REPAIRS, RENOVATIONS AND REFINISHING

Swinard Wooden Floors are able to repair existing wooden floors, floors damaged by moisture, scratching or dents, as well as those that have "let go" from the subfloor. This includes insurance referrals.

We are able to add new areas onto existing floors. We will attempt to match the flooring that needs to be replaced or extended. If this is not possible we can suggest a replacement timber.

We can darken or lighten an existing floor to suit you. We can sand and refinish your floor for you. Please see under Sanding and Finishing for further details.

Most floors are repairable, please contact us to arrange a time to view your floor.



REPAIRS

Timber Floor Problems?

A perfect floor is everyone’s goal; however, there are a large number of factors that affect a timber floor once it has been installed. Wood is a natural product and seasonal influences – heating and cooling - result in a certain amount of movement. This is the reason why all our floors are installed with expansion gaps around the edges. It is important to discuss your home environment and the effects of heat within your home when choosing a timber floor, particularly with regards to board width, colour etc. Exposure to heat sources, such as sun through large windows (without UV protection, blinds or curtains), vents from appliances, excessive or fast changing heating may cause movement within your floor. Moisture, either unseen below the floor or from flooding above, will also affect it. The actions or inactions of either the builder or the home owner can contribute to or even cause the following effects to occur:

Gapping – this is caused by damp timber drying out too fast or an extremely low humidity level within the home. A certain amount of gapping between floor boards is to be expected seasonally. It is the natural response of timber to dry conditions within the home. Reasonable shrinkage gaps between boards (during dry times) are acceptable - on average about .75mm for an 80mm board and proportionally wider for wider boards. This type of gapping will not necessarily be even throughout the floor as some areas can be affected more than others. As the dry conditions diminish, so should the gaps. However, excessive gapping needs to be looked at and remedied.

Cupping – this is when the edges of the floor board are higher than the centre. Generally it is moisture beneath the floor that causes cupping, however extreme heat or a very dry environment above the floor can also cause this. It is more prominent in wider boards. It will be necessary to investigate the cause of the cupping and to remedy this first. Your floor may then revert to its pre-damaged state. If not, it may require repairing. Only in extreme cases does it need a full replacement.

Peaking – this has a similar appearance to cupping but is not so severe. It is caused by expansion pressure between the boards as it swells. It is generally caused by water from above, such as over-washing with too much liquid or a small but continuous leak from whiteware. Again it is necessary to find the cause first and remedy this, then allowing the floor to dry out, before repairs can be undertaken.

Crowning – this is when the edges are lower than the centre of the board. This can happen if a cupped floor is sanded while still damp. When the timber dries out over time it will return to its previous state, minus the part that has been sanded off. Hence why it is important to remedy the cause before you repair the floor. Once the cause is remedied you must still leave time for the floor to re-acclimatise to the new environment before repairs can be undertaken.

Squeaking – a small amount of noise is acceptable between floor boards installed over joists or battens. A timber floor can often be “nosier” during dry periods as the joints are looser. Floors that are direct stuck or installed on an underlay should not squeak. They may have insufficient expansion gaps or the glue has let go. This needs to be remedied.

Indentations – Depending on the hardness of your chosen timber you can expect to see indentations in your floor over time, for example as items are dropped, or walked into it. It is important to remember that your floor is subjected to much heavier use than a piece of wooden furniture and its surface will show this. Mats outside doors to ensure no stones are brought in on the soles of shoes, the removal of shoes with stiletto heels, care taken when moving heavy objects (particularly fridges), placing felt pads on the base of all furniture, etc., will reduce this. Small scratches can be considered part of the floor’s character. Bad scratches and indentations can be removed by sanding the wear-layer of your floor or replacing the board and re-applying your chosen finish - the deeper we have to sand, the more you reduce its life. Our timber floors are able to be sanded 3-5 times. A light sand and re-application of oil or polyurethane does not count as a full sand.

Drummy spots – occasionally, when timber floors are laid on to concrete slabs, a drummy sound can occur under a few boards. This is rare but does happen. It could indicate that the glue has let go or that you have a slight hollow in your concrete subfloor. We can inject glue into this to reduce the sound.

