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!
Solid American Oak Flooring with a Custom Stain in 'Antique Brown', with Waterborne Polyurethane
1. Added Warmth
Wood is a wonderful insulator and can play a vital role in maintaining the temperature of a room. Not only does it look warm and have a homely aesthetic, it provides a warmer floor option than other materials such as tiles or concrete, so no more shockingly cold feet when you’re on your coffee mission to the kitchen on cold winter mornings.
2. Added Comfort
Wood flooring is more comfortable to walk on as it’s softer that other flooring materials. This reduces painful issues related to the feet, which comes from prolonged exposure to hard unyielding floors like concrete and tiles.
3. Health Conscious
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has identified indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental hazards for the Western world. Although New Zealand is lagging with its indoor-air quality research, the home environment is an important and vital contributor in peoples’ health because we spend the greatest amount of our time in our homes. (BRANZ Ltd. 2017) Hardwood floors help to achieve an improved air quality in the home, by being less likely to trap fungi, bacteria and dust mites, which in turn, reduces unwanted allergens in your home.
4. Add Value to Your Home
With its timeless appeal, timber flooring has been used as a core material for building homes over the years. Timber flooring is the preferred flooring choice for consumers because of its natural character, environmental sustainability, reputable quality and aesthetics. All of these factors add long term value to your property.
Resources: (BRANZ Ltd. 2017) - Indoor Air Quality in New Zealand Homes and Schools.
Solid timber flooring is 100% hardwood from the top to the base, meaning that the plank is solid wood all the way through.
On the other hand, engineered timber flooring is made up of a 3-6mm top layer of solid hardwood, which is glued to an engineered base of layered ply or birch. The mm's top layer is dependent on the board width and can vary between brands.
What Are The Benefits of Engineered Flooring?
Will I Get More Sands From Solid or Engineered Flooring?
The tongue and groove joint connects together when the flooring is laid. The re-sandable part of solid flooring is measured from the top surface of the flooring to the top of the tongue and groove. This is the same with engineered flooring.
Whether you are sanding solid or engineered flooring, you can only sand down to the tongue and groove joint. The thicker the hardwood layer on your engineered board, the more re-sands you will get. However, bear in mind that the thicker your top layer, the higher the cost.
Can Anyone Install My Engineered Flooring?
We recommend that a qualified flooring installer lay your flooring for you.
What's The Difference Between European Oak and French Oak Flooring?
This refers to the source of the timber as well as where the engineered flooring has been produced.
French Oak flooring is 100% Made in Italy from French Oak. The engineered core is made from marine grade Russian Birch which is sourced from sustainable forests. This flooring product is formaldehyde and solvent free, and has been cultivated from Radiation free zones, making it a very healthy choice for flooring in your home.
Have more questions? Visit our showroom in Rosedale, Auckland or send us an email!
With the ever-changing climate, air conditioning is becoming a popular addition to new homes and renovations. So, can air conditioning affect the performance of your timber flooring?
The short answer is - It depends.
Usually in residential spaces, air conditioning is not used consistently throughout the year. When used like this, no concerns from air conditioning generally arise. Even if a dwelling uses air conditioning on a more consistent basis, it is the average in-service moisture content throughout the year that must be considered. Strive to achieve an average relative humidity level of between 40-70% and an average indoor temperature between 18-25 degrees Celsius, not exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.
In spaces where more extreme and prolonged use of air conditioning occurs, this can result in either overly dry or overly humid conditions*. In these cases, in addition to the natural seasonal changes, air conditioning can either moderate or create more severe conditions. Therefore, with intermittent use of air conditioning, the effects are generally relatively small, and floors perform well.
The degree of movement (shrinkage or swelling) in floor boards, can differ depending on which product is used. Solid wood flooring is generally more sensitive to adverse climatic conditions whereas, engineered flooring is designed and constructed to reduce any potential expansion or shrinkage movement between boards. (The base layers being engineered in a cross-grained arrangement.)
Tip: The temperature conditions that we feel most comfortable in, are usually the conditions in which your floor will best perform.
* Depending on the use of either refrigerated or evaporative air conditioning systems.
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FAQ: How Does Air-Con Affect Timber Flooring?
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