Managing Water Damage for Engineered Timber Flooring: When to Replace vs. Repair

Engineered timber flooring is prized for its aesthetic appeal and resilience, but it is susceptible to water damage in severe flooding situations. Understanding when your flooring can be salvaged or must be replaced is crucial for maintaining the integrity and appearance of your floors. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the aftermath of water damage, with an emphasis on optimizing for SEO to ensure this information reaches those in need.

When Replacement of Engineered Timber Flooring is Necessary

1. Prolonged Water Exposure: Flooring that has been submerged for an extended period typically absorbs too much moisture to be effectively restored. Water weakens the adhesive bonds and can cause significant swelling and warping of the boards.

2. Contaminated Water Damage: If the flooding involves gray or black water (generally from rivers, sewers, or industrial run-off), the risk of contaminants and bacteria not only damages the floor but can also create health hazards. In these cases, complete replacement is advisable.

3. Subfloor Damage: Engineered floors installed over particleboard or plywood subfloors that have been soaked are likely compromised. These materials often swell and deteriorate when wet, making them structurally unsound.

4. Visible Mold and Mildew: If mold or mildew has developed underneath or on the surface of the flooring due to moisture exposure, replacing the entire section is necessary to prevent health risks and further spread.

Situations Where Engineered Timber Flooring Can Be Salvaged

1. Quick Water Removal: If standing water is quickly removed and drying techniques are employed promptly, the chances of salvaging the floor increase significantly. Use commercial-grade dehumidifiers and fans to accelerate the drying process without causing additional damage through direct exposure.

2. Minor Water Penetration: Floors that have experienced minimal water exposure, where the water has not penetrated beneath the surface layer, can often be dried and repaired. Surface-level issues such as minor warping or discoloration can sometimes be corrected through sanding and refinishing.

3. Adequate Subfloor Ventilation: If the subfloor is well-ventilated and remains structurally sound despite the flood, the engineered flooring on top may be dried effectively and retained. Ensuring good airflow is key to facilitating the drying process.

4. Limited Area of Impact: When damage is localized to a small area of the flooring, it is often possible to replace just the affected sections. Matching new boards to existing flooring can be a feasible solution that preserves the majority of the original installation.

For homeowners and professionals dealing with the aftermath of water damage to engineered timber floors, understanding these key distinctions between when to replace and when to repair can save significant time and resources. If you’re facing decisions about your flooded engineered wood flooring, Vienna Woods offers expert advice and a wide range of high-quality replacement options. For more specific information and advice, you can contact us here.

How to Deal with Scratches and Dents in Timber Flooring

Timber flooring, with its natural beauty and durability, is a popular choice for many homes and businesses. However, it’s not immune to scratches and dents, which can mar its appearance. Understanding how to effectively deal with these imperfections is crucial for maintaining the aesthetic and longevity of the flooring.

 

Understanding the Type of Timber Flooring

Before addressing the repairs, it’s essential to identify the type of timber flooring you have, as the repair process can vary significantly. The two main types are oiled and lacquered floors.

  • Oiled Floors: These floors have an oil finish that penetrates the wood, offering a natural look. They’re easier to repair at a small scale because the oil can be reapplied locally.
  • Lacquered Floors: These have a protective coating that sits on top of the wood, creating a glossy and hard finish. While they’re more resistant to damage, repairs often require refinishing a larger area to blend in seamlessly.

Dealing with Scratches

For superficial scratches, a simple DIY solution can often be effective. You can use a wood marker or wax crayon that matches the floor’s color to fill in the scratches.

For small scratches in oiled floors, treating scratches can be as simples as applying a small amount of maintenance oil with a clean cloth, then buffing until dry.

For deeper scratches, especially in oiled floors, sanding the affected area and reapplying oil may be necessary.

Lacquered floors with deep scratches might require the damaged plank to be sanded down and then refinished with lacquer. It’s crucial to ensure the new lacquer matches the rest of the floor.

