Care for your floors and they’ll care for you
If you’re like a lot of people, your hardwood floors are probably the pride of your home. Nothing quite says luxury, quality and beauty like a gorgeously stained hardwood. This material is renowned for its ability to hold up to lots of foot traffic. It’s also a lot easier to clean than carpet. That said, no floor is invulnerable. With proper care and maintenance you can ensure that your floor is around for a long time to come.
Preventative care for hardwood floors
The best repair is the one that you never have to make. In order to keep your floors in their best condition, make sure to regularly inspect them for quality and damage. Here’s what you need to look for:
- Gaps: Gaps between the board pieces that are deep enough for you to see the floor underneath are a serious concern. They are a route through which water can trickle under the boards and cause swelling. This is especially important if it’s in the kitchen or laundry room, as those areas see more moisture than the rest of the house.
- Cracks: Cracks are different from gaps because they directly affect the wood itself. If they’re deep enough that you can see the floor underneath, then they are a serious problem. Keep an eye on cracks, and if they continue to widen, there’s probably a deeper issue. Small cracks that don’t grow are a simple problem that you might be able to fix on your own.
- Gouges: Deeper than a scratch, gouges are caused by something nicking the top of the floor. While unsightly, they’re generally not a major concern so long as they don’t go all the way through the wood.
- Warping: Warping refers to the bubbles that form under your floor and cause it to rise up in patches. This is a serious issue that you should have a professional treat.
- Discoloration: A patch of your floor looks different than the rest of it. This isn’t serious as far as the integrity of the wood goes, but it can be time-consuming to fix.
Preventing discoloration of the floor
The first preventative fix is among the easiest.One of the biggest causes of discoloration is direct exposure to sunlight. This isn’t a problem if you don’t mind the fade (some people prefer a weathered or “lived-in” look) and if he light hits your floors evenly. What happens is during the day sunlight only gets into a room from one or two windows, and it follows a narrow path as the day goes on. This eventually leaves streaks of lighter pieces. If you have a rug down in the room and the rest of the floor gets regular sun, the area under the rug is going to look fresher than the rest of it.
So what do you do? The simplest option is to just keep the blinds and shades closed throughout the morning and afternoon. This can make it darker than you like it inside the house, though.Another option is to install awnings over the windows and doors. With sufficient length these installations keep direct light off of the floor, while still allowing ambient light into your home.
Another source of fading on hardwood floors is heavy foot traffic. Over time getting walked on repeatedly can wear away at the wood’s coating, leaving the bare material exposed. This not only causes an unsightly appearance, but also puts your floor at risk for further damage. To prevent this sort of thing from happening, lay down some thick rugs over high-traffic spots. This is also a wise course for food prep areas. If a floor becomes too worn, you can restain it yourself, but the process is fairly involved.
Fixing gouges and cracks
Fixing visible damage to a floor is not as hard as you’d think , but it does take time, patience and attention to detail. What you need to do is gather some stain or topcoat that matches your existing floor as closely as possible. You also need what’s called wood putty or wood paste. This isn’t a glue, but a material that fills in missing pieces. Look for one that lists cellulose fiber as one of its ingredients. That’s the same material that makes up natural wood, and the fibers create a strong bond and amore natural look and feel.
Wood paste comes in many different colors, designed to match the most popular options available today. Most cellulose fiber wood pastes are stainable and paintable when they’ve cured, so you can more easily match them precisely. Before laying down the paste, make sure sure that you got a product that advertises itself as “non-shrinking”. Otherwise you have to put on extra material and sand it down to an even flush.
To apply the paste, just put some on the end of a plastic paint scraper, and run the scraper over the top of the gouge. You can put on more than you need; running the scraper over the gouge picks up any excess paste, leaving you with a flush fill. Remember to use plastic material, as a metal scraper will just scratch up your floors all over again. Once it’s cured you can add stain to get the color just right, then apply a small amount of topcoat if you need.
Call in a professional hardwood floor repair service
If your problem is a bit more involved than what we discussed here, it’s best to get a pro to help you out. Woodfloor Masters is your optimal choice for hardwood repair in Vancouver, WA. Our team’s been in business for years, and we know where to look to find the root cause of problems. We explain the issue to you in plain English so you know what caused it and how to avoid it in the future. Consultations are free and you have nothing to lose. Pick up the phone or fill out our contact form to get your hardwood floor repairs started as soon as possible.