Simple ways to protect your hardwood floors from scratches
Hardwood timber flooring has long been a classic home feature because of the sense of warmth and character it brings. Each type of hardwood brings its own elegance and uniqueness.
Hardwood is a timeless choice and when cared for properly can last a lifetime.
Although its inevitable hardwood floors will take extra effort in cleaning and protecting, they’re certainly worth the trouble. With any home though hardwood timber flooring is prone to accumulated wear and tear. Complete floor restorations can be expensive and you want to conserve your investment for as long as possible.
The potential for damage is high without the proper steps and precautions.
Initial steps when designing your home to prevent the inclusion of dust, dirt and other particles can help to reduce floor damage.
For instance a tiled mudroom or entrance area with built in benches for storing shoes will minimise the amount of unwanted particles spreading throughout your floor spaces.
Other factors are pets…
Dog claws will mark and scratch the floorboards easily. If your beloved family pet is indoors, make sure to regularly trim back its paws, and provide rugs or beds for them to lie on.
If you are one to care and protect your hardwood floors but not quite sure what to do, then these simple tasks broken down into 3 main categories can help you protect them for many years to come.
Protecting Your Timber Floors From Moisture
Common home cleaning practices involve running the mop over to pick up small amounts of grime.
For vinyl, tiles and other types of hard flooring this is a quick and easy method.
Unfortunately for hardwood flooring whilst it would be quick and easy also, the process will actually damage your hardwood floors.
Obviously during mopping, your using water which can seep into the hardwood fibres.
This in turn will eventually warp, twist and swell over time potentially damaging the floorboards permanently.
Other considerations for moisture control include design choices and placement of hardwood flooring.
High moisture areas including bathrooms, laundry’s and ensuite’s are not suitable for hardwood floors however it’s very popular to see kitchens and entry ways with this flooring.
Excess water from your sink, dishwasher and other appliances can seep into the floorboards.
Water can also track into the grains of the timber at entry ways from people entering with wet shoes.
Where hardwood flooring is used in kitchen or entryways, try to place down rubber mats or other moisture absorbing types.
Considering placing shoe racks at the entryways to reduce the spread of moisture when walking through your home.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors Without Damaging Them
As previously mentioned, never use wet mop to clean or scrub down the surface.
Where heavy grime exists, use dry cleaning methods followed by light mopping quickly followed by a drying off process with towels or other moisture absorbing materials.
Other methods of cleaning include:
- Rolling up rugs and area coverings before taking to outdoor areas to shake off and vacuum.
- Sweep high traffic areas regularly with a soft bristled broom followed by a electrostatic mop to pick up light dust particles.
Small dust particles, dirt and other types of debris can scratch, dent and mark wood floors when they’re stepped on.
- Vacuum the floor on a regular basis with a hardwood flooring specific vacuum cleaner.
There are typically two types of vacuum cleaner heads…types for carpet and types for hardwood floors.
Make sure to use the hardwood flooring attachment as its designed to be more gentler on wood floor boards.
- Try to avoid using cleaning agents or products.
Whilst there are many products claiming to be safe for hardwood floors, many of them can actually cause harm to the surface if used repeatedly.
The reason being they tend to eat at or strip away the top coating and turn the finish shine dull.
Seek professional help from our team at Freedom Flooring is your unsure what types of cleaning products are suitable for your hardwood floors.
Protect From Furniture
The source of your hardwood floor damage will mostly be contributed by furniture and daily use.
For instance furniture tends to be heavy and can move around on the floor boards. This leads to deep scratches and dents.
When moving furniture around, be sure to lift them completely up trying not to slide them. A tip here is to use towels or any other soft material under the furniture feet.
For large spaces such as dining and living room, consider using rugs or floor runners. They add character and style, segment the space from other rooms, whilst protecting your floors in high use areas.
When choosing rugs and floor coverings, consider natural rubber or felt underlined.
It’s highly recommended to place felt pads on the bottom of chairs, sofas, and tables to help eliminate scratches and scuff marks that can occur when furniture is being used.