 

Fixing Dents

Dents are trickier as they represent actual damage to the wood. For minor dents in oiled floors, steaming the area can raise the grain, but this should be done by a professional, as steaming a timber floor can damage the protective finish.

In lacquered floors, larger dents usually necessitate the replacement of the affected plank. This process can be complex and might require professional help, especially to ensure the new plank matches the existing floor in terms of colour and finish.

Smaller dents can be treated with wax repair.

 

Professional Help and Maintenance

For significant damage, seeking professional help is advisable. Professionals can assess the extent of the damage and suggest the best course of action, whether it’s repair or replacement.

Regular maintenance can prevent scratches and dents. Use furniture pads, regularly sweep or vacuum the floor, and immediately clean up spills. Placing rugs in high-traffic areas can also be beneficial.  If the floor has an oil finish, then regular maintenance can ensure longevity.

 

Online Resources

For more detailed guidance, you can refer to the following online resources:

  1. Oiled Floor Care Guide
  2. Lacquered Floor Care Guide 

Maintaining timber flooring requires knowledge of the type of flooring and appropriate repair techniques. Regular maintenance, coupled with timely repairs, can ensure the longevity and beauty of your timber floors. For extensive damage, professional services are recommended.

Are Timber Floors a Good Choice with Pets?

Timber floors can be a good choice with pets, but there are certain considerations to keep in mind before making a decision. Here are some pros and cons to consider when it comes to having timber floors in a home with pets:

**Pros:**

1. **Durability:** High-quality hardwood timber floors can be quite durable and resistant to scratches and dents. Some wood species are harder than others and can better withstand the wear and tear that comes with pet activities.

2. **Easy to Clean:** Timber floors are relatively easy to clean, and pet hair and dander can be easily swept or vacuumed. Accidents can also be cleaned up more easily than on carpets.

3. **Hypoallergenic:** Timber floors are hypoallergenic compared to carpets, which can trap allergens and pet dander. This can be beneficial for both your pet’s health and your own.

4. **Aesthetic Appeal:** Timber floors can add a warm and timeless aesthetic to your home, potentially increasing its value.

**Cons:**

1. **Scratches:** While hardwood floors can be durable, they can still get scratched by pets’ claws, especially if the wood is softer. Regular trimming of your pet’s nails can help mitigate this issue.

2. **Slippery Surface:** Some pets, especially those with little traction on their paws, may find timber floors to be slippery, leading to potential accidents or difficulty in getting around.

3. **Moisture and Stains:** Timber floors are sensitive to moisture, and pet accidents or spills can lead to staining or warping if not cleaned up promptly. Proper sealing and maintenance are crucial.

4. **Noise:** Pets walking on timber floors can generate more noise compared to carpeted floors, which might be a concern in multi-story homes or apartments.

5. **Maintenance:** Timber floors require regular maintenance, including periodic refinishing to maintain their appearance and protect them from wear and tear.

**Tips for Choosing Timber Floors with Pets:**

1. **Choose Harder Wood Species:** Opt for hardwood species that are known for their hardness and durability, such as oak, maple, or hickory.

2. **Consider Finishes:** Choose a finish that offers good scratch resistance and durability, such as a matte or satin finish.

3. **Use Rugs and Mats:** Place area rugs or mats in high-traffic areas and under your pet’s food and water bowls to provide extra protection for the floor and better traction for your pet.

4. **Keep Nails Trimmed:** Regularly trim your pet’s nails to help prevent scratches on the timber floor.

5. **Wipe Up Accidents Quickly:** Accidents should be cleaned up promptly to prevent staining and warping of the wood.

Timber floors can work well with pets, but it’s important to choose the right type of wood, finishes, and maintenance routines to ensure they remain in good condition. If you’re concerned about potential issues, you could also explore other flooring options like laminate or tile, which can mimic the appearance of timber while offering different benefits.

