floors Twice a Year

Polishing your hardwood floors can help add a sheen to the wood and can also help extend the life of your flooring, making it a worthy task. Before polishing your floors, it’s a good idea to first dry mop the floor to remove any dust or debris. It’s also a good idea to vacuum your hardwood floors to remove any debris that may have built up between the floorboards. When choosing a floor polish, make sure it is a water-based polish to avoid any harsh chemical buildup.

If you are looking to refinish your hardwood floors or are interested in the installation or restoration of hardwood floors, contact the hardwood floor experts at Wall 2 Wall Hardwood.

Black and white great Dane sleeping on dog bed on bamboo hardwood flooring.

What Are the Best Hardwood Floors for Pets?

Is your home pet-friendly? This is an important thing to think about before getting a pet, choosing a home to buy, or making changes to your current home. One thing you need to pay close attention to is the type of flooring. Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for pet owners, as it is much easier to clean pet accidents off of than carpet. But some hardwood floor types are better for homes with pets running around than others.

Before getting into the exact types of woods that you should choose, it’s important to note that softwoods, such as pine or fir, are not good choices for houses with pets. This is because they won’t stand a chance against claw marks from dogs or cats, as they are too soft. Because of this, much harder species of wood are the only types that should be considered. That means that the higher its Janka rating, the better is for a house with pets. If you don’t know, the Janka hardness test measures the resistance and durability of wood. The higher the score of the wood on the Janka scale, the stronger it is.

In addition to choosing a hard, scratch-resistant flooring, you want to also look for pre-finished wood floors that are sealed and stained in the factory. Matte and satin finishes will hide scratches from claw marks much better than a glossy finish will.

Now that you have some background information, here are the best hardwood floors for pets.

Brazilian Walnut or Ipe

With a Janka rating of 3680, Brazilian walnut, or ipe, is very durable. In fact, many exotic kinds of wood have high Janka ratings, just like the Brazilian walnut. This wood is so strong that it is even used as an outdoor flooring option. Another thing that makes it one of the best hardwood floor options for pets is that it is relatively moisture-proof. This means that any pet accidents that may happen won’t cause any immediate damage to the flooring.

Oak

Oak may be one of the most common types of flooring in the world, and that is for good reason. With a Janka rating at about 1300, it puts it right in the middle of the scale—not the strongest but definitely durable. In fact, oak is actually the industry standard for hardiness. As it is very easily available and it is hard enough to withstand pets, it is a great option.

There are two different options if you’re choosing oak floors, and those are red or white. The red variety has a warmer color with undertones of red, pink, or rust. Additionally, it has a lot of grain variation and character. The white variety is much cooler, with undertones of grey-green colors. This appears much smoother and more uniform, and it has much less variation.

Hickory

If you want something just as popular as oak but a little stronger, hickory may be the choice for you, as its Janka score is 1820. Hickory is known for its strong character, which can add a beautiful aesthetic to any home. This is thanks to its color and all of its details.

Santos Mahogany

Santos mahogany is another exotic wood. Its Janka rating of about 2200 makes it very durable—more durable than both oak and hickory. Santos mahogany is quite popular despite its exoticness. It is a deeper, darker color, which could easily help make other aspects of your home pop.

Maple

Did you know that maple is the wood used on basketball courts? That’s how strong it is! If professional athletes can run and sweat on it with minimal damage, it should be reassuring to you that maple floors can survive well against your pets. Maple’s Janka rating is 1450, showing how strong it is. This wood is very pale. With its light color, you may see some more paw marks than with other woods, but that is very easy to clean (and doesn’t lead to any permanent damage).

With all of the different varieties of maple, it’s important to make sure you are asking for a “hard” maple rather than just maple. Typically, hard maple types of flooring are called either rock maple or sugar maple.

Bamboo

Yes, bamboo is technically classified as grass and not wood, but in the flooring industry, it is often considered wood and even has a Janka rating. Bamboo is naturally strong and can be made even stronger thanks to technology. For instance, non-carbonized, strand-woven bamboo flooring can reach Janka scores of over 3000. There is also engineered bamboo flooring that is cheaper and that can be just as durable.

As you can see, there are several best hardwood floors for pets. This means that if you are thinking of getting a pet and are worrying about it destroying your floors, you don’t need to worry at all. Or if you already have a pet and are looking for a new home or new flooring for your current home, there are several options of flooring you can look out for and choose from.