Acclimatising wood to your environment - timber flooring takes time to acclimatise to a new environment. Often it is recommended that the timber be allowed to acclimatise, on site, prior to being installed. You need to bear in mind, however, what the timber is acclimatising to – a building site? It will take a full year for the timber to acclimatise to all seasons – this is clearly not possible. Once you move back into the house the environment will change as you heat or cool it seasonally – the timber needs to acclimatise to this, not a building site. All our timber is kiln dried to a level which mimics the 8-10% moisture content level of the average Canterbury home. Give it time to acclimatise to its new home; if it doesn’t settle to the industry accepted standard, then we can address this.

So what should you do?

If you have problems such as excessive gapping, cupping, peaking or crowning, you need to ascertain where the moisture or excessive heat is coming from. It is important to contact us before the situation worsens; you can email the details of the damage (when you first noticed it and the steps you have taken to resolve it), the suspected cause, along with photos of your floor in its current state. We may be able to advise how best to treat the area in the meantime or we may need to come out and assess your floor urgently. Once the cause has been addressed, it could be that you just need to allow the timber time to recover - it may return to its original state of its own accord. If not, you may need to contact your insurance company and arrange for us to view and draw up a quote to repair your floor.


Floor refinishing expectations

We are often asked to sand and re-apply polyurethane to an existing floor and would like to bring to your attention to a number of things:

  • Your existing polyurethane may well have yellowed over time, when we remove this it will reveal the true colour of your wood. The polyurethane we apply is clear. Old yellow polyurethane gives a more uniform colour to your floor, natural timber has a large amount of tonal variations within one timber species and your floor may well have lighter and darker boards which are more apparent under the new polyurethane. Over time these differences will decrease. (Photo of newly finished Rimu floor).
  • Small pinholes in your floor are indicative of borer – either currently active in your floor or historically. The borer burrow through the wood and then pop out creating the small hole. When we sand your floor we remove the top layer and expose the whole tunnel they have made inside the wood. (Photos of borer infestations of different degrees).
  • Many old floors have had carpet installed over them in the past. When we know that a carpet has just been removed we will check and remove as many nails, staples, etc. as we can see, however your floor may have been sanded previously and still have staples/nails deep within it. These cut into the sanding paper of our machines and can cause swirling marks in your floor. (photo of sanding marks) We will do our best to rectify this.
  • In some old floors the fixing nails have corroded causing a small amount of black staining to the surrounding timber. This cannot be removed, except by removing the board. It does not affect the stability of the board but some people find it visually unappealing. (photo)
  • Larger stains are generally caused by spillages and/or leaking appliances – these can be of varying depths – shallow stains can sometimes be removed (through sanding) but deeper ones may mean that you have to replace the whole board. (photo)
  • Your floor can be fully sanded approximately 3-5 times – depending on the amount of wear and tear it receives and the depth of sanding that has to be done each time. When the timber above the tongue and groove joints becomes too thin it will snap when walked on. These boards would have to be replaced or in many cases the whole floor. If you regularly light sand and recoat your floor it will last longer; as it is only the polyurethane that is sanded back not the timber. Where the polyurethane has been completely worn off over time, the timber will have to be sanded back to remove discolorations, along with the patches of polyurethane that remain in less worn areas. If left too long, we may not be able to completely remove the discolouration.
  • Small gaps may appear between your floor boards as it dries and moves seasonally. Wood absorbs and releases moisture and this is to be expected. If you have had your floor flood filled, the fill may well crack and come lose. There is nothing we can do to prevent this. Sanding and applying polyurethane or oil to an existing floor will not affect the stability of the floor and would not cause it to move in any way.
  • Should you have a parquet floor and a number of the parquet blocks are loose, this indicates that the glue affixing them to the subfloor has started to “let go”. When we run our sanding machines over your floor, many more may well “let go”.
  • If you sand and apply polyurethane to only a part of the timber floor (say one room) please be aware that where the old and new polyurethanes meet a wet line will be apparent. (photo) This is particularly noticeable when the flooring runs through the join in polyurethanes, however should the timber run across the join it is not so visible. The two polyurethanes will be a different colour and sheen level; this is due to the effects of UV, as well as wear and tear over time. We always recommend to sand and apply polyurethane to the entire timber flooring area.
  • Please remember that your current floor has furniture and/or rugs on it, these detract from the many small discrepancies that are in your floor. When we finish re-coating your floor, it is pristine and clear of all household objects, this highlights these discrepancies. When you return your furnishings, they will become inconspicuous once more.

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©Swinard Wooden Floors Limited, PO Box 7134, Christchurch 8240     T 03 329 9669     F 03 329 9660     M 027 432 4946