VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds) are the chemical substances (including both man made and naturally occurring chemical compounds) that evaporate into the air from certain solids or liquids as they dry at room temperatures. Harmful VOC’s typically may not be acutely toxic for humans but have compounding long-term health effects.
Down here in New Zealand, we’re getting a reputation for having harsh UV rays.
A recent Houzz article mentioned that: "The combination of low ozone, distance from the sun, lack of pollution and high surface reflections (all that water!) means that our peak UV rays are some 40 per cent greater than comparable latitudes in the northern hemisphere.” – 13 Smart Ways to Minimise Sun Damage In your Interiors.
This means that our car bonnets and precious skin are not the only things we should be concerned about. Timber flooring often bears the brunt of this damage which is known as ‘aging’ or ‘weathering’. Prolonged and direct UV exposure can often result in the tone of your floor softening or accelerating the darkening of wood colours.
The combination of low ozone, distance from the sun, lack of pollution and high surface reflections (all that water!) means that our peak UV rays are some 40 per cent greater than comparable latitudes in the northern hemisphere.” – 13 Smart Ways to Minimise Sun Damage In your Interiors
However, there are some ways that you can reduce the effects of sun damage. Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds, outdoor awnings or UV treated windows/doors are ways to slow down any colour changes and help to control the gap widths between boards.
Use Curtains + Blinds
Sheer curtains fabrics can soften the sun light that reaches your flooring and adds some extra protection especially in north facing rooms that are exposed to more sunlight. The bonus is added privacy during the day without completely blocking out the glorious daylight. Keeping blinds or curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day will make sure that sun exposure will not change your floor colour prematurely.
Consider UV Films
Some window films can substantially reduce the amount of UV rays that enter your home, without hindering your views. Make sure to check which companies promise solar protection and not just a tinted window.
Open up Your Living Space
Installing outdoor awnings not only means visibly opening up living areas in your home but helps to block those damaging rays off the windows or doorways to your beloved timber floor!
Change the Furniture Layout
Regular rotation of your furniture and rugs is not only a quick and inexpensive option but allows the floor to age more uniformly than developing patches of differing colours. This could be as simple as moving a rug or moving a sofa to the other side of the room.
You may have purchased a home with existing timber flooring or maybe you’re installing new flooring. While it is possible to minimise the suns effects and prolong the colour of your floor through the above suggestions, it is expected that all timber floors will fade over time from UV exposure.
This direct sunlight can lead to gapping or cupping of the floor boards (board edges being higher than the centre of the board). Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds or UV treated windows and doors is an effective way to slow down any colour changes, control the gap widths between boards and reduces the direct heat from north facing rooms that are exposed to a lot of sun.
Air Temperature and Humidity
Changes in humidity is another contributor to wood floors potentially swelling, shrinking, cupping or gapping between boards. Using a dehumidifier or similar systems will assist in achieving a consistent humidity level but aim for an Average Relative Humidity of around 40-70% and an average indoor temperature between 18-25 degrees celcius. This indoor average should not exceed 35 degrees celcius.
Avoid leaving rooms with timber flooring locked up for long periods of time during warmer weather. Any wood flooring requires some air circulation to prevent boards from shrinkage. If you are out for the day or plan to be away on holiday. An easy measure to prevent this is ensuring that the house is ventilated during this time. Oven like conditions can be created when houses are closed up and this is where you may start to see signs of board shrinkage, splitting and cupping in your flooring.
Preferably, the underfloor heating should be turned on 2 weeks before the timber flooring is laid. Once the flooring is installed, the concrete SLAB temperature should never exceed 27 degrees Celsius!!
Ideally the slab temperature should sit around 24 - 25 degrees Celsius. Once the floor has been finished it is best to slowly alter the temperature, moving it either up or down by 1 degrees Celsius per day to begin. A sudden change in temperature will damage your flooring and failing to follow this recommendation, can cause the floor to expand, shrink, split or cup.
For best performance, the heating system should be operating at all times, all year round to avoid the floor cooling and taking on moisture from the environment. If the underfloor heating does not run at a constant temperature all year round, more movement should be expected in the timber flooring, with gaps appearing and closing up from season to season.