Oiled Floors Care Guide

There are two different types of oiled floors: hardwax oiled and UV oiled. Hardwax oiled requires more frequent oiling. UV oiled means that the oil has been applied and cured under UV light to make it more durable. UV oiled floors do not need oiling postinstallation.

HARDWAX OIL FINISH – QUICK GUIDE

  • Oil after installation – vacuum, wash and oil as soon as possible after installation
  • Oil annually to feed the wood and maintain protection against staining
  • Top up oil in high-traffic or dry areas as needed
  • Spot treat scratches with oil
  • Never use solvents, chemicals, steam mops or excessive water (damp mop only)
  • Use a floor ‘soap’ for oiled floors only
  • Do not rub the floor hard – the oil finish may be removed

Purchase suitable floor soaps here. 

HOW TO OIL THE FLOOR

  1. Vacuum/sweep floor. Do not introduce any moisture to the floor until Maintenance Oil has been applied.
  2. Wash floor using a damp mop and Floor Soap solution. Allow to dry.
  3. Apply Maintenance Oil according to our instructions (separate sheet) – we recommend Ciranova Maintenance Oil which can be applied with a standard microfibre mop. This should be done at least annually to protect the floor surface, or more often if necessary, in high traffic areas or if the wood is looking dry. See tutorial video: https://vimeo.com/146767775
  4. 1 litre of Maintenance oil covers approximately 100m2.
  5. Oil takes 6-12 hours to dry fully but can be walked on immediately with socks. Good airflow helps, humidity may slow drying.

Do not use water or cleaning solutions on floor for the first 10 days after maintenance oil application; take care to ensure the floor surface is kept free from dirt and moisture during this time. Vacuum/sweep floor only during this time.

Purchase Maintenance Oil here // Purchase suitable floor soaps here. 

HOW TO OIL THE FLOOR WITH ADMONTER MAINTENANCE OIL

  1. Admonter maintenance oil (shake well before use) to be used sparingly (1 litre is sufficient for approx. 70 – 100 m2).
  2. Distribute the oil evenly with the use of an oil-sponge, soft cloth or spray can. The quantity of maintenance oil applied
  3. may vary due to the different absorption of the wood.
  4. Polish the floor using a polishing machine and a white pad.
  5. Buff off with cotton cloths applied over the white pad.
  6. Small areas can be treated by hand using a white polishing pad or a soft cloth.
  7. Polish thoroughly.
  8. Do not apply the oil thickly.
  9. Ensure an even distribution of the oil in order to avoid differences in the overall shine once the floor has dried.
  10. Allow the floor to dry for approx. 24 hours, taking extra care during this period to prevent any contact with moisture.

Note: this is best done by a flooring installer or experienced technician

Purchase Admonter Maintenance Oil here. // Purchase suitable floor soaps here. 

NORMAL CARE (10 days after oil applied and thereafter):

  1. Vacuum/sweep floor
  2. If dirty/sticky/dull, wash with damp mop and Floor Soap for oiled floors (we recommend & supply Ciranova or Admonter). Use approx. 1 cap per litre of warm water for Admonter or Ciranova floor soaps.

Purchase suitable floor soaps here. 

TREATING STAINS

  1. Vacuum/sweep floor
  2. Wash floor with damp mop and Floor Soap solution, allow to dry
  3. If stain persists: Dilute a small amount of Floor Soap with water 1:1, use a cloth to wipe the stained area with this solution in the direction of the wood grain. Allow to dry.
  4. If stain persists: Use a microfiber cloth to spot-apply straight Floor Soap in the direction of the grain. Wipe away excess.
  5. If stain persists: Use a green Scotch pad to gently rub Floor Soap into the stained area in the direction of the grain. Wipe away excess.

Please note: Frequent staining may indicate the need for an application of Maintenance Oil (this should be applied annually for oiled floors and bi-annually for UV oiled floors).

Regular oiling of your floor will protect and feed the wood while enhancing its natural patina. Oiled floors acquire character over time and, with the correct care and maintenance, never require refinishing. Vienna Woods provide a floor oiling service – please call or email us to book a time.

