You’ve put money and effort into your beautiful new hardwood floor. To get the greatest return on your investment, you must take care of the floor. It is not difficult to do so. In fact, you’ll find that maintaining hardwood floors is easier than taking care of most other types of flooring materials.
BASIC HARDWOOD FLOOR CARE
There are a number of things you can do without touching a mop or broom that will give longer life to your hardwood floor.
Humidity and ventilation are critical considerations for your new wood floor. Relative humidity of 40 to 50% is normally required for a long, trouble-free life. If the humidity rises over 50%, prompt air circulation should be initiated by opening interior doors and windows and by activating the ventilation system. Don’t draw warm, moist air from out doors, however, because excessive humidity will cause the wood to expand.
The summer months are especially critical. Inspect your wood floors regularly. If necessary, turn on the heating system. If less than a 35% humidity level persists, use humidification to prevent excessive dryness and possible wood shrinkage.
When excessive tightening of the floor becomes noticeable, call your flooring contractor or supplier immediately. When unusually wide cracks begin to appear, you should also call your flooring contractor or supplier to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Be sure that your air-conditioning system is operating within the 40 to 50% range of normal relative humidity. Ventilation equipment should be available for year-round use.
Avoid exposing the wood floor to water during periods of inclement weather by protecting your floors at exterior doorways. Floor protection should be checked thoroughly to ensure that no moisture is trapped underneath. Windows and doors should be closed during rainy weather. All leaks must be corrected immediately.
DAILY FLOOR CARE
Wood floors, when properly finished, are the easiest of all floor surfaces to keep clean. And, unlike carpeted or resilient floors that show age regardless of care, wood floors can be kept looking like new, year after year, with minimum care.
Both open-grained and close-grained woods are used in flooring. Heading the list of hard, open-grained woods is durable oak, which is used for an estimated 95% of all wood floors. Other hardwoods include northern walnut, pecan, ash, elm, and chestnut. Among the close-grained woods are maple, birch, beech, Douglas fir, and yellow pine. Since the overwhelming majority of wood floors are hardwood, I’ll cover the daily care specifically required by this type of flooring.
A good rule of thumb for minimum care is to vacuum or dust-mop weekly. An occasional buffing helps to remove scuff marks that may appear in the wax coating. Rewax once or twice a year, or as often as needed in high-traffic areas, with a liquid buffing wax/cleaner combination.
No matter what finish your wood floor has, or what claims the manufacturer makes for the finish, never wash or wet-mop wood floors. Water can seep between the boards and leave dark stains. Sometimes it also can warp the boards.
Always read the label of the products you use. The recommendations made here on care serve as general guidelines for selecting and using floor maintenance materials. Except for any directions on using water on wood, wherever these guidelines vary from the product’s label instructions, always follow the label.
UNDERSTANDING FLOOR FINISHES
As you learned in the last section, there are two principal types of finishes that are used on wood floors: penetrating sealers and surface finishes. Each requires about the same care, but when it comes to removing stains or restoring the finish in heavy-traffic areas, the methods vary It helps, therefore, to know the type of finish that was used on your floors. If you just put the finish on, as described in Section 4, you already know. Maybe you purchased a home with an existing hardwood floor, however. How can you find out what type of floor finish you have?
As a general rule, you can be sure your floor was prefinished at the factory if it has V-shaped grooves along the edges where the boards join and sometimes where the ends butt. Unfinished plank flooring may also have grooved edges, but usually this is a mark of a prefinished floor. Once you have established that the floor was prefinished, the flooring manufacturer can tell you whether or not it has a penetrating, sealer finish.
If the floor has no grooves, it was in all likelihood finished after it was installed by a local craftsmen or a do-it-yourselfer. To determine what kind of finish was used, call the builder, floor finisher, or previous owner, if possible. When in doubt, it is safest to assume that a surface finish was used. Treating a penetrating, sealer finish as though it were a surface finish can do no harm, whereas a surface finish treated as a penetrating sealer is likely to be ground away
MAINTAINING PENETRATING SEALERS
A penetrating sealer is the finish that is recommended for most residential floors. As its name implies, the sealer soaks into the wood pores and then hardens to seal the floor against dirt and certain stains.
At the surface, the sealer delivers a low-gloss satin finish that wears only as the wood wears. Because of this, color may be added to the liquid sealer at the time of application. The eventual effect of traffic will be far less apparent than with other finishes that only coat the surface. When an area does begin to show wear, it can be refinished easily. The new application will blend into the old without lap marks or other signs of repair.