We are your expert timber flooring specialists, specialising in solid and engineered wood flooring! If you would like more expert timber flooring advice, contact us!
Opening up your windows and doors is all part of the joy of living by the beach. Salt air, the sun and sea often mean more damage to your home than ones that are nestled in a normal suburbia. But how can you prevent damage to your beautiful timber flooring?
Here are some important tips to prevent damage to your flooring and to prolong the life of your timber floor.
We all know that sand gets everywhere when we’re at the beach. Having mats leading into the home, where everyone can dust off sand is a simple and effective way of significantly reducing sand, dirt and grit from entering the house.
Use a Shoe Basket
Keep your shoes, sandals and jandals outside in a bin or basket near your home’s entrances and perhaps this is a good place for children’s toys like shovels and buckets- instead of ending up on your timber floor.
Ensure All are Dry
If your beach home has an outdoor shower, ask your guests to rinse off and dry before they enter your home. This will help to keep salt water off your floors.
Prevent Sun Damage
With warmer months, we love to have the beach breeze flow through the home to keep things cool, however, prolonged and direct UV exposure can have a detrimental effect on your floor. This can often result in the tone of your floor softening or accelerating the darkening of wood colours. This is known as ‘aging’ or ‘weathering’.
Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds, outdoor awnings or UV treated windows/doors is an effective way to slow down any colour changes, control the gap widths between boards and reduces the direct heat from north facing rooms that are exposed to a lot of sun.
Small particles like sand and grit can act like sandpaper which can scratch and dull your floor’s finish. Regularly vacuuming with a soft broom attachment or sweeping with a slightly damp cloth will remove these particles from your floor and reduce the likelihood of unnecessary scratches.
Just like most purchases today that have specific cleaning recommendations; timber flooring is no different. It is vital to clean your wood floor with the recommended flooring cleaner.
There are so many different types of flooring finishes that you need to make sure that you are cleaning with the right product. We ensure to send our clients their first cleaner free, so they are familiar with the brand and products that they should be using to care for their floor.
These are just a few tips to help prevent damage to your flooring, check out our other blog article about choosing the best flooring for coastal homes to see how your floor choice can make beach side living a little more breezy...
Need to repair the timber flooring in your beachside home? Speak to us about your options by emailing us at office @ timberfloor dot nz
Living in New Zealand, we are surrounded by an abundance of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! While living by the beach has many joys, your selection of timber flooring can either add to your joy or start to diminish it.
Here are some tips on choosing the best floor for your coastal home, to ensure the longevity and durability of your stunning wooden floor.
We love to hear what ideas our clients have, so speak to us about your home’s design and see what kind of stunning floor suits you best! We are Auckland's flooring experts and timber and wood are our forte!
Email or call us today!
Although not a common problem, this is a problem that affects polyurethane finishes and can occur soon after a timber floor is finished. And with long term effects! The only way to remove ghosting is a total re-sand and finish!! 😲😱👎
Here are some images that we have pulled from the web, that demonstrate the damage of "Ghosting" on timber flooring.
How can you prevent this issue?
It is very important that you do not walk on the floor with wet feet or get water on the floor for 7 days. Also, do NOT walk on the floor with shoes for a minimum of 24 hours up to 48 hours after. The floor can be walked on ONLY in socks.
Over time as the coating darkens with UV, these marks show up as a lighter cloudy appearance. Sometimes imprints only become obvious after one year or more!
So, taking precautionary care and following maintenance instructions for your new floor, will ensure you have a great floor now and into the distant future!
We are Auckland based flooring experts, speak to us about your wood flooring enquiries!
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FAQ: What's the Best Flooring for Bathrooms and Wet Areas?
Flooring Advice: Timber Flooring + Indoor Plants
Childsafe Flooring: What's on the Market?
HOW TO: Minimising UV Sun Damage to Your Timber Floor
FAQ: How Does Timber Flooring Respond to Heat?
HOW TO: Caring for Beachside Timber Flooring
FAQ: What is Ghosting and How to Prevent it
FAQ: What are VOC's? Are there any alternatives?