SCRATCH TREATMENT

  1. Buff a small amount of maintenance oil into the scratch using a cloth. Wipe away excess and allow to dry
  2. To repair especially deep scratches, contact Vienna Woods on 09 523 1839.

UV OIL FINISH – QUICK GUIDE

  • No need to oil after installation
  • Oil every 18-24 months to feed the wood and maintain protection against staining
  • Top up oil in high-traffic or dry areas as needed
  • Spot treat scratches with oil
  • Never use solvents, chemicals, steam mops or excessive water (damp mop only)
  • Use a floor ‘soap’ for oiled floors only
  • Do not rub the floor hard – the oil finish may be removed

All other cleaning care etc. is the same as for hardwax oiled floors, with the exception of oiling regularity.

 

Purchase Maintenance Oil here // Purchase suitable floor soaps here. 

ALL OILED FLOORING DOS AND DON’TS

Oil is a traditional finish for wood flooring and is widely accepted to be the most attractive finish. Natural oil gives the wood a soft, natural sheen that mellows and improves with age and wear. Although the wood is no longer growing, it is a natural material which responds to light, humidity, temperature and wear.

DO

  • Expect some movement in your floor. It will expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Expect the colour of your floor to change slightly. This is a normal response to UV light. Move rugs if necessary, to allow the colour to even or refrain from putting down for 6-12 months until colour has settled.
  • Remove dirt and grit by vacuuming and sweeping regularly. This reduces micro-scratches.
  • Clean up spills immediately with a water-dampened cloth or mop. Water or oils may stain the floor.
  • Keep a bottle of floor soap solution pre-mixed somewhere handy for cleaning up spills.
  • Wash your floor by mopping with the specified cleaner to maintain the oil finish.
  • Replenish the protective oil coating regularly – we recommend an annual application of Maintenance Oil.
  • Use a door mat at exterior doors.
  • Ensure that mats and rugs have natural material backings (synthetics and rubber may discolour oil finishes).
  • Put felt pads/glides under furniture legs and change these regularly to prevent scratches. We recommend www.flexifelt.co.nz – use the code VIENNA5 for 5% discount. These stick very well and are superior to standard felts.
  • Contact us on 09 523 1839 or support@www.viennawoods.co.nz if you have any questions or concerns.

DON’T

  • Steam clean/ steam mop your floor. This will damage both the wood and the finish.
  • Use dusting sprays or other household cleaners on your floor.
  • Expose the floor to excessive water/moisture. No wet mopping, only damp.
  • Put pot plants directly on the floor. A trivet/stand will allow much better air circulation.
  • Scrub the floor aggressively. This may remove the finish.
  • Do not attempt to sand off the finish without contacting us first.
  • Wear stiletto heels on the wooden floor. These may crack, dent or scratch the finish.
  • Drag heavy furniture over the floor

Matt Lacquer Floors Care Guide

QUICK GUIDE

  • No annual maintenance required
  • Scratches will build over time, requiring the floor surface to be refinished
  • Vacuum or sweep the floor regularly.
  • Mop the floors regularly – weekly or fortnightly.
  • Use floor cleaner for lacquer or polyurethane floors only, such as Ciranova Hard Floor Fresh or Bona.
  • Never use solvents, chemicals, steam mops or excessive water (damp mop only)
  • Do not rub the floor hard – the oil finish may be removed

HOW TO CLEAN THE FLOOR

  1. Vacuum/sweep floor.
  2. Wash floor using a damp mop and floor cleaner (10ml per 1 litre of warm water).

DOS AND DON’TS

The durability and wear resistance of any wooden floor is highly dependent on regular and correct care and maintenance which, if carried out correctly, will add years of life to your floor!