The beauty and wear resistance of wood floor finishes with a penetrating sealer may be further enhanced by wax. A wax coating forms a barrier against the most frequent kinds of abrasion and can be renewed easily.
A penetrating sealer also may be used as an undercoat for surface finishes. It serves as a stain that colors the wood before the surface finish is applied. The surface finish used should be compatible with the penetrating sealer. An unmatched surface coating may peel.
MAINTAINING WATER-BASE AND OIL-BASE FINISHES
Surface finishes include polyurethane, varnish, shellac, and lacquer. The maintenance of these finishes is different from that of penetrating sealers.
Polyurethane is a blend of synthetic resins, plasticizers, and other film-forming ingredients that produces an extremely durable surface that is moisture-resistant. It is the best choice for a kitchen where the floor is exposed to stains and spills. Polyurethane is available in both high-gloss and matte finishes.
Some manufacturers of polyurethane products say no waxing is required. Many flooring experts, however, believe that you’ll get better wear and appearance if you give it the same care as other surface finishes.
Varnish finishes may be high, medium, or low in gloss. Varnish tends to darken with age and is difficult to touch up. It dries slowly. If the quality is good, a varnish finish will provide a highly durable surface. If not, it tends to become brittle, to powder, and to show white scars.
Shellac is a popular finish for floors in houses that are built in certain areas of the country. It dries so fast that two coats can easily be applied in one clay and the floor used 8 hours later. Liquid spills, however, can cause hard-to-remove spots on a shellac finish. The abrasive action of footsteps also creates frictional heat that softens the finish and permits the entry of dirt. Waxing is essential to protect the finish.
Even faster drying than shellac, lacquer requires real skill to apply. It produces a tough, high sheen, but this sheen is difficult to maintain and scuff marks shown easily.
MAINTAINING POLYMER FINISHES
There is a third classification of finishes that has been developed recently that is known as an irradiated polymer. Thus far, it is used primarily in commercial applications. Each brand of flooring that uses a polymer finish has a different maintenance schedule, which is available from the manufacturer.
EASY FLOOR CARE
If your floors are new or newly refinished with either a penetrating sealer or a surface finish, start them off right by applying a liquid buffing wax/ cleaner or a coating of paste wax. The wax will form a protective barrier over the finish and keep out dirt and potential stain-causing matter, so that your floor will stay beautiful and resist wear for a long time.
Liquid buffing wax is easier to use than paste wax and so will probably be used more often. For this reason, many professionals recommend the liquid with these two cautions: the liquid or paste wax must be designated for use on hardwood floors, and the liquid wax must not have a water base. Check the label since some manufacturers recommend their water-based products for wood, while many professionals believe only a solvent-based product should be used. Solvent-based waxes will have the odor of a dry cleaning fluid.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Apply the wax and buff it well, preferably with a 12-inch machine buffer that is available from rental companies. You may want to buff small areas by hand with clean cloths.
Vacuuming is the best way to remove surface dust and dirt before it gets walked into the wax and dulls its luster. Vacuuming also pulls accumulated dust from the grooves of prefinished and plank floors. When floor luster has dulled a bit and scuff marks begin to show, you can restore the original beauty often, without adding new wax, by simply machine or hand buffing.
After 4 to 6 months of wear, inspect your floors closely to see if there’s been a dirt build-up, or if the wax has discolored. If your floors were originally finished in a dark tone, you may see a lightening of the finish in traffic areas. If none of this is apparent, just apply a new coat of wax over the old and buff it well to restore the luster. If such conditions do exist, the following procedures can be followed to correct them.
Use a combination liquid cleaner/wax. Make sure that it has a solvent rather than a water base. For dark floors, choose a buffing wax in a compatible dark color. Spread it with a cloth or fine steel wool. Rub the area gently to remove grime and the old wax, then wipe it clean. Let the solution dry 20 minutes or so and then buff. If dull spots remain after buffing, apply a second coat and repeat.
If your floors were stained, it’s always a good idea to use a colored wax or cleaner to help maintain the original color. Check the floor-care products in your local stores.
MAINTAINING SPECIAL SURFACES
Distressed wood floors have been wire brushed to remove the soft portion of the wood and give it an antique, textured appearance. The resulting uneven surface tends to trap dirt. Recommended care is a regular sweeping with a stiff broom. Follow by vacuuming to pick up the loosened dirt.