Felt or natural rubber pads can be purchased in stick-on versions or tap-in style, and they’re an easy and inexpensive method to help protect your floors. For office spaces, also consider using rubber mats for computer chairs to sit on. Castor wheels can damage hardwood floors from the constant movements the wheels make.
So What Types Of Furniture Protection Is Available
A popular form of chair leg protection is the furniture pad. Put simply, these are pads made of different types of material that are put on the bottoms of your chair legs.
There are different types of furniture pads, each offering different levels of cost and protection.
These types of pads offer high levels of floor protections, as they’re very secure since they are attached to the furniture leg with either a small nail or staple.
Care should be used with the installation of tap-on/staple pads though, because if they’re not properly installed, the nail or staple may be exposed to harm your floor.
Perhaps the most common, these are peel and stick pads that can be found at any hardware store.
They are typically made of felt or rubber and are the least expensive.
The downside is they tend to peel of after some time as the adhesive bond is reduced.
DIY solutions can be used for this style. With the use of a hot glue gun, felt, carpet cut-offs, leather and other soft material can be attached.
Felt Pads – While felt furniture pads can be bought in store, any thick felt material will do the job. Cut the felt into the correct size and glue on.
Towels – Old towels can be cut into pads, making sure they are of appropriate thickness.
Leather – Leather is another soft, durable material that can be cut to size and made into a good furniture pad.
These rubber, or material pads are typically custom made to fit over a chair leg.
The most expensive option of the three, but the long term benefits are they wont have a problem of falling off like a self-adhesive pad or have the potential to scratch your floor like a poorly installed tap-on/staple pad.
Here are some DIY solutions for that can help if you have these materials lying around.
Regardless of which type of pad you buy or make, make sure that your furniture is level on the floor. If it’s not, it can scratch the finish or make gouges on your floors.
So that’s our guide to protecting your hardwood floors from damage.
These simple steps should go a long way in making sure your hardwood floors look pristine for many years to come.
Satin or matte floor finish – What type of gloss level is most stylish?
To many, the choice of floor finish would not be a major factor.
The fact is, depending on your lighting and hardwood type, the floor finish can have a great effect on the overall look.
So with that in mind, whilst there are 4 different levels of hardwood floor finish sheens:
Matte, Satin, Semi-gloss and Glossy…
In this article where going to look at the two trending finishes of late – matte vs satin!
So what exactly do we mean by matte or satin finish.
Well the finish is commonly called “sheen level or gloss level” and you can consider this to be how shinny your finished flooring surface is.
Various people make different choices for many reasons.
Typically a sheen or gloss level is measured by how much light is mirrored off the flooring from a particular angle. Standards apply a 60 degree angle as this would be how a person would view the floor whilst standing.
Many considerations need to be taken when choosing your sheen level, however the glossier you go, means extra light will be mirrored off the floors.
It’s crucial to understand that different wood species will certainly produce various sheen levels.
Refined variances in shine level can be the result of differing timber species and the colour tones.
The toughness of the timber surface is not affected with the choice in sheen level, though its more attributed to an aesthetics choice.
Taking a look now at Matte and Satin Finish!
Satin Timber Floor Finishes
With ease of care and a middle ground in having luster, the Satin finish seems to be one of the most popular of late with around 35-40% sheen level.
It will provide the room both a contemporary and also traditional feel.
The surface is easy to tidy. Importantly, satin reveals the scrapes, blemishes as well as the dirt much less. So, it’s less complicated to keep and cleanse, as well as, it has the tendency to look newer much longer.
Spreading the light evenly across the floors, a Satin finish has the unique ability to give off an appearance the floors are new and fresh.
The majority of decorators advise this sheen degree, as well as my greater end clients have the tendency to strongly prefer satin surface. A satin coating is usually used with traditional colours, as well as a smooth structure.
The trend over the last few years has actually been towards reduced gloss finishes as they are extra functional, specifically for households with kids as well as pets. They aid hide the regular damage from strolling, chair movements, toys and high heels.
Here are some examples of satin finished timber floors:
Matte Timber Floor Finishes
A matte coating has little sheen surface around 10-25% luster.
The consensus amongst interior stylists feel that the matte floors look plain with this sort of surface so it would be beneficial to compliment the interior with contrasting tones.