DO

  • Expect some movement in your floor. It will expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Expect the colour of your floor to change slightly. This is a normal response to UV light. Move rugs if necessary, to allow the colour to even or refrain from putting down for 6-12 months until colour has settled.
  • Remove dirt and grit by vacuuming and sweeping regularly. This reduces micro-scratches.
  • Clean up spills immediately with a water-dampened cloth or mop. Some substances may discolour your floor.
  • Use the correct floor cleaner – we recommend and supply Ciranova and Bona products.
  • Use a door mat at exterior doors.
  • Put felt pads/glides under furniture legs and change these regularly to prevent scratches.
  • We recommend www.flexifelt.co.nz – use the code VIENNA5 for 5% discount. These stick very well and are superior to standard felts.
  • Contact us on 09 523 1839 or support@www.viennawoods.co.nz if you have any questions or concerns.

DON’T

  • Steam clean/ steam mop your floor. This will damage both the wood and the finish.
  • Use household cleaners, detergent or methylated spirits cleaners on your floor.
  • Expose the floor to excessive water/moisture. No wet mopping, only damp. Moisture can compromise the polyurethane near knots, causing the filler in knots to come out. Board edges may discolour.
  • Put pot plants directly on the floor. A trivet/stand will allow much better air circulation.
  • Wear stiletto heels on the wooden floor. These may crack, dent or scratch the finish.
  • Drag heavy furniture over the floor

TREATING SCRATCHES

Ciranova Unicare X-Matt may be used to add a protective film to your lacquered floor and to minimize micro-scratches. It can be buffed to a shine if desired. Needs removing and reapplying every 6-12 months. Deeper scratches may be treated with a furniture wax stick in a similar colour.

Ciranova Maintenance Oil DIY guide

VERY IMPORTANT!!!

Dispose of any oil-soaked cloths or micro-fibre mop heads immediately afterwards by putting them in a plastic bag, soaking with water and then placing in an outdoor bin. Oil soaked cloths not treated this way can spontaneously combust when exposed to oxygen.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Sponge mop to clean floor & bucket
  • Micro-fibre mop (Browns Dust Uno from Mitre 10 Mega) to spread oil
  • Plastic spray bottle (Pams garden spray bottle from New World supermarket, or similar)

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Vacuum and mop floor clean with recommended oiled floor cleaner from Vienna Woods. Wait for the floor to dry.
  2. Shake maintenance oil well, then pour a little bit into the spray bottle. Set spray dispenser onto ‘squirt’ (not the fine mist setting).
  3. Squirt the oil onto the floor – a little bit goes quite a long way. Take care not to get the oil on skirting etc. You can apply oil around furniture if you’re unable to move some heavy pieces of furniture. Aim to spread a light coating on the wood surface – it should be thinly covered by the oil, but not applied too thick or it may not dry. Spread in the direction of the wood grain.
  4. Apply firm pressure on the mop to spread and buff the oil in evenly.
  5. Oil should dry in 2-6 hours depending on humidity. In the meantime, only walk on it in socks to avoid marks such as shoe prints setting in the oil. Move furniture back a day or two later if possible.
  6. Do not wash the floor for 8-10 days after to allow the oil adequate curing time. 1 litre of oil should cover up to approx. 100m2 depending on the texture of the wood.

FREQUENCY

Apply maintenance oil every 12 months or if you notice floor is becoming more susceptible to staining. Other signs the floor may need oiling is if it looks very dry or faded. Top up heavy traffic areas as needed.

GOOD TO KNOW

Do not try to remove paint residue with solvents or harsh cleaners. Wipe up paint immediately when wet if possible or gently remove with a thumbnail. To remove glue marks from the floor you can rub with your thumb or a dry micro-fibre mop. Oiled floors should be installed after plastering and painting is completed. Always protect your oiled floor from plaster dust or paint with floor protection covering as either substance is difficult to remove from a textured floor. Rubbing oiled floors too hard or using solvents may result in some of the original finish being removed from the floor. Use gentle to moderate force when spot cleaning an area. If in doubt, contact us first before you do anything.

Please contact Vienna Woods if you have any questions on 09 523 1839 or support@www.viennawoods.co.nz