Such floors are usually stained a dark color to further convey the aged wood effect. What remains after the wire brush treatment, however, are only the toughest wood fibers. These are somewhat resistant to penetration by the finish color, which means a need for more frequent color renewal. This can be accomplished by using a wax or cleaner/wax combination of the proper color to maintain the original color tone.
Most stains can be prevented or minimized by keeping the floors well waxed and by wiping up any spilled liquid immediately. Here are some first-aid suggestions for common accidents When removing a stain, always begin at the outer edge and work toward the middle to prevent it from spreading.
Dried milk or food Rub the spot with a damp cloth. Then rub dry and rewax.
Standing water Rub the spot with No. 00 steel wool and rewax. If this fails, lightly sand the area with a fine grit sandpaper. Clean the spot and the surrounding area using No. 1 steel wool and mineral spirits or a proprietary floor cleaner. Let the floor dry Apply a matching finish to the floor and feather it out and into the surrounding area. Wax after the finish dries thoroughly
Dark spots Clean the spot and surrounding area with No. 1 steel wool and a good floor cleaner or mineral spirits. Thoroughly wash the spotted area with household vinegar. Allow the vinegar to remain for 3 to 4 minutes. If the spot remains, sand it with a fine grit sandpaper, feathering out 3 to 4 inches beyond the stain into the surrounding area, then rewax and polish.
If repeated applications of vinegar do not remove the spot, apply an oxalic acid solution directly onto the spot. Proportions are 1 ounce oxalic acid to 1 quart water, or fractions thereof.
Caution Oxalic acid is a poison. Use rubber gloves. Pour a small amount directly on the spot and let the solution stand 1 hour. Sponge the spot with clear water. A second treatment may be helpful if the spot refuses to yield.
If a second application of oxalic acid fails, sand the area with No. 00 sandpaper and apply a matching finish. Feather the finish out and into the surrounding floor area. Let dry Buff lightly with No. 00 steel wool. Apply a second coat of finish, let it dry, and then wax. If the spot is still visible, the only remaining remedy is to replace the affected flooring.
Note Oxalic acid is a bleaching agent. Whenever it is used, the treated floor area will probably have to be stained and refinished to match the original color.
Heel marks, caster marks, etc. Rub vigorously with fine steel wool and a good floor cleaner. Wipe dry and polish.
Ink Follow the same procedures as for other dark spots.
Animal and diaper Spots that are not too old may sometimes be removed in the same manner as other dark spots. If spots resist cleaning efforts, the affected flooring can be refinished.
Mold Mold or mildew is a surface condition that is caused by damp, stag nant air. After seeing that proper ventilation is provided for the room, the mold can usually be removed with a good cleaning fluid.
Chewing gum, crayon, candle wax Apply ice to the stain until the deposit is brittle enough to crumble. A cleaning fluid poured around the area, but not on it, soaks under the deposit and loosens it.
Cigarette burns If they are not too deep, steel wool will often remove them. Moisten the steel wool with soap and water to increase its effective ness.
Alcohol Rub with a liquid or paste wax, silver polish, boiled linseed oil, or a cloth that has been dampened barely in ammonia. Rewax the affected area.
Oil and grease Rub on a kitchen soap that has a high lye content, or saturate cotton with hydrogen peroxide and place it over the stain. Saturate a second layer of cotton with ammonia and place it over the first. Repeat until the stain is removed.
Wax build-up Floors that have not had proper care may acquire a wax build-up. Strip all the old wax away with mineral spirits or naptha. Use cloths and a fine steel wool to remove all residue before you apply a new wax. It’s a good idea to perform this complete stripping job every now and then instead of using the liquid cleaner/wax process. Stripping removes all the old wax and dirt, which builds up inevitably over a period of time and partially hides the beauty and color of the wood grain.
Caution Naptha is extremely flammable. Use it only where there is no open flame or danger of spark and provide ample ventilation.
REPAIRING FLOOR FINISHES
Small areas of floors finished with a penetrating sealer can be required successfully without professional help. With special care and skill, you may also be able to repair varnish and polyurethane finishes yourself. Such repair may be necessary after a stain has been removed or there has been water damage. Use steel wool to smooth out the affected boards and feather an inch or two into the surrounding area. Then brush on one or more thin coats of finish. Feather it into the old finish to prevent lap marks. Allow plenty of drying time between coats and then wax well.
Caution Don’t attempt this if you have a lacquer or shellac finish since these are almost impossible to patch successfully For a small, relatively inconspicuous area, you might get by with a steel wool cleaning that is followed by a paste wax. You won’t get an exact match, but it could serve as temporary repair. The alternate is sanding to expose bare wood over the entire room and applying a new finish. Such refinishes will be covered in detail in Section 6.
