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?
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.
Maintenance & Repair
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.
Polished hardwood timber flooring is such a wonderful organic material. Few flooring options can give your home a warm and authentic feel whilst looking elegant and timeless.
It can be common for homeowners to segment the kitchen from hardwood flooring and substitute this space with tiles or laminate.
This article, we look at some stunning kitchens with hardwood flooring throughout.
There is some debate as to whether or not wood floors are suitable for kitchen flooring, with some saying timber floors are just too susceptible to water damage.
We think this to be a non issue, unless of course you’re pretty clumsy with water!!
We hope this article can persuade you into taking the plunge and going all out with laying wood flooring in your kitchen.
As natural as hardwood timber is…the floorboards do require care & maintenance.
So before we showcase some classic hardwood flooring kitchens, let’s first look at some tips for keeping your floor look fresh and amazing.
We assume you’re laying hardwood flooring throughout your entire property, so with that in mind you are best to consider the type of species that will suit the use within a kitchen.
The species with a higher Janka hardness scale will offer a higher degree of protection against dropping heavy objects…because yes everyone drops a plate or saucepan every once in awhile.
Species like Spotted Gum, Ironbark and Jarrah all have a high hardness scale and will be less prone to dents from dropped objects.
Of course if you’re going for a more barn style authentic look, then go with a lower scale option that will show signs of wear & tear over time adding to the unique look and feel.
Lighter colours and textures can also hide small dents and scuff marks associated with high traffic areas like kitchens.
If you’re concerned about how your timber floor might wear over time, then the Spotted Gum or Ironbark would be a good option as the lighter colour tones will blend in and can actually look better with age.
If you’re going for a worn look from the get go, then Jarrah with its hard grade plus rich colour tones will age beautifully keeping its natural and elegant character.
So now onto some stylish hardwood flooring kitchens.
1. There’s just something immediately mesmerising about herringbone floors, and when they are laid throughout a divine timber kitchen, the result is a classic design that is both looks modern and unique.
Toorak Residence is a clean, sleek house in Melbourne, Australia. The kitchen is comprised of a herringbone timber floor in a light tone that provides the contrast of colour from the clean sleek white cabinetry.
This kitchen certainly does feel charming and more inviting having taken advantage of the herringbone wood floor.
2. Dark cabinets work extremely well with timber flooring, as can be seen in this next kitchen design.
3. The hardwood floors give this kitchen a rugged quality that is quite the opposite of the modern appliances and accessories that make up the rest of the space. The contrast between ultra-modern cabinets and worn-in wood floors makes this one-of-a-kind kitchen unique and inviting.
The aged look and perhaps treatment makes the timber floor a viable option for many that may fear damaging the floor boards from dropped pots, pans etc.
4. This bright and airy kitchen is full of natural light and looks like a warm and cosy country style home. Paired with a white timber plank ceiling and cabinetry are the factors that make the space feel so open, however the Reddish-brown floors keep the room grounded and add warmth to the space.
Whilst the statement pieces for some may very well be the timber cabinetry, we think the wide plank timber floor boards create a large amount of character for this kitchen.
5. The design layout of this kitchen is open, airy and perfect for hanging out with guests who can relax at the counter or the stunning reclaimed wood table at the adjoining dining room. Timber flooring made from Oregon White Oak.
So this article we look at some options for getting that level sub floor.
These days homes are constructed using concrete slabs as the floor foundation. If your foundation has been properly set by timber flooring professionals, the finish concrete will be as close to level as possible.
There will inevitably be some areas requiring grinding and or filling to level off the surface.
Most cases grinding out the hills will be sufficient.
As concrete slabs are quite thick, taking down the hills with a concrete grinding machine won’t effect the overall strength and will provide a workable solution.
Where yellow tongue boards are installed, care must be taken to have the boards laid level and even, so as to minimise the requirement for grinding or sanding hills flat.
Although grinding down concrete floors sounds simple, this requires a great level of experience and skill.
There is specialised equipment used during the process.
A walk behind heavy duty grinder with diamond blades will give you the best results for large areas.
Self Levelling Liquid
Self levelling liquid can be used in areas of concrete slabs that have dropped over time and require building back up to achieve a height level with the rest of the room or area.
Whilst timber battens can be shimmed and levelled off to get an even height, there may be times where the concrete slab in older houses require additional repairs first with the use of a high quality self levelling compound.
Where self levelling compound is used on wood, make sure to prime the wood first.
The floor will be covered with a water saturated leveller, which will cause the wood structure to swell.
Once it dries, the wood will shrink back and could cause warping or twisting.
The primer prevents the wood structure from absorbing any water.
Timber Blocks & Plywood Shims
The typical method of achieving a level floor is by using timber blocks or plywood shims underneath the timber floor battens.
