Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Commercial Timber Floors

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Timber floors remain popular because of their impressive look and their durability. They can also be changed, re-stained a different colour or lime washed, to suit any decor.

Owners of timber floors soon realize that the hard floor surface is easy to sweep or vacuum clean; it does not retain dust or allergens. Timber floors are pretty low maintenance.

About the only issue with timber is that it will scratch and dent over time. But even this is mild compared to the damage that other floors can suffer. Certainly carpets and vinyl floors suffer damage over time. Damage that cannot really be fixed. By comparison timber floors can be re-sanded and polished to look virtually like new.

The ability to be re-sanded is a point for timber floors. It is not uncommon to re-sand a timber floor once per decade, and still have a floor that will comfortably last a hundred years. furthermore, re-sanding gives the opportunity to re-stain the floor a different colour, should you desire a change of decor.

Maintaining Timber Floors

Unlike carpets a hard floor has no space for dust, grime or pollens to hide. So they are easy to keep clean by sweeping or vacuuming with a soft attachment. And they are hygienic because no allergens or dust can get trapped anywhere.

By keeping grime off the floor when we sweep we remove the chance of the floor being scratched.

We also recommend coasters under furniture to prevent scratching. Cork or plastic coasters under furniture legs go a long way to keeping a floor in good condition. Alternately, we can put rugs under some furniture.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Have your timber floors restored to their original new appearance with re-sanding. Or re-sand to give the floor a new stained color.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Timber Hardness

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Different species of wood will have different properties. There is also a certain amount of variation within a species. One important factor here is the hardness of the timber. Some timbers are soft, like Balsa or pine. Other timber are very hard, like Teak or Jarrah. The hardness of timber is a major factor when we look at how long a timber floor will last, and how much it resists scratching.

The hardness of timber is measured on the Janka scale. Basically, the higher the Janka number the harder the wood. But this can be misleading as there are other factors at work.

The Janka measurement system take a hard ball bearing and pushes it into the timber’s surface. The harder timbers require more pressure to push the metal ball into the wood surface, so they receive a higher Janka number. A Janka number of 4-8 is a good option for a floor. Some very hard timbers have a janka rating between 8 and 12.

But the Janka rating, the hardness, is not the only consideration here. For one thing we may not want to walk on a super hard floor because a very hard surface (think of concrete) is tough on the feet. We tend to feel that a slightly softer floor feels better. So a moderately hard floor with a Janka between 4 -8 is often the best option.

Another issue is that hardness and surface durability are not always the same. This is especially obvious with bamboo. Bamboo is often very hard on the Janka scale, even as the top surface is prone to scratching. Bamboo is simultaneously hard enough to last for decades, put prone to superficial surface scratching. Janka wasn’t designed to test bamboo, hence the confusing result. But some timber suffers the same problem, at least to a lesser extent. The timber is hard enough to last, but gets scratched more than we might expect.

Another factor is the pre-treatment of the wood. Floors can be given protective coating that effectively make their surface harder, or they might be processed in other ways to increase their hardness. This is why pine, which is relatively soft, actually make a decent floor material if given a protective coating.

Some people are confused by the classification of ‘hardwoods’ and ‘softwoods’, expecting a hardwood timber to be literally harder. But the hardwood/softwood distinction refers to the grain of the timber and not the actual hardness of the material. Technically Balsa wood is a type of hardwood, even though it is physically soft. Though generally hardwoods are physically hard.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

We insist on quality timber for floors, which lasts for decades, and which can be re-sanded and polished several times to restore its original appearance.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Formaldehyde and VOCs

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Some flooring materials will put Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) into the air. Fresh paint and new furniture will also release these same VOCs. These chemicals are dangerous if they are too strong. If we can smell the chemicals in the air (that ‘new car smell’ or fresh paint) then they are strong enough to impact our health.

Formaldehyde is one of the most common of VOCs released by new carpets, fresh paint, floor varnish and some new furniture. It can cause eye irritation, breathing problems, tiredness, mental disorientation and also trigger allergies and asthma. It is in everybody’s interest to avoid these chemicals.

Quality hardwood is free from these issues; it has no VOCs. But some of the coatings applied to the timber floor, such as polyurethane, will release VOCs for a few days after they are first applied. So we should take precautions to avoid these chemical fumes.

If a room has been varnished then we should:

  • Let the room air out for a few days. Open window, put fans in the room. Do not occupy the room more than necessary. Do not sleep in the room.
  • Use an air filter with a HEPA fitting to clean the air.
  • Bi Carb of Soda on the floor will soak up a lot of the chemicals. Put this down once the floor is completely dry, leave it for a few days, then vacuum it away. Always dispose of the Bi Carb.
  • Cut up some onions and place them half submerged in bowls of water. Leave these in the room for a few days. This soaks up the smell.
  • Indoor plants will soak up contaminants out of the air.

These techniques also work for freshly painted and carpeted rooms.

Engineered timber is often pre-coated with a protective layer. This has an advantage as the chemical fumes will have long dissipated before the timber is installed.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Timber floors are durable and very long lasting. But there appearance can be compromised as people walk upon them, and they may suffer damage from heavy furniture or hard impacts. Polishing or re-sanding can restore the almost new look of a good timber floor. And repairs or replacement of individual boards will fix any damage.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Floating Floors

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Floating floors are a reasonably recent innovation. Until a generation ago all floors were permanently fixed to the frame of the building, or to the sub-floor. But after the invention of engineered timber many realized that the floor could be left in place without nails or glue.

Floating floors are an additional layer of floor that is installed above a sub-floor, without being nailed into place. This is possible because the engineered floor boards used in floating floors lock together with tongue-in-groove sides. There is a layer of foam, cork or other soft material between the floating floor and the sub-floor below.

Advantages:

  • It is easy to add a floating floor above an existing floor. And to remove it latter if necessary.
    There is no down time for the floating floor, no waiting for anything to dry. The floor is ready straight away.
  • The floorboards usually have a protective coating, so there is no need to varnish the floor.
  • The floor handles expansion and contraction in the heat quite well. The individuals boards can move slightly, but the floor remains level and solid.
  • The floating floor provides a good deal or thermal insulation, so heating and cooling costs are reduced.
  • The floor provided acoustic insulation. So noise on the floor will not carry to the neighbors.
  • The small amount of flexibility in the floor feels soft underfoot.
    If a floor board becomes damaged you can replace it while keeping the rest of the floor.

Precautions:

  • The sub-floor underneath must be flat and level for a floating floor to work.
  • The floor cannot be re-sanded, though it can be easily replaced if damaged.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Solid timber remains the best long term floor material. But floating floors have some advantages if the sub-floor acceptable.