During the winter, even the most carefully installed wood floors tend to dry out and shrink. The floor behaves that way because of wood’s relationship with moisture in the air. Air with a low moisture content, or low relative humidity (RH), causes wood to lose moisture. When wood loses moisture, it shrinks. To control winter-related shrinkage of flooring and the gaps there are basically six options.
People can be surprisingly opinionated about which type of flooring they prefer. Some crave the comfort of a plush carpet, while others prefer the look of a shiny hardwood floor. As with many other things, folks seem to be sure of what they like to walk on.
When you’re shopping for new flooring, however, it’s important to consider every factor of your decision. Take vinyl flooring for instance. While many people think of it as a cheaper alternative to other types, some of our customers decide on vinyl for completely different reasons.
You don’t tend to think about your home’s flooring unless something goes wrong. Have you ever had a pet leave their business on the carpet, and even after using some sort of cleaner, that stain still bugged you? Or, perhaps, with a carpet, it faded in parts where the sun hit it daily, and/or got torn, worn or just plain outdated? It happens. Meanwhile, carpets tend to aggravate people’s allergies because they’re dust collectors.
New Floors Inc of Cape Cod recommends going with wood floors. They are attractive to the eye, long-lasting and definitely durable. Wood floors can literally last hundreds of years.
During the winter on Cape Cod we can get a lot of rain, sleet, and snow so we usually use salt to keep it all from freezing. Salt crystals can act like sandpaper to a floor, dulling a floor’s surface or damaging a finish. And once the surface is damaged, the underlying materials can be damaged or stained by water and other foreign matter that soaks in. First line of defense: Immediately remove water droplets that may contain salt. For that, I keep a Swiffer-type mop handy, outfitted with rectangles of old terry-cloth towel, which I can wash and reuse. To pick up salt that’s dried onto floors without scratching the finish, you’ll first need to spray the floor with warm water, or water mixed with a splash of vinegar. Let the liquid sit for a minute or two, and wipe it up with a dry towel on your mop.
If you don’t know what floor will fit your house better, here is very brief, but useful, overview of the most commonly used flooring materials.
There are several different options:
A) Hardwood – A durable material which can be buffed or sanded to renew its look. After being sanded, hardwood can be stained to add color to it. Hardwood darkens with time (5-10 years) though the darkening is gradual and mostly unnoticed. Hardwood floors are considered a long lasting investment since it increases the value of the house by an average of 6%. While hardwood is a long lasting product, it’s pretty easy to scratch; although with proper care it can stay unscathed for a long period of time. Additionally, the material moves during the warm and cold seasons (mainly because of a humidity), which might create some gaps between boards, or alternately, cupping or buckling. If the floors are maintained properly, however, neither gaps nor buckling or cupping appear.
There are many reasons to install your new flooring in the winter; here are a few of them…
1. Winter dryness means less moisture will get trapped underneath hardwood flooring.
Here at New Floors, we recommend installing wood flooring in extremely dry conditions for a couple of very important reasons. First, if the underlying concrete slab or subflooring is moist during installation, it is possible for the floorboards to buckle and warp over time. In addition, mold and mildew thrive in damp subflooring. Even though interior air is often dryer in the winter than in the summer, here on Cape Cod we tend to have plenty of moisture all year long. Therefore, you want to be especially careful about preparing the area where your floor will be installed. We also recommend running a dehumidifier if you’re unsure as to whether your subfloor is dry enough or not.
We all want floors in our home that look great, but sometimes there are other factors which are just as important. If you have a busy home with pets, kids and guests then you need a floor that can stand up to the invasion of shoes and dirt. If you are preparing a property for rental you want a floor that you can install and forget about. And if you are on a budget you’ll want to know that your investment is going to last. Wood products are known for their natural beauty, but when selecting a type of wood for your next flooring project, it is important to also consider the level of durability by understanding the difference between wood types. Each type and species of wood has an individual structure that creates unique physical properties that determine how suitable they are for different projects.
- It’s Natural and Safe
Cork Flooring is a completely natural flooring product, largely unchanged by processing. As far as its features and innate benefits are concerned, no man-made material can substitute or replace cork.
Cork is naturally fire resistant and it does not release any toxic gases on combustion, and cork is an anti-static surface.
It’s used by NASA as an insulator on space shuttles and unmanned rockets. (A ¼” thick layer of cork, for example, is used on the Delta II rocket — the Mars Rover II — to prevent rocket fuel from becoming too hot during engine ignition.)
A word of caution, never let your contractors install your new floor as soon as the cartons arrive at your home. Any new floor, whether it’s hardwood, engineered wood, or laminate, needs to sit in your house for at least 48 hours in the room it will be installed in order to acclimate or to become accustomed to a new climate or conditions.
For example, if you live in the Southwest where it’s very dry, and decided to take a vacation exploring the rain forest in Brazil where’s it’s intensely humid, it might take you a few days to get used to, or get acclimated to, your new environment.
A lot of the homes on Cape Cod are summer homes. If you’re one of the people we welcome back every year, you might winterize your home before you leave. Here are 11 tips and tricks to winterizing your home efficiently and cost effectively.
1. Clean Your Gutters
You’ve heard it before, but we can’t stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home’s gutters — by hand, by scraper or spatula, and by a good hose rinse — so that winter’s rain and melting snow can drain. Clogged drains can form ice dams, in which water backs up, freezes and causes water to seep into the house, the Insurance Information Institute says.