26 Feb Renovating Hardwood Floors
Canada’s love for hardwood started about 20 years ago. Among the most requested amenities for homebuyers, hardwood floors are at the top of wish lists in older homes and included in the blueprints of new housing. When you find a home with pristine hardwood floors buried under 40 years of wall-to-wall shag carpet, well, it’s like finding treasure.
The problem for many homebuyers is that wood floors take a beating after many years of use.
No type of flooring is invincible, says Trevor Kedlac, the owner of Flooring By Design in Barrie. Instead of replacing a houseful of white oak or wide-plank pine, Kadlec has some advice on when and how to fix up your hardwood floors.
Q: Are some types of woods more difficult to restore than others?
Pine and Douglas fir; they’re in the soft-wood family. Douglas fir was popular from 1900 to the 1940s.
Q: Do previous refinishings hinder a restoration?
An oak floor has a life of four or five sandings. On the sixth time, there may not be enough wood underneath to sand, which results in the boards’ cracking and splitting. Getting to the tongue of the groove point is bad.
Q: How about replacing only certain areas of the floor?
We can sand down the wood to level it off or simply replace certain planks. We can use wood from the home’s closets or blend in new wood using different color stains. Furniture and rugs can sometimes cover up the worst parts of a wood floor, such as where there are only liquid stains, which usually come from animal urine, spillover from plant-watering, or water from a leaky roof or bathroom sink.
Q: And bad scratches?
Most heavy scarring and gouges are hard to get out. One option is to simply lay laminated or vinyl flooring on top of the wood.
Q: Are there situations when a hardwood floor is beyond repair?
If a lot of the planks are warped, buckled and uneven, which is usually due to moisture. The planks absorb water and then swell, which causes the waving and coupling. It’s typical in the kitchen because of the sink, dishwasher and liquid spills. Also, the stuff used to melt snow can get tracked into a front hallway and eat away at a floor.
Q: How about just painting it?
Painting hides the wood’s beautiful natural grain; it’s just very bland.
Q: How long does it take to restore an average-sized living room floor?
The floor is sanded and stained with one coat of polyurethane on the first day. The second coat is applied the next day. Water-based stains take two hours to dry, and oil-based stains take eight hours.
Q: What’s the shelf life of a restoration?
It’s based on the traffic areas, if you use the proper cleaning products, if you have sliders on the furniture legs and if there are area rugs.
Q: When it comes to installing new hardwood floors, what’s popular?
North American red oak, which is plentiful in this area, is first. White oak comes in second. The white oak is a bit stronger than red oak, but it’s not as plentiful as red oak. They’re both easy to work with. And because they’re grainy and can be stained with many colors, each plank takes the stain differently, which gives it its own character. Oak offers the best staining flexibility.
Q: What are the differences between sheens?
High-gloss is more easily scratched but gives off a nice shine. Semi-gloss or satin shows fewer imperfections. Scratches don’t reflect as much light and are easier to touch up. I like oil-base polyurethane. It’s more durable and tends to give a nice natural amber to the natural wood. Two is the standard number of polyurethane applications, but I like to put on three, because it lasts longer.
Q: What themes are popular now?
Medium, early-American colors such as golden oaks. Overall, though, red oak, white oak and Douglas fir. Bamboo is becoming popular. It comes compressed, prefinished and ready to install. You maintain it with certain soap and treat it the same as you would oak.
Good guys vs. Bad guys
Before you hire anyone to do work around your home, check out what we can provide you. Our professional opinion may save you money and we’d be delighted to help. Call Flooring By Design at 705-734-3995