The most basic method of installation is to take plywood shims and slide them underneath the battens before fixing to the concrete slab.
To get away with using this method, the concrete slab will have to be very level and only require minor height adjustment.
For sub floors on timber joists, it is possible to achieve a level and even surface by jacking the floor joists and placing shims or timber blocks underneath.
Generally only required in older timber joist and bearer constructions where the floor structure has sunk over time.
Although it can be labour intensive, raising the height of the floor joists can give the best result for the overall space.
Where existing timber foundations have begun to sink over time, this may require an inspection by structural engineers to determine if there is further long term problems to consider.
So these are just some of the methods available for levelling off your sub floor structure prior to installing timber floor boards.
Spending the time in this early stage will yield the absolute best results for your finished polished timber flooring.
Now its over to you.
What methods do you think are best for your floor application?
Unique Timber Floor Shapes & Designs For Your Inspiration
Sometimes bringing life to your home can be as simple as being a little bold with your flooring choice.
We scoured the internet to find some interesting timber flooring shapes & design layouts to inspire you to be creative with your next flooring project
Wood Puzzle Flooring
An ideal option for homeowners who prefer to retain the traditional look of hardwood flooring but also would like to add an element of character and personality, this wood puzzle type floor is made by laser cutting a floor tone into a puzzle shape. The floor would be a great addition to a playroom for the kids, games rooms, home theatres and much more.
Creating this collection the designer has freely played with the lines and the shapes of the traditional parquet layout until the result was an elegant, somewhat minimalistic pattern with soft lines and playful spirit.
Rethinking traditional wood floors, where rounded, bevelled and curved boards along with a slight “bombé” effect of the surface create a new language. The smooth cut of the boards allow one to play with new designs and compositions, which although similar to the classic patterns of ancient wooden floors, give life to modern and original herringbone, diagonal or full length geometries.
Having a strong design in your home can be born with the use of a unique design layout. Creating a design that attracts attention and turns the whole look of your interior into something new and original can be hard to find. We think however this design will be best described as head turning. It is a beautiful rustic cordwood flooring, made by Sunny Pettis Lutz in her own home.
She managed to create the flooring herself and the outcome is simply gorgeous. The cordwood used for the flooring comes from dead trees. She used 2 different types of Juniper wood and created an amazing decoration piece in her home that will surely stand the test of time and will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
Ever thought about using pallet timber for your flooring choice. Well this example may persuade in this direction. The longevity of your floor really depends on how much foot traffic it will receive on a daily basis. However, this is nothing to be overly concerned about. Even with regular activity, provided you maintain your floors, you will only experience a very slight deterioration over time. Certainly giving large amounts of character to any space, with the choice of leaving it in its natural form or perhaps applying a stain & gloss finish.. However, wooden pallet flooring does have a unique advantage. If a section gets damaged, its super easy to replace that area with leftovers from when you built the floor! Even if you didn’t have any leftovers, you could easily find more and do a DIY replacement in a short time.
We think this is very creative! The design takes the use of the elements to another level of greatness. Taking such advantage of high end to create this stunning entrance. I love everything about this project!
Mandi from ‘Vintage Revivals’ created this DIY geometric wood floor project for a trailer remodel, but there is no reason you can’t use it in your home. This project would be best for a small space, again more like a kids playroom or games room, as it is more intricate. The design would lift the feel of the room with its charm no doubt.
So you’ve decided to install timber flooring in your new home or perhaps are bringing back to life your existing…which is fantastic.
Timber is a wonderful product and when laid as a timber floor it feels and looks great.
Polished timber floors has a natural richness and beauty which will ad value to your home or property.
Polished timber floors have many advantages:
• Easy to clean – Unlike carpet timber floors do not stain. Attract allergen’s or dust mites, or retain odours.
• Compared to concrete or tiles, they’re soft under foot
• Excellent value for money as they will often last the life of the building and can be maintained cost effectively with a resurface if necessary
• Eco friendly when recycled timber is used.
The complete project of laying, sanding & polishing floorboards can be tricky and costly if you make mistakes.
Freedom Flooring has years of experience sanding floors in Newcastle and we following a tight process to ensure we produce a high quality polished timber flooring.
Our techniques and processes are explained in this step by step series with attached video from Hire Tech Australia, leading sanding equipment supplier.
Knowing the size of the room or total floor area is important.
Simply split out the total flooring area into separate rooms, then multiply the width and the length. Add the together to get your total floor space in square metres.
For instance a room size of 4m wide x 3.6m long would equal 14.4m2.
This would require one 4 litre can.
We take safety seriously with every project. Taking short cuts can lead to accidents or errors.
• Always follow safety instructions carefully.
• Wear dust masks, safety glasses and ear plugs.
• Un plug sanding equipment when not in use and when changing out sanding belts.
