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.

Floor Sanding Sydney

The Right Curves

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Occasionally Timber Floors need to be repaired. This is not too difficult if we a fitting straight timber planks to a room with square corners. But it can become tricky when we have to accommodate curves and irregular shapes on the floor. We might have to fit the timber floor around a round column, a bathtub, a fireplace or some other irregular shape. We need to cut the timber according to this unusual shape, and not just a straight edge. This requires a few appropriate tools.

We need to both measure the curve, and then cut the timber appropriately.

Measuring the Curve.

Sometimes it is possible to use tracing paper to get the right shape when fitting into or around a corner. But this is often not possible so instead we can use a contour gauge.

A contour gauge is a series of thin flat slates that can be pushed into a corner or around a concave shape. These slats can them be locked into place and used to trace a curve (or its exact inverse) on the timber that is to be cut. These contour gauges are available at hardware stores.

Cutting the Timber

We can cut unusual shapes into wood with either a jigsaw or a file. Jigsaw are powered saw with a thin blade. A skill user can use these to cut fine shapes into timber. But new DIY hobbyists may find this tricky. A series of files can also be used to shape timber. This is a slower process, but easier to use for an first time user. Files can be round, curves or straight, as is appropriate to the shape being cut.

It is also possible to combine these techniques. We can use the jigsaw to get the rough shape, leaving some excess, and then the files to fine tune the final shape.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Timber floor last for decades, but they can look dull after being walked on for so long. Polishing can restore the look, and occasional re-sanding can remove scratches and other superficial damage.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Questions Timber Floors

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Can timber floors be placed over concrete floors?

Quite often yes, if there is no moisture issues. If the concrete is allowing moisture to soak through then a moisture barrier is need below the timber floor.

Does a subfloor have to be perfectly Level?

There can be some imperfections in the subfloor, high or low spots of less than 3mm. Often a low spot can be filled in, and certainly a protruding nail or raised timber edge can be sanded back.

Some leveling compounds can be used to fill in low spots on the floor.

The underlay between a subfloor and the floating floor is flexible, so it will accomidate some unevenness.

What condition must a subfloor be in?

As long as the subfloor is clean, dry and reasonably level then we can add a floating floor above. A less than perfect subfloor may be the reason why you add a floating floor.

Can we use hydro or electrical heating under floors?

Yes, underfloor heating works well with engineered floorboards. Engineered timber boards experience very little shrinkage or expansion with changing heat, so underfloor heating works well.

What happens with damaged floorboards?

Superficial damage on solid timber, like scratches, can be sanded way on. Sometimes then can even be removed by polishing.

Engineered floors cannot usually be sanded; because the to layer of timber is too thin. Sanding will remove the top layer of wood. A few type of engineered timber can be resanded once if the top layer is reasonably thick.

Does timber need to Acclimatize?

Yes. To acclimatize timber boards they are left in the room where they are to be installed. Timber will expand or contract slightly depending on humidity and temperature conditions. It is best if they expand or contract before they are installed, rather than after.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Solid timber or engineered floors remain popular because they are attractive and extremely long lasting. Timber can be stain coloured and treated to suit many decors.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Protect Your Investment

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Hardwood timber floors area great alternative to carpeted floors. They are easy to sweep clean or vacuum; there is nowhere for allergens or dust to hide. And many people like the classic look for natural timber.

Hardwood floors are a sizable investment, but a worth one. They last for decades, sometimes over a century. So in the long term they work our cheaper than other floor that need replacing after a 20 years. At the same time we want to look after the hardwood floors to that they will last this long.

Regular Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Floors will suffer surface damage from people in shoes, for furniture, form anything hard that contacts the floor. The main structure of the floor remains unharmed, but the shiny new appearance is lose.

We can greatly reduce the damage by removing shoes in the home, and using coasters under furniture. But over time we might still want to remove light damage.

Many homes with timber floors have those floors re-sanded every 10-15 years. This re-sanding removes a tiny (half millimetre) layer from the top of the wood to reveal fresh wood underneath. This essentially give you a new floor, which can be refinished in many different ways.

Often a re-sanding is unnecessary. Many a floor looks great with a re-polishing. This removes the type light damage most common in floors. Only deep scratches, which are are, need more serious work.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Hardwood timber floors can be restored to virtually new with re-sanding and re-polishing.

Old Homes and Hardwood Floors.

