Tag Archives: Hardwood Floor Restoration

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.

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.

Hardwood flooring with multicolored confetti.

Hardwood Floor Restoration and 5 More Home Upgrades for 2021

A new year is a time for a fresh start and to leave the past behind us. Out with the old, in with the new, right? As we wrap up 2020, many of us have never been more ready for that new start. If you’re looking for ways to spruce things up in 2021, a home upgrade could be just the thing to kick off the new year the right way.

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