There are exceptions to those that highly prefer this flat coating as it provides a clean and sleek appearance.
Perfect for kids rooms or within high traffic spaces, a matte finish floor will be certainly far better able to conceal scruffs, scratches, dirt and particles. This feature makes maintenance for matte floors extremely low.
A classic style with a little bit of retro, large barn styled planks with a matte finish is a best example of an application that functions perfectly with this sort of wood floor finish.
A matte coating is additionally a great means of accomplishing a classic, high build flawless floors bringing out the natural beauty such as the casual refinement of Scandinavian styled floor covering.
When a flooring is purposely wire-brushed or painted for a lets say a retro finish, this coating is nearly always used as it would reflect minimal amounts of light.
Ultimately if you desire a hardwood floor that will stay looking new and fresh much longer and is very easy to keep clean or perhaps not show up scratches, then consider a matte surface finish for your floors.
Here are some examples of matte finished timber floors.
So what to do if your floors are putting off too much light or showing up scratches?
The excellent news is that you could generally do a sand and re-coat to change the luster level of your floor.
Satin is by far the preferred option for the Newcastle area. The majority of our customers particularly ask for this surface finish.
Freedom Flooring finds this easiest to do if you have strong hardwood flooring boards in great shape.
We can take a small layer off your boards during the sanding process to bring the boards back to a natural surface, then apply our preferred Satin or Matte coating.
For more information, please contact us via clicking on the image below.
Tips to drying out your hardwood floors after water damage
Polished hardwood timber flooring provides a classic and sophisticated look to any home. A beautiful and elegant hardwood floor can easily become ruined in the event of water inundation.
It would be normal for many to consider their hardwood timber flooring damaged beyond repair and in need of replacement after such water damage, but the fact is by taking the necessary steps early on you can eliminate the need to replace them.
Taking to the task of cleaning up the water and drying out the floors can drastically help decrease the chance of cupping.
Cupping is formed when there is a moisture imbalance across the profile of the timber boards. Moisture in the air from humidity is absorbed into the timber and the floor boards will swell and contract as the moisture level changes.
When there is an excessive amount of water laying on top of the boards, there is a real chance the boards will swell to a point that they crush each other causing them to deform and cup at the edges.
So whether you have a major flood or just experience a localised water spill from say a failed washing machine or dishwater, the need for a quick response using our below tips is paramount.
If you think your floors can be dried out and refreshed rather than having to replace them, then there is special drying equipment that forces airflow around and through the surface of the floor to release moisture.
There are several steps that need to be followed in order to dry out re-use the original hardwood boards.
Types of hardwood timber flooring that can be dried and repaired
Most common hardwood floor boards can be dried, sanded and recoated.
These types of boards are solid natural timber that have a natural moisture content. These can vary between types of timber, however the fact remains they can accept some level of water before being permanently damaged.
The types of timber flooring that typically cannot be dried out and repaired are engineered and laminate boards.
Engineered floor boards have layers of plywood with a top layer of hardwood. The plywood will eventually swell and rot when exposed to large amounts of water.
Laminate flooring is simply a covering that will bubble and distort.
Ok so our recommended steps for drying out your hardwood floors:
1. Remove all items from the water effected rooms
Furniture and rugs will soak up water and retain the moisture until dry.
The moisture will seep into the boards, so you’ll need to remove all furniture items and rugs as soon as possible.
Getting access to all surface areas will allow a complete and thorough drying process.
2. Mop up excess water laying in low areas
Remove all excess water laying in low spots. Depending on the amount of stagnate water you can use a mop or a proper wet vacuum.
The next stage is to scrub down the entire floor surface to remove any contaminates. So be sure to remove as much as the flood water as possible.
3. Scrub down the entire floor surface
Cleaning the floor surface will remove any contaminates from the flood water that may cause damage at a later stage.
Contaminants can sit in the pours of the timber and be trapped causing mould to develop.
Wash down and scrub the floor surface with a mould removal based disinfectant solution to remove all contaminants.
After cleaning the entire hardwood floor surface, mop and/or wet vacuum the area making sure to remove all traces of moisture.