Of course, one of the most important factors in the durability and longevity of a hardwood floor is correct installation. Because of this, we recommend choosing a professional hardwood flooring company like Wall 2 Wall Hardwood Floors. We can come into your home, take a look at the space, meet your pets, and provide you with a personalized recommendation as to which of the above-mentioned woods would fit best with your home, your lifestyle, and your budget. We can then take care of the entire installation process for you, as our team of experts is trained to get the job right, in both a timely and professional manner. If you are ready to install the best hardwood floors for pets in your home, contact us today.

Yorkshire terrier sitting on hardwood flooring in home.

5 Benefits of Hardwood Flooring in Portland Oregon

There isn’t much that’s homier or more inviting than walking into a space that has hardwood flooring. There is an instant sense of being connected to nature, and there are numerous benefits to having hardwood flooring installed, some that are based on aesthetics and durability and some that are more in line with health benefits and decreased chemical exposure. And let’s not forget that having hardwood floors can also be regarded as a long-term investment in the home’s overall value. Here are the top five benefits of having hardwood flooring in your Portland, Oregon, home.

1. There Are Many Varieties of Wood

If it’s your first time considering the installation of hardwood in your home, you might be surprised to learn just how many options you have. While there are numerous species of trees in the wild, not all are ideal for use as flooring material in homes. That said, the selection you will have to choose from is quite large, and the first thing you’ll want to decide on is the color of wood you would like under your feet.

Considering your budget and what is available to you, you will be able to select a wood that appeals to both your personal taste and what supports your pocketbook. Down the road, you can also opt to stain the wood floors should you desire a change in color, and you can even mix-and-match wood types in order to mix up the aesthetic at home.

These are just a few of the wood types available:

  • Teak
  • Hickory
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Cypress
  • Tigerwood
  • Red oak
  • White oak
  • Mahogany

Depending on the design you have in mind for your home, you may discover that one wood type works better in the living room, dining room, and kitchen, while there’s another that goes better in the bedrooms. Due to the fact that each plank has different lines and shades, adding wood flooring to your home will always give your home a unique look and feel.

2. Wood Provides a Cleaner, Healthier Environment

Unlike carpet (which collects dust and spores and can provide a breeding ground for small parasites like fleas), hardwood flooring won’t trap allergens or dander. It doesn’t cater to mold or other annoying or harmful microscopic particles that undermine the health and well-being of the residents of the house. Having wood floors allows anything that does fall, such as hairs and dust, to be easily cleaned, and it keeps the air cleaner than that of a home with carpet.

This is especially true for families with babies and small children. Babies spend the majority of their time crawling on the floor, and having wood floors keeps young children much healthier. With carpets, babies are subject to more respiratory disruption (by way of dander, dust, allergens, and even chemical exposure through the microfibers of the carpet and the color treatment), which can negatively impact their long-term health. Woods offer a healthier and more natural environment on which to crawl, play, and live. Wood is a non-toxic material that is also easier to clean, and more natural products can be used to keep woods looking their best.

3. Laying Down Wood Floors Is a Long-Term Investment

As with anything new, the better you take care of it, the longer it will last. Right off the bat, wood floors add an appealing look and feel to a home, but it is also a stronger and more durable material. When taken care of properly and consistently, you’re looking at increasing and maintaining the value of the house or apartment.

One of the key things to consider when selecting which type of wood to put in the home is your budget. What can you afford to put in and what can you afford to care for over time? Just like there are different colors and types of wood, there are varying options for every budget. Choosing the right wood for your home is both an intentional and invaluable investment in the home’s long-term worth and resale value. Homes that have wood floors tend to sell faster, and the perception around wood floors is generally a more positive one.

4. Wood Floors Last Longer

If you’ve ever seen faux wood floors or laminate, it’s likely that you’ve noticed the marks and dings in the surface covering. In theory, wood floors can develop nicks in the material, but the restoration of real wood floors is much easier than that replacing laminate or carpet. There is no need to rip out a whole section because there’s a small area of damage. Wood floors are remarkably durable.

Even as wood ages, it does so gracefully. The look stays strong, and even though you might choose to have it refinished and given an extra sheen, the strength and quality remain, even if the initial shine fades away. Wood flooring comes from nature, so it’s both of organic origin and has survived the test of time. If you’re looking for a way to build your Portland, Oregon, home more sustainably, hardwood flooring is the way to go.

5. It Is Easy to Install

As with anything that you want done well, it’s important to hire a trained and qualified professional. Because of the nature of laying planks properly and tightly, commissioning professionals like Wall 2 Wall Construction and Restoration can make all the difference in your construction experience and the finished look of the project. Once the hardwood floors are in, it’s important to keep them in good shape through regular cleaning and wiping up water spills so the wood stays strong and dry and can continue to bring together the look of your home.

