One of the greatest myths in the flooring industry is that wood flooring doesn’t last long, so we felt obliged to put together this guide. It’s full of tips, tricks and advice to help you get the most of your wooden floors, and restore its good name.
“Buy cheap, buy twice.”
This is a warning, not advice. If you only spend £50 on a car, it would probably break down before you even get it out the dealers and cost you twenty times as much on repairs. It would only make sense to spend more money up front so you save more in the long run. There’s a reason why some floors are considerably cheaper than others, and there’s a reason why you might hear people talk about how wooden floors don’t last – this is not a coincidence.
Different wooden floors provide different levels of strength and durability, and we believe that these are some of the most important factors to buying solid wood flooring and should be considered before even cost. If you’re needing some inspiration, you can check out our most recent post on 7 stunning wood flooring ideas to help you decide.
Advice for before installation
We all work hard for our money and we honestly think that, unless you or someone that can help you has a background in installation, you could be throwing that money away if you try to do it yourself. “Buy cheap, buy twice” doesn’t just apply to the materials, but to the labour as well.
We’ve learnt to always prepare with 10% more wood than is needed for the installation. Since a lot of wood will be cut to make it fit corners and walls, it means there could potentially be a lot of leftover wood that is unusable because of its shape. Preparing extra wood means this won’t be a problem.
It is also vital to make sure that the room is flat, and that there are no present moisture issues that could potentially damage the wood in the long-term. There are specific tools that can help with this, so you no longer need to just rely on guesswork only for the installers to be shocked when they arrive at your house.
Advice for after installation
We’ve learnt a few things over the years that should help if you want really long lasting wooden floors. It might seem simple, but an entrance mat is definitely one of the cheapest options that can save you a lot of money in the long run. The bristles will help capture some of the unwanted grit and stones that could get stuck on your shoes and dirty your floor. These small particles of grit are particularly efficient at wearing away your floors finish and making it less durable.
If you have an oiled floor, you should make sure you always have a supply of oil floor cleaner. Unlike some cleaning products that weren’t specifically designed for oiled floors, this actually nourishes the floor itself instead of wearing it away. We recommend either a dry or close-to-dry mop to rub the spray in, since wood is naturally porous and will absorb moisture. Wet wood tends to swell up and if it’s wet for too long, it may never return to its original state – so make sure to dry as you go.
Try and vacuum your floor, or use a soft brush to collect any abrasive particles that could damage your wood, at least twice a week. For the extreme, you could even ban stilettos or ask your friends and family to leave their shoes at the door and walk around in their socks. This isn’t necessary though, since if you bought good wood, it’ll be exactly that and last a while without this extreme care.
Plywood delamination: explained
Plywood is made up of slices of veneer which are all glued together with heat; the thicker it is the better. Five layers will do the job, but it’s when you get into the double figures of layers that the material becomes truly exceptional and can provide truly long lasting wood flooring. Plywood is good, and that’s exactly why plywood delamination is bad.
The phrase means that the plywood is separating, which can be caused by a manufacturing error, inadequate installation, or insufficient upkeep after it has been installed. As a general rule, the blame usually lies with the manufacturer, but there’s still plenty you can do to keep it from happening to yours.
Spilling a glass of water on your wood floor isn’t the end of the world, but water could potentially be very damaging to your wood if it isn’t dried up fast. Even if you spent big on your floor, moisture is still a very common problem and tends to warp wood, so make sure you clean up spillages as soon as possible.
The glue that holds the plywood together may also be what pushes it apart when spread too thin or too thick – the glue can even retain moisture like wood. Exposed edges can also be a death wish for plywood as all the layers are laid bare, not just the top layer like usual. You can make a conscious effort to avoid the exposed end-grain, or use a barrier coat to protect this further. We recommend the second option.
We’ve discussed how plywood could delaminate, but what can you do to repair it once it has separated? A full replacement of the plywood with new product could be wise depending on your budget, but it is possible to repair even damaged materials. Separations can be glued back into place by applying glue to a knife and sliding it under the layer that is delaminated. If you then push the layers together, this will encourage the slices to stick.
Frequently asked questions about wooden floors
“Which direction should hardwood floor slats go?”
This is a matter of opinion and aesthetics, and direction has little to do with practicality. Some people believe that, if there are windows in the room, then the wooden floors should be pointing towards that. Others also think that, to make a room more welcoming, the wood should be pointing away from the door so you walk with it as you enter.
“How can I protect my hardwood floors from damage while I’m moving?”
You can purchase floor protection that come in rolls which you can spread over the floor to minimise the damage done. Legs of furniture or appliances can be placed into some clean and thick socks, and tape might be needed to keep them in place. If you don’t have any spare socks, you could also just tape up the bottom of the leg so the hard material will no longer scratch and drive into the ground.
“How can I remove Sharpie markings from laminate flooring?”
A cloth and some mineral spirit will make short work of any permanent marker markings, without damaging your floor too much either. We always recommend reading the instructions carefully before you use it, but generally all you have to do is simply douse the cloth in the spirit and then rub the mark away.