Old Homes and Hardwood Floors.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Many modern building have chipboard (particle board) for floors. Even when there is carpet, vinyl, or other materials on top there is usually a chipboard surface behind this. Occasionally (as in bathrooms) there might be a cement floor.

Older homes were different. The wooden floors were made of solid timber, even when there was carpet or vinyl or linoleum on top. That was simply the way almost all houses were made up until the 1970, and sometimes even latter. Chipboard became popular when carpets were ubiquitous. Chipboard was cheap, and if there was carpet or another floor surface on top then nobody had to look at the ugly chipboard.

Or course this means that many older buildings have fine hardwood floor under their old carpets. and because the hardwood was kept under the carpet all these years it is still in good condition.

If you remove the old carpets you can have the hardwood polished to make a very impressive looking floor. Even cheaper hardwood of yesteryear looks surprisingly good when polished, and perhaps sanded if it has been damaged.

Home renovations have become popular over the last generation, at least partially because of reality TV shows. If we want to restore an old home or even just a single room, then re-polishing hardwood floors and painting walls may be 90% of the changes.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Re-sanding and re-polishing can make an old hardwood floor look like new. Consider this if you want to give a home or room a makeover.

Floor Repair and Polishing Sydney

Reasons to Prefer Engineered Timber Floors

Reasons to Prefer Engineered Timber Floors

Some situations work well with engineered timber floors. These floors have a thin layer of attractive timber on top of several layers of extremely strong, stable wood. So they look like genuine hardwood, but cost lest and prove strong and stable.

Resistant to moisture

Because it has several layers of wood, with the grain running in different directions, the wood will not bend noticeable when exposed to moisture. Solid timber tends to bend in a manner that relates to the direction of the grain. So the whole plank will bend in one direction. But the cross-grain of engineered timber does not have a single grain direction, so any forces acting on the timber pull in different directions and cancel out.

Easy installation

Engineered timber is built with ‘tongue and groove’ sides that lock the adjacent planks together. This makes the reasonably easy for DIY installation. They can even be installed without nails and glue, making them a floating floor.
A floating floor is great for sound or thermal insulation.

Range of Styles

The appearance of engineered timber is entirely due to the top layer. And as this can be any type of timber, so engineered floors can look like any type of hardwood.

Environmental Factors

Because there is only a small amount of expensive wood used so engineered floorboards do not deplete us of rare, slow growing tree, at least not as quickly. This allows time for more exotic timber to be regrown.

Heated Floors

This has only started to become popular in recent years, people like to heat their floor with hot water pipes or electrical heating elements. Engineered timber suits this well because they are stable with changing heat.

Floor Repair and Polishing Sydney

An engineered timber floors it is often not too difficult to repair. We can usually just replace a few individuals boards. This is quite cost effective, especially if a few spare floorboards have been set aside.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Type of Wooden Floor

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

There are many type of timber used for flooring, and many types of flooring that use timber, or imitate the look of timber.

Laminate

This is an imitation product, made to look like timber. It is not a bad product for some situations, and modern versions look fairly realistic. But it will eventually start to wear, and need to be replaced. It cannot be sanded or polished.

Engineered Floors

These uses a combination of different woods. The top layer is chosen for the appearance, the underling layers provide strength and stability. These engineered floor look like solid timber flooring because they are real timber on the top.

Most engineered floors cannot be re-sanded, because the top layer is very thin and will be sanded away. But a few type of engineered floorboards have a 6 mm top layer than can be re-sanded several times.

Engineered floors can be polished to an attractive finish.

Solid Timber Floor

This is the standard that the other floors try to live up to. Solid timber is extremely durable and lasts for decades, perhaps over a century. And it looks great, with many species of timber to choose from.

Solid Timber can be re-sanded to removed superficial damage like scratches. Even with the re-sanding removing a thin to player of wood the floor will easily last for many decades.

Reclaimed Timber

If is sometimes possible to reuse the wood form older buildings, because timber is so durable it may last longer then the building does.

Reclaimed timber flooring is much like any solid timber flooring. It can be re-sanded for a new finish.

Parquet Flooring:

This is a patterned floor, with the pattern made with small pieces of timber. This looks elegant. And it is not too expensive because the smaller pieces of timber can be off-cuts.

Parquet floors can be re-sanded to remove damage. And it is easy to replace individual pieces should they suffer serious damage.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Higher quality floors like solid timber will last for decades, and can be re-sanded to restore their original natural appearance.