4. Completely dry out the timber flooring
As we’ve already covered, hardwood timber is specifically susceptible to mould growth when the moisture content is abnormal. It’s therefore important to ensure the hardwood floor boards and floor structure are completely dry.
The most efficient system at drying out the floors is one by using a commercial dehumidifier and blowers and large fans.
The dehumidifier sits in the centre of the room/s whilst the fans pointed at the floor boards directs airflow around which boosts the efficiency of the dehumidifier.
Leave this system setup for 24 – 48 hours.
To allow the dehumidifier to extract the moisture, make sure to open windows only in dry weather conditions.
5. Inspect for damage and mould
Only once the floors are completely dry can you check for damage and mould growth.
If the water was left lying on the floor boards for too long, they would have swell and cupped after a couple of days drying out.
Check all boards for cracks, swelling and cupping.
If there are signs of damage, then you’ll need to make a decision on whether you replace the individual boards or replace an entire section.
Check for and spots or signs of mould growth.
A close inspection hopefully will reveal no signs of mould, however if there is suspected mould growth now is the time to have it removed.
Clean the affected areas with a mould release agent and roll back over the steps for drying out the surface with the dehumidifier.
6. Check for signs of moisture
When all areas have been checked for damage and mould growth, and you’re happy with the results, now you can take a moisture level test in various different spots.
Make sure to check many areas to give an accurate reading of the moisture levels.
You should aim to have the moisture levels below the natural moisture content level of the timber.
7. Sand & re-coat the entire hardwood flooring surface
After completing the exhaustive steps for drying out the hardwood floors, you now can have them sanded, re coated and polished to bring them back to a beautiful and elegant finish.
Freedom Flooring are specialists in hardwood floor restoration. Our sanding and re-coating process can have your water damaged floors brought back to their original elegant look.
No job is too big or too small, so give us a call or contact us via the enquiry form.
Authentic European Oak Hardwood Flooring
Regarded as a hard wearing surface, solid European Oak timber flooring is terrific at dealing with the increased foot traffic and most importantly looks absolutely divine when sanded & polished with a high gloss clear coating. With it’s traditional appeal and charm, European oak is one of the top timber flooring options for designers and architects..
A style that brings the old back to the majestic.
European Oak flooring is provided as either solid oak floorboards or as an engineered oak floor covering. For commercial spaces, the benefit of going with engineered oak flooring is the increased stability that these boards bring. Due to their construction consisting of thin solid oak planks bonded to a base of ply board – gives the boards an increased stability over solid oak boards. The finished product makes the engineered oak floor covering a lot more matched in locations of adjustable humidity – best for heavy traffic areas!
European Oak floors exude high-end quality. If the budget can be stretched, laying an oak floor no matter what environment will only increase the overall value perception of your project. High-quality oak flooring is created to last a lifetime.
If you are looking for a floor that brings character, warmth, and depth to space, the never aging timber will delight the senses.
With a wide range of grain and grade, there is a style that will suit your taste and match the decor of your home. Prime grades offer homes with a high end polished appearance, whilst rustic grades display the timber’s natural knots and grains for a more edgy old school traditional look.
They say first impressions are very important and with many exceptional tones to pick from, it will give off a great appeal to any room.
Minimal Floor Maintenance
European oak flooring is well known for very little maintenance. The occasional cleaning and wiping are all that’s needed to keep your flooring looking beautiful. Of course if your European oak timber boards begin to show signs of decay after age, all you need to do is have the floor boards sanded and polished to bring them back to life again.
You could go at it DIY mode if you understand the steps to sand timber floors or our professionals can take care of the project from start to finish.
European Oak Cleanliness
For general everyday cleaning, dirt and marks can simply be swept or removed. For more major marks, these can frequently be sanded and re coated with your picked finish – leaving no residues of the original mark.
Oak flooring does not emit foul smells and odours like carpet, and spills are far simpler to mop up. European oak is also resistant to fungus and bugs, permitting for a more sanitary home environment and minimizing your maintenance and repair work expenses.
Will European Oak flooring work best for your next project?
