Given all the energy and resources that went into getting that wood floor installed in your premises, you want it to last for long. Here, we will look at common problems that affect wood floors, and how they can be resolved.
These are normal, but become problematic when they are too large. Gaps are a result of the seasonal changes in atmospheric conditions, which cause the floorboards to lose or gain moisture depending on the moisture gradient with the surrounding. For floorboards that have been properly acclimated before installation, the gaps formed during the dry months will resolve themselves during the humid periods of the year. However, if the flooring was installed when it was not properly acclimated, then the gaps will be larger than anticipated. This also occurs when the flooring is installed in areas where there will be too much dryness, such as for the floors that are over heating ducts or sections of the floor that receive lots of sunlight. Here filler products are used. These are agents that are mixed with sanding dust from the wood floor itself, to result in a substance that has similar properties to the rest of the floor. This filler is placed in the gaps, and it is recommended that this gets carried out during the humid months when the gaps will be small. Repairing gaps when it is dry and they are at their widest, then there may not be sufficient room for expansion when the humid months come, and this will cause the floor to buckle.
- Excessive wear
Every wood floor will eventually wear out. The goal is to slow this down as much as possible. There are different issues that cause the wear. These range from poor finishing techniques where the right procedures were not followed during the application of the floor lacquer, to the day-to-day abuse that the floor handles. Wood floors wearing down within a few months or years after they were finished is a pointer to something that went wrong during the finishing process such as the surface not having been sanded properly, or the routine cleaning and maintenance not being carried out.
The first line of defence is treating your wood floor with a durable finish – a lacquer from a well-established brand that has been proven to be effective in protecting wood floors, such as the Bona Traffic HD. The choice of lacquer should factor in the level of traffic that is handled in the establishment, with busy commercial establishments and public spaces requiring stronger finishes compared to domestic environments. During the treatment process, the proper application procedure should be followed, including the initial sanding and drying times in between consecutive coats of treatment being applied. For instance, with the Bona Traffic HD it’s 2-3 hours.
Even after proper sanding and finishing, regular maintenance is still required. Allowing dirt and debris to remain on the floor increases the rate of wear since these particles will be grinded against the wood floor, abrading it. This acts like sandpaper whenever people walk on the floor. Issues like pet’s claws and furniture feet can also contribute to the scratches that are formed on the floor. Here, simply ensure that the nails of your furry friend are trimmed regularly, and it is also recommended that you get felt pads for your furniture. When there is excessive wear and deep scratches on your wood floor, you can have it sanded back down to the bare wood, and have fresh new finish coats applied.
- Peeling finish
Here the problem is usually mistakes made during the floor treatment process. Before the primer and lacquer coats are applied onto the floor, it needs to be clean. Dirt or chemicals that contaminate the wet coats get embedded in the finish, causing them to peel off later. The flaking off of the finish can also occur in situations where the sanding that was carried out prior to the finishing involved very high grit sandpaper, which ended up burnishing the wood floor and creating a surface that was too smooth for the finish to bond firmly with the wood floor. For instance, with the Bona Traffic HD, it is recommended that you use grit 180 sandpaper.
Stains that are still on the floor before the finish layers are applied can also cause peeling of the lacquer coats. This is all avoided by ensuring that the floor has been given a thorough clean before the finish process, and allowed to dry before the treatment coats are applied.
To resolve a case of peeling finish coats, the only recourse is to sand through to the bare wood and apply new layers. Light abrasion and recoating may not resolve the issue, since the existing coats that are on the floor will prevent the new layers from adhering successfully with the wood.
Working With The Bona Traffic HD
- You can use a sealer under the Bona Traffic HD. While the finish itself can act like a sealer, using an actual sealer adds to the depth, and also helps with building an extra layer. This is also the way to go if you’re after the look of a solvent-based finishing cycle. Note that a sealer is not needed if a wood stain has been applied.
- Applying one sealer coat followed by two Bona Traffic HD will give your wood floor optimal protection, and you may not even need to carry out another round of floor renovation for 10-15 years.
For very high traffic areas, a third coat of the Bona Traffic HD can be applied.
- After the sanding, always ensure that the dust generated has been vacuumed away. In fact, it is important to clean the surrounding surfaces as well since dirt and debris on them can get transferred onto the floor, and the particles trapped under the wet coats. These will ruin the quality of the results.
Be keen on the drying time before allowing traffic back onto the treated floor. Fortunately, this is fast with the Bona Traffic HD sufficiently drying within 24 hours for normal floor usage to resume.