REPAIRING CRACKS AND SQUEAKS
All the wood in your home will contract or expand according to the moisture in the air. Doors and windows may swell and stick during rainy sea sons. In dry, cold weather, cracks and fine lines or separations may appear in wall cabinets and furniture. This is characteristic of wood because wood is a product of nature and its natural quality is what makes it desirable.
Fig. 5-1: How moisture content affects expansion and contraction, and thus cracks, in hardwood flooring.
Fig. 5-2: Drive finishing nail through pilot holes to nail down a squeak (courtesy National Oak Floor Manufacturers Association).
The same reaction to humidity or the lack of it is happening constantly in your wood floors. Tiny cracks between the edges of the boards may appear when unusually dry conditions are produced by your heating system. This condition can usually be corrected simply by installing a humidifier. With the proper balance of moisture content in the house, both family and floors will benefit from a healthier environment
When interiors become damp in rainy weather, the boards may expand so that the edges rub together and produce a squeak. An improperly fastened floor or subfloor can also cause squeaks.
To correct this situation, first try lubrication. Put a liberal amount of powdered soap stone, talcum powder, or powdered graphite between adjacent boards where the noise occurs. Another method is to drive triangular glazier points between the strips and to use a putty knife to set them below the surface.
If that method doesn’t work, drive 2-inch finishing nails through pilot holes that have been drilled into the face of the flooring (FIG. 5-2). Nails should go through both edges of the boards. Set them with a nail punch and hide them with matching color putty and wax.
If these efforts don’t solve the problems of squeaks or cracks, repairs must be made. Let’s consider how the repairs for these and other hard wood floor problems can be accomplished by the do-it-yourselfer.
Fig. 5-3: Drive a small wedge between the joist and loose board to stop a creaking floor.
Fig. 5-4: Using wood cleats to stop squeaking floors.
Fig. 5-5: Stop squeak by driving finish nails into joists.
COMMON FLOOR REPAIRS
As you have learned, the floors in most homes are composed of two sepa rate layers. The bottom layer is called the subfloor. It might be made of rough tongue-and-groove lumber that is nailed directly to the floor joists, while in others it will run at right angles to the joists. A layer of building paper covers the subfloor to keep out dust and dirt. The finish or hard wood floor is laid over this paper. The finish floor runs at right angles to the subfloor and is nailed to it. The finish floor can be of either planks, blocks, or strips of hardwood.
REPAIRING CREAKING FLOORS
In most cases, a creaking floor is caused by the loosening of the nails that hold the subfloor to the joists. The nails may either pull loose or be loosened by the shrinkage of the wood. Creaking is usually in the subfloor, but will sometimes occur in the finish floor, particularly if the floor was put down before the wood was completely seasoned.
If the creak is in the subfloor and the underside is exposed, as when the flooring functions as the ceiling for an unfinished basement, drive a small wedge between the joist and the loose board (FIG. 5-3). The wedge will take up the play in the board and the noise will stop. If several boards are loose, nail a piece of wood to the joist high enough to prevent these boards from moving down (FIG. 5-4). The nail heads will keep the boards from moving up and effectively end the noise.
In many cases, it is impossible to reach the subfloor without tearing up the finish floor or moving a ceiling. Since neither of these alternatives is feasible, the only alternative is to try to locate the floor joist by tapping on the floor. If a joist near the creak can be located, then 2- or 3-inch finishing nails can be driven through the finish floor and subfloor and into the joist (FIG. 5-5). Drive the nail at an angle and, when it is near the surface of the floor, use a nail set to drive it below the surface of the wood so that you don’t hit the finish floor with a hammer and mar the finish. Make the nail inconspicuous by filling the hole with putty or stain that matches the rest of the floor.
Occasionally, a creaking floor will be caused by a loose board in the finish floor. This board can be located by its movement when weight is placed upon it. Use 2-inch finishing nails and drive them in at an angle. Then use the nail set in the manner just described.
Sometimes, boards in the finish floor warp to such an extent that they pull away from the subfloor and bulge. They can be driven back into place by putting a piece of heavy paper and a block of wood over them and tapping the wood sharply with a hammer. The piece of wood pre vents the hammer from damaging the floor. Take care when doing this, however, for the thin edges of tongue-and-groove boards easily can be split.