When selecting the grade of oak timber, it’s a simple case of asking yourself two questions.
One is whether or not the location of your property is likely going to have fluctuations in temperature and/or prolonged wet weather.
Second of all, whether or not you intend on keeping a raw look and feel to the finished floor.
If you’re perhaps considering engineered oak flooring, what thickness of floorboard is best for your project? The thickness of floorboards you choose can rely on lots of aspects.
If you have got under-floor floor heating, then, normally speaking, you should not set up something thicker than 15mm thick floorboards.
Engineered wood flooring should be able to withstand up to 4 re-sand & polish cycles throughout its lifetime. If you do not have underfloor heating, then any thickness of oak crafted flooring will work for you.
Generally, the thicker the top layer, the additional re-sands you’ll have the ability to do, which obviously suggests it’ll last longer.
So with many different tones and grade, we think European Oak is a floor choice hard to pass up on.
Of course if you need help with making a choice, gives our friendly team at Freedom Flooring a call to discuss.
Leave a comment below and let us know what type of european oak speaks out to you! We love the fantastic aged gray oak flooring.
Going for that calm, timeless french country look!
Whilst the natural and elegant look of hardwood timber flooring can provide an unique and warm feel, there are at times Homeowners with aged hardwood floors experience the creaking and squeaking of the floor boards.
Typically these somewhat annoying sounds are the result of a combination of foundation settling and the drying out of the hardwood flooring.
So what causes squeaky floors anyhow?
Well hardwood has a tendency to shrink & expand depending on the moisture and its density.
When your floorboards have dried out they will shrink and start to rub against each other or even the fixtures i.e. nails or screws.
In some cases the subfloor could have become unstable and also begin to move under different loads.
So in this article, we’re going to look at some variou methods to eliminate those pesky timber floor squeaks.
Whether you have access from above or below, these methods will be suited to most hardwood flooring applications.
Options For Repairing A Squeaky Hardwood Floor
There are two different approaches to consider!
If the hardwood floor is on a timber joist & bearer foundation, over a basement or has any type of crawl space underneath, then it’s best to go below to make the repairs.
If not, then you’ll have no choice but to perform the repairs from above…Which we’ll get to further on.
How to fix squeaky hardwood floors from underneath the sub floor
If the hardwood floor is on a timber joist & bearer foundation, over a basement or has any type of crawl space underneath, then it’s best to go below to make the repairs.
Before searching for the target repair area, prepare yourself first by purchasing some wedges spacers from your local hardware supplies.
These type of wedges from Bunnings will do the trick.
So now you have the wedges, you’ll need someone to assist you.
Once you have made your way to the area of concern, have someone else walk over back & forth on the floor boards, so you can visualise the specific floor boards that are loose.
Hammer a wedge in between the loose floor board and the timber joist.
Other types of timber or plastic shims can be used if required.
To secure the wedge or packing, use builders glue and insert a timber screw through into the joist.
How to fix squeaky hardwood floors from above
When you don’t have access to the floor structure or joists from below, your only option is to perform the repairs from above. The trick here however, is to silence the squeaks without damaging your hardwood floor.
There are some other purpose made products available to secure loose floor boards.
A specific type that can work well in most situations is the counter snap screw. Made in the US, the screws are drilled into the problem boards with a special drill head.
When the head of the screw hits the top of the fixture, the top 1-inch portion of the screw snaps off at the score, leaving 2 inches of the threaded portion of the screw countersunk 1/8 inch below the floor’s surface.
The Counter-Snap screw Kit provides an effective, nearly undetectable way to stop squeaks in hardwood floors.
If your hardwood floor is covered over with carpeting, it may be necessary to peel back the carpet and work from the top and countersink screws and nails into the boards.
In situations where peeling back the carpet will result in leaving it damaged, then the counter snap screw kit has an additional tool that allows for screws to be drill straight through the carpet with catching on the fibres.
There will be a special three-legged depth-control fixture that you will need to position over a joist, then drive in one of the special counter snap screws.
The depth-control tool also doubles as the snap-off tool. Insert the screw head into the slot, then maneuver the depth control tool back and forth until the screw breaks off below the surface.
