Hardwood floor paneling is one component of your house which can easily last for more than 50 years.
With the proper care and maintenance, it can even stretch a century. This is because apart from being very sturdy and cohesive, hardwood flooring can also be refinished many times (we’re talking at least 5-7 times).
But what does a refinish mean?
Refinishing is the process of sanding down and removing the top layer or surface of hardwood flooring while trimming and cutting any irregularities.
It is intended to remove the topmost layer of the hardwood which sustains wear and tear and degradation. With sanding down and subsequent polishing, it can be made to look as good as new again. It saves immensely on costs and helps to spread the cost of your purchase since it can be done many times.
Sometimes, however, you cannot go on refinishing your wooden flooring, either because it has been done too many times already or other factors have exacerbated the worsening condition of your flooring. This is particularly the case for individuals who live in areas which are more damp and humid or receive more rain and are affected by flooding. Such conditions can accelerate the need for panel replacements. And for that, you can contact someone who is an expert in floorboard installation in Melbourne.
If you are concerned about when to replace your timber flooring, then look for the following signs which indicate that it is best to replace your flooring instead of trying to get it treated or fixed.
Wood, like metal, is also affected by the rise and fall in temperature. It contracts in the winter cold and expands in the summer heat.
This process is natural and your flooring will be designed and cut keeping in mind this natural phenomenon. If this process goes on for too long, however, it can cause eventual cracks and separation in the wood and the bonds between the panels.
This is because of the eventual distortion and twisting in the structure of the wood from all the contracting and expanding. This problem can be mitigated if you monitor the temperature and humidity changes in your home and adjust accordingly.
This is a more serious form of distortion and causes your wooden floor to appear to be uneven.
Cupping means when the edges and corners of your timber planks are raised above the center of the plank and have settled in an expanded state.
This happens due to uneven absorption of water but most commonly due to high humidity. The wood soaks up the excess humidity and channels the excess moisture to the edges and bottom.
This causes the wood to rapidly expand and get misshapen due to water drying at different and uneven rates from the different parts of the wooden plank. Cupping is a problem which you often cannot remedy with or without external help and calls for a replacement since the raised floorboards can serve as entry points to all kinds of unwanted pests. If you’re experiencing this problem, you should opt for high quality recycled timber flooring in Melbourne to keep your costs low while getting high-quality results.
The exact opposite of the cupping problem, crowning is when the center of a wooden plank gets raised.
The edges are all in place and neat and tidy but the center gets bloated and starts sticking out in a raised way.
Most stains on hardwood floor can be sanded down in refinish attempts. Some stains, however, can go much deeper and be harder—if not impossible—to get rid of.
In such cases it is best to replace your paneling lest the stain be spotted by relatives and guests.
You may also like to read Engineered Timber Flooring: Is It Worth the Hype?
If you spot mold growing between the edges of your wooden flooring then you should immediately strip a panel. Next, you should check for any mold growth underneath the panels.
Mold requires wet and damp places to grow and the area beneath hardwood flooring meets all of these requirements. If caught in time, it can be treated; otherwise, you will have to replace a considerable section of your paneling.
This is because not only does mold spread rapidly but it also infects deeply and can penetrate deep into your panels, weakening their integrity.
If humid conditions are allowed to persist for too long or if mold growth reaches a certain point, then inevitably rot and wood death will occur.
Rot is when your wood begins to actively decompose and degrade, becoming weaker, frailer, and hollow. This can be dangerous since it can result in unstable and weak floorboards which you might put your foot through and injure yourself.
Rotten timber can only be replaced, never reversed or refinished.
Termites are the most notorious pests for wooden structures and can do a real number on your flooring. If it sets in, a termite infection can quickly eat through your flooring and leave it hollowed out. That’s why it is highly recommended to schedule a pest and termite control service at least monthly or quarterly.
The floor will become dangerous since it will become weaker from the inside and unable to bear the weight it supports. An immediate replacement will be required in such a case and you’ll have to opt for a complete replacement if the infestation has spread to a large area of your flooring.
These are some common signs and conditions that you as a responsible homeowner must be aware of and keep on the lookout for. Hardwood floors are costly purchases and it does not do you good to neglect their care and attention.
On the upside, however, if it does come down to total replacement, you can keep your costs in check by opting for high quality recycled timber flooring in Melbourne. This will also give you a free excuse to try out new styles and fashions in floors like Parquetry flooring in Melbourne.