Patching Timber Holes and Cracks

Damaged floors repair and polishing Sydney

Occasionally we have to deal with holes or cracks in timber floors. Sometimes, if the damage is extensive, we will replace an entire board. At other times, if the damage is minor and not inclined to get worse, we will simply fill the hole or crack.

Of course just filling a hole is not enough if we want to maintain the appearance of the floor. It is easy to fill a hole in wood if we later cover the repair with paint. But timber floors are usually not painted, so the repair in a timber floors must blend in with the surrounding surface. There is an art to doing this right.

There are several material available to neatly fill in timber cracks, gaps and holes.

  • Woodfiller- available in different colours. This works well if you have a colour that matches the timber floor. But remember, the colour will be effected when applying a woodstain.
  • Sawdust and wood glue. This is fine for small gaps. And if the sawdust is from the timber that is being repaired the repair should match quite well.
  • Sawdust and superglue. This is very fast setting, but suitable for small gaps. Try mixing the sawdust and glue in the area that is being repaired, so the glue does not set before too soon.
  • Putty- this is easy to use, just push it into place. Occasionally you might also need to sand it flat. The right coloured putty will blend in reasonably well with the surrounding timber.

It is sometimes possible to mix different shades of wood Putty to achieve the desired colour result.

If you repaint the surface (and the repair is covered):

  • Builders’ Bog – to part mixture. Sets quickly, according the amount of hardener used.
  • Kwikwood – two part epoxy, like putty. Can be moulded to suit corners or edging.
  • HM ready Patch – small gaps only, but easy to use and cleans up with soap and water.
  • Durham water putty. This expands to fill the gap, so it is very stable. Requires sanding, but a good reliable option.

Cause for Concern

Any damage on a floor might be a sign of an underlying problem. Damage from a random accident can be repaired without concern. But cracks in the floor might be a sign of humidity or moisture problems, perhaps an unstable building foundation. Always make sure there is no ongoing problem that might continue to damage the floor.

Floor sanding and polishing Sydney

Re-sanding a wooden floor will restore the original timber surface appearance. But any cracks or holes the floor will need to be repaired before this re-sanding.

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Keeping the Hardwood Floor

Keeping the Hardwood Floor

 

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Summer months can see us spending time outdoors in the bright weather, or they can see us locked inside an air conditioned home to avoid the heat. This habit of cooling the home by air conditioning or other means can led to humidity issue, which affect floors and furnishings. Air conditioners will dry out the air, which can lead to damaged wood.

If we want to keep cool then we do well to monitor the humidity. High humidity will makes us feel warmer; low humidity will tend to be more comfortable, if not a little chilly. This is the difference between ‘dry heat’ and ‘uncomfortably wet’.

A humidity measuring device (hygrometer or psychrometer) can help us keep humidity at ideal levels, so the floor will not expand or contract too much. Adding some plants to the room can raise humidity. Using air conditioners or a dehumidifier will lower the humidity.

 

Good habits for Timber Floored Rooms

All flooring material can suffer scratches or tears. But we can avoid this with the right precautions.

  • Remove shoes, especially hard shoes, inside the home.
  • Put coasters under all furniture legs.
  • Put a protective coating on timber floors, polyurethane is one good option.
  • Pets like dog and cats can be an issue. Have their claws trimmed.
  • Mats and rugs will protect floor surfaces
  • Sweep the floor on a regular basis to remove any grit that might cause scratches
  • Make sure there is no sticky residue on the floor, something left by some cleaning agents. This will cause grit to stick to the floor and cause damage. Weak vinegar and warm water will usually remove sticky floor problems.
  • Do not use steam mops on a hardwood floor.

 

Damaged floors repair and polishing Sydney

Good habits and dedication will prevent most accidents and floor damage. But some unforeseen events like floods or clumsy removalists will resist our best efforts at preparation. And a certain amount of wear and tear will occur given sufficient time.

Most timber floor damage can be repaired with re-sanding and basic building skills. Have your floor restored to new with sanding and polishing.

 

Edges and Transition

Most homes will have more than one type of flooring material. At the very least the bathroom will be tiled, and probably the kitchen too. This is true even if the rest of the house has timber floors or carpets. There will be a transition space between the different floors that is covered with a small strip of edging material.

The edge material used on the floor transition goes by many names – edge strip, coverstrip, transition strip, edging. They can be made from metal, wood, plastic, rubber or a combination of materials. Some will join two floors of the same level, which is quite common. Others will join floors of slightly different levels. Different floors levels often occur between tiled floors and timber, or tiled floor and carpet. The right type of trim will make the transition between floors look quite neat.

Metal transition strips are the most common. They usually have countersunk holes to accommodate the screws or nails that hold them in place. A slightly more expensive option is a metal strip that includes a central rubber strip to cover the nails or screws. These are both safe and neat looking.

Most rooms of the home are separated by a door, so the transition strip is partly hidden by this. Some rooms, perhaps near the kitchen, will not have a door, so the transiton strip cannot be hidden; it must be made to suit the décor. Adjacent rooms with timber floors will not need transition strips. But there will inevitably be a need for a transition strip at the front door, the bathroom and the kitchen, if not a few other places.

Damaged floors repair and polishing Sydney

Timber floors can be re-sanded to restore their original appearance, and then polished to a fine finish. As timber flooring is a great long term investment the re-sanding allows us to keep this investment in the best looking condition possible.