As the screw head breaks off below the surface, there will be no visible signs of repair on the carpet.
Whilst using one of these repair methods may eliminate your squeaky floor, there is the possibility that new squeaks will arise.
As hardwood floors age and the timber continues to dry out, some squeaks may return and new ones appear…
When presented with squeaky floor boards and your unsure how to repair them, contact Freedom Flooring for a consultation.
Finding a stylish yet functional timber floor that fits in with the aesthetics of your commercial property can be a challenge.
The benefits a hardwood flooring can bring to any commercial space, whether it be an office, restaurant, function centre or even a hotel will improve sustainability and remain in style for many years to come.
Many people tend to overlook timber flooring for commercial properties, due to its perceived initial expense outlay, however once the advantages are taken into consideration (which there are many), there is a positive response.
All property owners strive for that timeless appeal…
And we think polished timber flooring ages well when used in commercial properties.
In an office space, the timber flooring can elevate the look and feel creating a warm and inviting space to work in. It will remain durable and easy to clean. For high traffic floor plans, the timber floors will hold up well.
So what type of hardwood flooring is best for commercial spaces?
There’s no doubt solid oak flooring offers the best benefits overall, so let’s take a look at some of the best timber floor options.
A medium to large sized board, Brush Box is an attractive timber that is suited for a wide variety of commercial uses.
Brush Box timber flooring is very durable with a high density Janka rating, which provides excellent resistance to splintering and wear.
The colour tones of the wood grain can vary from a greyish pink to a reddish brown and the sapwood colour is often generally paler. The texture of Brush Box timber is quite fine & even with an interlocked grain.
The attractive appearance of Brush Box makes it ideal for use in achieving a high value look in restaurants, bars and other types of function venues.
With a variable grain, and moderately course texture, Spotted Gum is a popular choice amongst architects due to its unique waviness.
The colour tones vary from a heartwood pale to dark brown or chocolate and its high durability offers a great contrasting colour and practicality for high end restaurants, pubs and clubs.
Jarrah is commonly rated as a highly durable timber against decay and is resistant to insect attack.
Commercial flooring that integrates outdoor landings will benefit highly from the use of Jarrah.
The grain tends to be interlocked or somewhat wavy consisting of a medium to course texture. Sometime exhibiting a curly figure, Jarrah contains naturally occurring streaks throughout.
Colours ranging from light red or brown to a much richer red, though it tends to darken when consistently exposed to light.
Because of its great durability and common availability, Jarrah is a very useful timber for commercial projects with exterior integration.
So getting the perfect look for your commercial property means you need to pick the best timber for the purpose.
Taking into consideration of the three different types featured above, we now take a look at some of the practical considerations you should apply that will ultimately point you towards the right choice.
Factors in play when choosing the best timber flooring
Not all timber types are ideal for all locations.
You should consider being proactive and collaborative with an architect, designer or perhaps even manufactures to determine the absolute best type of hardwood timber to use for your commercial property.
As there are many factors that need to be consider when planning out your flooring type, here we list the most important ones:
High traffic levels require a high density timber that can withstand the constant and heavy traffic across the boards.
So commercial properties like schools, airports, shopping centres and others of high public congregation often feature a hardwood flooring type that can withstand the high wearing and heavy traffic for many years.
The ease of maintaining the floor and performing repairs when it starts to wear should be of high importance.
If a commercial property has hallways, and/or spaces that only allow singular lines of traffic through, then considerations need to be made for the flexibility of maintenance and repair.
It is inevitable in these situations that over time hardwood boards will wear, split and require sanding or replacing.
Cost of labour can be expensive, so getting the right timber species for the space can yield dividends in return over the long term.
The life expectancy generally goes hand in hand with the first two factors, though some timber species have a longer service life under standard use than others.
Proper timber selection and maintenance will provide a long term service life. Other considerations can be the supplier and/or installer of the hardwood flooring as the quality of the boards and the installation methods will have an attribute as well.
So that’s a snapshot at how we recommend choosing a high quality timber floor for your commercial space.
The team at Freedom Flooring can assist you with product selection as well as any design and installation work.