For any of your Portland, Oregon, hardwood flooring questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Wall 2 Wall.

Wavy hardwood floor that is sun bleached and traffic worn.

What Does It Mean If a Hardwood Floor Is Wavy

You love the classic, beautiful look and feel of having a hardwood floor in your home. But what happens when you look down one day and see that your hardwood floor appears to be … wavy? Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon problem. Read on to find out more about this issue, including why it’s happening and what can be done to fix it.

What Causes a Hardwood Floor to Look Wavy?

There are two kinds of damage that can make your floor appear wavy. They are known as warping and cupping.

In either case, this damage is because of humidity or moisture or just related to water in general. Sometimes, this happens because of a shift in weather, perhaps due to the seasons changing. Other times, it’s due to excess water or humidity.

This is because hardwood floors are very sensitive to water. Wood is a hygroscopic material, so your floors absorb water, which leads to problems.

The longer the problem causing hardwood floors to look wavy goes on, the worse the damage will be. Once water damage starts, it unfortunately doesn’t take much for it to spread quite fast. And this also means that any necessary repairs will likely cost more as well. That’s why it pays to be aware of how your flooring, as well as your home in general, is holding up.

Too much moisture doesn’t just make the hardwood floor wavy. And this damage isn’t a problem just for the look of your home. It can also be a safety hazard that affects the health of the occupants of your home. The absorption of moisture can also allow mold and bacteria to grow. Like the water damage, these hazards also spread quite fast. And because of what happens to the floors with cupping and warping, it can even cause people to trip.

What Is Cupping? And Why Does It Happen?

Cupping is a somewhat common type of floor damage that is also known as wash boarding.

As you may have guessed from the name, cupping is when the edges of the planks that make up your hardwood floor curl up. This happens because the hardwood can swell when it absorbs too much moisture. In turn, as the edges rise up, the middle of the plank sinks down. So it takes on a sort of cup shape. And that shape creates the wavy floor appearance that causes your concern.

As explained above, the reason for this damage is related to water. With cupping in particular, it’s usually due to an imbalance of moisture. And, typically, the imbalance is that the bottom of the floor has more moisture than the top.

What causes such a moisture imbalance? One reason could be if the air in your home is especially dry. This can happen in the winter or as the result of air conditioning in the summer. It could also happen if there is any moisture trapped under the floor.

If My Floor Is Cupping, What Can I Do to Fix This Problem?

Cupping is actually a milder form of floor damage, even if it might not look it. Extreme cases aside, it is usually fixable and/or reversible. This means that unless you want to, you would likely not have to install a completely new floor.

Often, the way to fix this damage is simple. You just have to figure out the right moisture balance to help things go back to normal. But don’t expect a big change overnight. Moisture movement can sometimes take a little while, so stay patient.

The other important thing to do is to take steps that could prevent cupping from happening again in the future. This means you should be more aware of moisture balance going forward. For instance, you may need to tweak how often you run heating and cooling units or humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

How Is Warping Different Than Cupping?

Warping, which can also be known as buckling, is a more serious type of damage than cupping. Like cupping, the damage happens because of how the wood absorbs moisture. In this case, the moisture usually comes from beneath the floor. The excess water could be due to a leak or flooding.

In some cases, the hardwood pulls away from the floor. When the damage is severe, it can even pull up a few inches.

How Do I Fix Minor Warping?

Like with cupping, the key to fixing the floor is to restore balance with the moisture. Because the moisture beneath the floor can cause so much damage, having a dehumidifier in the basement can help fix the problem. Or it can even prevent it from happening in the first place. As with cupping, keep in mind that the damage will not be reversed right away.

How Do I Make Sure My Wavy Hardwood Floor Are Not Too Far Gone to Save?

Hopefully, you will catch the signs of water damage to your hardwood floor early enough to save it. Here at Wall 2 Wall, we have plenty of experience with water-damaged hardwood floors. For the simplest, repair contact us as soon as you notice that damage.

Whether you need a hardwood repair or to install a new hardwood floor, make sure you go with the best. No matter the extent of the damage, at Wall 2 Wall, we will find a way to restore your hardwood floor. Because of our expertise, we will know whether to restore the boards, replace them, or do a mix of both. You can also count on a reasonable rate for our expert work.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, contact our experts here at Wall 2 Wall. You can find more information on Wall 2 Wall on our website. You can trust that we are your absolute best choice when it comes to working with hardwood floors in Portland, Oregon. Check out our gallery of work on our website and fill out the online form to get a free estimate today.