Fig. 5-6: Lifting sagging floor with a screw jack and 4 wood members.
REPAIRING SAGGING FLOORS
When a sagging floor is found in a very old house, it is generally because the floor joists and girders have been weakened by rot or insects. In a new house, a weak floor can, in most cases, be blamed on the builder. A floor built on undersized materials and tacked together will be neither substantial nor capable of bearing much weight.
In dealing with a weak and sagging floor, you will first have to raise it to its proper level. If it is the first floor and there is a basement underneath it, then the work is in the range of the do-it-yourselfer. Use heavy lumber and a screw jack to accomplish the work (FIG. 5-6). The size of the lumber should be about 4 x 4 inches. Place one of the 4 x 4 timbers on the basement floor, directly under the sag, and put the screw jack on top of it. This beam will distribute the weight of the floor over a relatively large portion of the basement floor. If the basement floor is of heavy concrete, this step will not be required. Nail a piece of 4 x 4 along the sagging joists. Use a third piece of timber as a vertical beam from the top of the jack to the under portion of the 4 x 4 nailed to the joists. Turn up the jack until the floor is level.
Don’t attempt to bring the floor to a level position all at once. If you do so, you are almost sure to crack the plaster walls and ceiling in the room above. If you raise the jack only a fraction each week, you will avoid doing extensive damage to the room above.
Check the position of the floor with a level. When it is correct, mea sure the distance from the bottom of the horizontal 4 x 4 to the floor of the basement. Cut a piece of 4x4 to this length. ‘Turn the jack up enough to allow this beam to stand on end under the horizontal 4 Make sure that it is perfectly vertical and that it rests firmly on the foot Remove the jack, along with the other timbers, and leave only the one vertical and one horizontal 4x4.
If one entire floor is sagging, it will probably be necessary to use more than one vertical support. In this case, place a vertical 4x under each end of the horizontal beam.
Fig. 5-7 Floor jack.
Another means of raising a floor is to use metal posts that have screw jacks built into them (FIG. 5-7). The post is provided with two plates, one of which rests on the basement floor, while the other fits between the top of the post and the joist or girder that is to be raised. These posts are made so that they can be adjusted to different heights. Once the floor has been brought to the right level, the posts can be left as a permanent support. As before, turn the jack only a small amount each week so that the floor will be raised slowly
When part of the total weight of a floor and the objects on it is sup ported by posts, it is important that each post have the proper footing. Most concrete basement floors are rather thin, so it is often necessary to prepare the floor before you install the posts.
To make a substantial footing for the posts in the basement floor, break up about 2 square feet of the concrete floor at the point where the post is to stand. Do this work with a heavy hammer or a piece of pipe. Once the surface is broken, dig a hole about 12 inches deep and fill it with concrete that is made with 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, and 3 parts coarse aggregate. Level this with the floor and make a smooth surface. Allow about 1 week for the footing to dry before you place the posts on it. Cover the concrete during this period and keep it moist.
Fortunately, most defects are associated with the first floor, so the basement or crawl space underneath it allows for the installation of posts and other kinds of reinforcement. Sagging floors above the first floor level cannot be practically remedied, short of taking up the flooring and making extensive repairs. For this situation, it’s best to call in a good carpenter to do the work.
REPAIRING FLOOR CRACKS
If the wood in a matched hardwood floor is properly seasoned, very few cracks should appear between the boards. Many houses, however, are equipped with plank floors in which cracks of varying size are almost sure to appear between each board. In very old houses, these cracks can be quite large. There are several kinds of plastic fillers, but many of them tend to shrink and crack as they dry A good filler can be made of sawdust and wood glue that has been mixed into a paste. If possible, the sawdust should be of the same wood as the flooring.
Fig. 5-8: Filling flooring cracks with a wood strip (A) and plastic crack filler (B).
Before you attempt to fill a crack, clean it out. Any dirt in it will pre vent the filler from adhering to the wood. Pack the filler in tightly so that it stands slightly higher than the surface of the floor. After it is dry, sand the top to the floor level and apply a little stain to match the finish to the rest of the floor. Over very wide cracks, glue a thin strip of wood and sand or plane it to match the floor surface (FIG. 5-8).
REPLACING FLOORING BOARDS
Wood floors become uneven from excessive wear. This can leave high places, particularly where knots and the heads of nails occur, since these possess a greater resistance to wear. An uneven surface occasionally occurs along the edges of the floor boards, which become raised due to the boards curling up as they warp. If the underlying joists warp and twist, or if there is some settlement of the foundation walls on which these joists rest, the level of the floor may be redistributed.