• Keep machinery away from children and un trained personnel.
• When sanding, keep all power leads out of the path of sanding equipment.
• After sanding, store all saw dust away from the property as its extremely combustible.
• During the coating process, always ensure the rooms are well ventilated.
To have a professional looking timber floor, its vital the correct tools and machinery are used in the correct procedures.
Trying to sand and polish floor boards without the proper equipment can lead to poor finished or even destroying sections.
Equipment we will use on your flooring project are:
• Drum or belt sander
• Edging sander
• Orbital sander
• Hammer & punch set
• Putty knife and putty
• Pinch bars
• Sanding paper & belts
• Vacuum cleaner
• Dust masks, safety glasses & ear plugs
• Garbage bags
Preparation is key to achieving a high end finished product. Taking shortcuts here will result in a poor finish and most likely will require the entire process be redone.
• Remove all existing carpet or floor coverings.
• Carefully remove all edge staples and tacks, trying not to lever down too hard on the timber floor boards.
• Ensure the floor is free from wax, grease, silicons, oils and glues as these will clog up the sanding belts / paper and may cause imperfections in the coating.
• Punch all nails 3mm below the surface of the timber, but do not putty until later on.
Before you begin sanding, it worth taking the time now to make sure everything is in order, and you have the right equipment.
• Now is the time to replace any boards that are damaged, spongy or warped.
• Go back through the equipment list to ensure you have everything required to finish the task.
• If your doing this yourself (we highly recommend calling in the professionals,) make sure you are familiar with the belt sander and understand how to operate it.
• If required, cover all surfaces, furniture and other belongings.
• Begin sanding in a low visibility area.
• It’s not necessary to remove skirting boards. Just be very careful when sanding next to them.
• Stains may not be removed when sanding, and badly stained boards should be replaced.
• Some dark stains may leave a two toned effect on the finished boards.
• Do not leave out any of the sanding stages or sanding papers. Each stage and paper grit serves a progressive purpose If unsure we recommend using timber floor professionals.
The final appearance of your floor is greatly dependant on the evenness and smoothness once the sanding process is done.
So take great care with this.
• Never start or stop the machine whilst the sanding belt is in contact with the floor.
• Always tilt the machine back on its rollers when starting, turning off, turning around or stopping at the end of a run.
• Change sandpaper regularly. Clogged or worn sand belts can lead to burn marks on the timber.
Depending on your floor condition you may need to start with a 24 grit paper.
• Start sanding at 45* to the grain of the timber.
• Sand the room in both directions holding 45* to the grain.
• Once the room has been completely sanded in both directions, start sanding with the grain.
• Always sand the floor in longest possible lengths.
Once the entire room has been belt sanded with the grain, start to use the edging sander in a semi circular motion.
• Sand the boards with a 40 grit paper.
• Once edge sanding has been completed with 40 grit paper, change the belt sander over to 60 grit and further sand the entire room with the grain.
• Complete the edge sanding again, this time with 60 grit paper.
It’s a good time now to vacuum the floors thoroughly.
Minimising dust will ensure zero imperfections when coating.
• Change over the belt sander to 120 grit paper.
• Finish off with the orbital sander using 120 -150 grit paper.
This is a very crucial stage as all sanding marks are removed and the edge sanding is blended in.
Vacuum floor again thoroughly, and wipe down all places where dust can settle.
• Ensure floors are clean using a lint free cloth.
• Coatings are applied best when all surfaces are at the same optimal temperature.
• Always clean brushes and rollers to remove loose fibres which could end up in your finish.
• Don’t go over the same area too much as this could create air bubbles.
• Good ventilation and humidity are critical to the curing process of the coating.
• Coats applied to thick can cause curing problems.
The optimal temperature for application, drying and curing is in the range between 15*C – 30*C and 40%-75% humidity.
• Begin applying the coating on the edges and hard to reach areas with a small brush.
• Apply the first coat of the finish with a roller working away from one edge of the room.
• Apply the finish in the direction of the grain and working the entire length.
• Apply each coat ensuring they’re not too thin or too thick, as this gives the best results and allow the coat to dry and cure properly.
• Avoid going over the same area too much.
• Always work towards the room exit.
• When the floor coating is dry, lightly sand with the orbital sander between coats.
• Apply the second and third coat in the same manner as the first.
• For a Satin finish, apply the first two coats with a gloss and then only the third with a Satin.
After 24 hours after finish coating, the timber floors should be right for light foot traffic.No shoes…Socks only.
Wait until a week later before walking with street shoes and using cleaning products.
And that is our process.
You can watch the video Hire Tech Australia Have presented for a full run down of the Floor Sanding Process.
Sanding and coating timber floors can be tricky at best for the un trained.
Freedom Flooring can provide you with expertise and information on your next timber flooring project.