Volatile Organic Chemical

Many household building materials, carpet and furnishings will emit a chemical smell, especially when they are new. In small doses this will not affect most people. But large concentrations of airborne chemicals can cause irritation to the eyes and throat, as well as constant tiredness and impaired cognitive functions. These Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) are dangerous specifically because they are organic, and can interact with human physiology.

New carpet is notorious for giving off chemicals like formaldehyde. This dissipates after a few weeks, but it can cause health problems for residents when it is first installed. Airing out rooms, using bi carb of soda on new carpet, use of air filters and keeping indoor plants all help to reduce VOC in the air.

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One great advantage of natural wood flooring is the near absence of any dangerous chemicals. Only trace amount of these chemical exist in natural wood, and these do not seem to pose any threat.

There can be an issue with VOC when protective coatings are applied to timber floors. Polyurethane coatings will usually emit VOC for a few days after application. Oil based polyurethane emits more VOC than water based varieties.

Newer varieties of polyurethane are now very low VOC, or VOC free.

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Timber floors are one of the healthiest options. The stains and protective coatings are a healthy and safety concern, but proper precautions should prevent any serious problems.

Floor sanding allows a timber floor to be restored to a virtually new appearance. It can then be re-coloured to change the décor, or simply left as a new floor.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Very few floor materials will survive a flood undamaged. And even the floor materials that do survive, like concrete or hard tile, will still require draining and disinfecting. Hardwood timber floors may survive some types of floods, but they will almost always require repair. Water will cause the timber planks to buckle and warp, so the floor surface will need to be sanded if the surface is to be flat.

Unfortunate, flooding is one of the few things that is not covered by insurance.

Types of Flood water:

Black water

This is sewage, and considered an extreme health hazard. Any surfaces contaminated with black water will require professional decontamination.

Grey Water

This is water from dishwashers, fish tanks, washing machines or anything that has contacted the outside ground. Surfaces exposed to grey water will need decontamination.

General water

This is water from pluming or other clean sources. It refers to water that is safe enough to drink, but which can still damage carpets, rugs, walls and floors.

This water will need to be cleaned up. And most floors exposed to water will require some repair.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Hardwood floors can be re-sanded to restore their original appearance. If a floor has suffered flooring or even minor water damage it may need some boards replaced. Re-sanding is the final step to complete the restoration. 

Cutting Logs

Trees and the logs are roughly cylindrical. Wooden timber planks are usually flat and rectangular. So what way should a flat plank be cut from a cylindrical log?

Timber logs can be cut up in several ways. Different methods of cutting a log will give timber planks with different properties.

Flat Saw

This cuts the timber planks from of the log in parallel to each other. It produces timber planks of decent but variable quality. It also produces grain patterns of variable quality. A plank that is cut through the centre of the tree will be strong with good grain pattern. A plank cut above or below this will be not quite as strong or stable, and have less appealing grain pattern.

Tis method wastes very little wood and is fairly cheap to perform. It is use on about 605 of all available timber.

Rift Saw Timber

This cuts timber logs from the outer rim towards the centre. It produces timber planks of optimal strength and fairly consistent grain pattern.

This is a more expensive option. Some wood is wasted in the cutting process, but the consistent quality is sometimes worth the extra expense.

Quarter Saw timber

This is similar to rift saw. But the planks are not cut directly towards the centre. This means less wasted wood but similar quality strength and stability to rift saw timber.

Floors build with quarter saw or rift saw will be more stable in changing humidity or temperature.

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Solid wooden floors will last for decades, even a century, under reasonable conditions. But if damage does occur to part of the floor it can almost always be repaired. And it the floor surface becomes worn then sanding can remove the topmost layer and restore the original surface appearance.

Have your floors polished to look like new.

Humidity and Timber Floors

Damaged Floors Repair and Polishing Sydney

Wood is quite durable under any reasonable conditions. Extreme conditions, like intense heat, heavy impacts, or very high or low humidity will cause problems with timber floors. Most of these factors are not too difficult to avoid. But humidity is something that needs to be checked.

Humidity and Timber Floors

The moisture level in a room with a wooden floor should be kept at around 35% to 55%. If the air in the room has this humidity level then the timber floor in the room will stabilize at a moisture level of about 7 to 8%. In constantly humid environments the floor might be better kept at 10-11% moisture level.

Wood will absorb or lose moisture to the surrounding atmosphere. It the air is too humidity the wood will soak up moisture, which will cause swelling. If the air is too dry the wood will shrink and possibly crack. But these extremes must be avoided.

Warning Signs of Moisture and Humidity Issues.

  • Cupping – the edges of the timber plank curl upward. The edges are higher than the middle of the plank. This will cause an uneven floor
  • Crowning – the middle of the timber plank curves upward. This type of problem will tend to at least partly rectify itself when the moisture level stabilizes at a lower level.
  • Buckling – this is a more extreme situation where the floorboards tend to pull up from the subfloor. This requires boards to be re-nailed. Fortunately, the issue is quite rare.

Watching And fixing Humidity Levels

Humidity sensors are fairly inexpensive, available at home and hardware stores. If the room humidity is in the 35% to 55% level the floor should be quite stable.

If humidity is low you can add some indoor plants to the room. Or use an electronic humidifier. Spraying in water with a spray bottle (the type used for kitchen cleaning) can help.

If humidity is high you can use an air conditioner to reduce levels. Or use a de-humidifier. It is also good practice to use exhaust fans when cooking and always dry washing outside.

Floor Sanding and Polishing Sydney

Damaged timber floors can be resorted to a virtually new appearance with re-sanding, polishing and staining.

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SK Floor Sanding is independently owned floor sanders based in Sydney.We offer professional floor sanding services to residential households,
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