To replace boards, first study the diagram of a single wood plank floor that is given in FIG. 5-9. The joists are usually about 2 inches wide. The boards, which cross the joists at right angles, are nailed at the centerline of the joist. If the ends of two boards meet in the form of a heading joint on one joist, both boards must be nailed to the joist.
To remove the boards without damage is not easy If one board is to be discarded, you can bore a round hole as near as convenient to the side of the joist and use a keyhole saw and compass saw to cut one board close up to the joists. If the other end of the board runs to a heading joint on another joist, work back along the board. Pry it up at the intervening joist and take it off the joist where it ends.
Fig. 5-9: Using short lengths of wood attached to the side of a joist to repair defective floorboards.
Perhaps only part of the lifted board is defective, in which case you can cut it across to end on a suitable joist, leaving it ready for replacement later. When prying up the board, the nails will most likely be pulled up out of the joist. Rest the board, bottom side up, on a stool or sawhorse and tap the nails back sufficiently for the heads to be gripped by pincers or by the claws of the hammer. Obstinate boards may have to have the nails punched fully into the joist to free the board.
If a heading joint is not conveniently near, the board may have to be cut through at two places in order to remove the defective part. Bore a 1” hole and cut across the board with a keyhole saw.
Find the run of the joists, indicated by the position of the nail heads. On the assumption that they mark approximately the middle of the joist, measure 1 inch to either side of the nail, then square a line across with a square. Mark it with a pencil. Put a fine brad awl through the board about 1/4 inch away from the pencil line, on the free side, then bore a hole. If these dimensions have been correctly established, the joist will be visible and the saw can be put through the cut alongside the joist and across the board. As soon as the cut is long enough, take out the keyhole saw and insert a compass saw or a small crosscut saw and complete the cut.
Beware of water pipes, gas lines, and electric wiring when you cut the boards. They usually run in the space between the joists. When there is a room below the floor where the work is in progress, some guide to the position of pipes and cables can be estimated from the location of lighting and plumbing fixtures in that room.
Having cut the board, the ends of the fixed parts can be trimmed with a sharp chisel to a square edge. If several boards have to be cut away, take them back to the joists that are one or two away to the right or left of the one originally selected for the patch. In other words, break the joints so that a board that extends over a given joist is next to one at which a board ends, and so on. Thus you will not get a weak line of joints running along the same joist.
Fig.: 5-10 Replacing defective floorboards between joists 2 and 3 requires the removing and replacing of all shaded boards in this typical example.
A typical job is shown in FIG. 5-10. The joists are numbered and the floor boards lettered. A heading joint is shown at XX on board B. It is not always practical to make heading joints when you replace the boards. Often, the best thing to do is to support the ends of the replacement boards by nailing or screwing a strong cleat to the side of the joist where the end of the new board will rest. The cleat should be at least 1 1/2 inches thick and about 3 inches wide. Take it halfway along and under the boards that adjoin the one that it will support.
Two boards can be cut through obliquely when they have to be jointed over a single joist. In this instance, it is assumed that both boards can be taken to the bench and cut by a tenon saw to a suitable angle. This makes a neat and sound job, with the nails being driven through the oblique portion. The angle can be marked across the edges of the board with an adjustable level.
REPAIRING BLOCK AND PARQUET FLOORS
Loose blocks in a floor, if there are not many, should be removed. It will then be possible to scrape off the old mastic underneath. Put in fresh mastic, which you can get at hardware stores, and bed in the block. If the defect is extensive, the repairs may be more than an amateur can under take successfully
Parquet floors are glued and then usually screwed into place. Damp ness may cause parts of the design to come loose. In such cases, the cause of the dampness should be found before you attempt a remedy Wood glue can be used to hold the different parts of a pattern together if a whole unit is defective. These diamonds and other designs are bedded upon a piece of low-quality material that has an open weave that helps to hold them together. It will probably be best to unite the various parts of an element first, and then let the glue harden before relaying it to ensure that all joints are firmly set and safe to handle.
Those are the basics of maintaining and repairing new and old hard wood floors. You can see that while repairs can be made by the do-it yourselfer, they are not easy. Therefore, the best insurance against major flooring repair is good maintenance methods performed on efficiently selected flooring.
You may someday need to refinish your new or old hardwood floor, however. Complete instructions on how to do so are presented in Section 6.
Prev.: Finishing Hardwood
Wednesday, 2009-02-11 2:47