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Commercial Flooring News

Your Floor Has Too Much Moisture

Craig Pawson, Osmo UK’s wood and finishes specialist, discusses how contractors can turn a complaint into more business:
WOODEN flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its hardwearing surface and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
However, if customers don’t understand that wood is a natural material which reacts to the environment, contractors can often find themselves on the end of the phone listening to a customer complaining about their floor.
Atmospheric conditions affect wood in different ways at various times in the year. This is most notable in the winter when the cold weather, combined with the humidity from the central heating and underfloor heating has an impact on the material.
As wood was once part of a living thing, the wooden trunk of the tree would channel water to keep the tree alive.
Even when the material is ‘dead’, it will still attract moisture.
For example, when the humidity is lower in the home, particularly during the heated winter months, wood excretes the moisture to again match the environment.
This therefore means that wood is prone to swell and shrink if the humidity of a home is not kept at a stable temperature.
The average indoor moisture content is around 8%, but can drop as low as 4% in the winter, and rise up to 16% in the summer – which can cause a significant change.
During the British winter, the floor dries out and shrinks, causing gaps to form. Whilst this is an inevitable situation, it is often mistaken as poor workmanship and contractors are often called upon to fix the situation.
As long as you educate the customer so that they understand why this is happening, you should be able to avoid these calls in the future.
Wood flooring will require maintenance from time to time to preserve the woods characteristics and durability. Varnishes and oils are the perfect way to maintain the cosmetic appearance of the wood, but products and measures should also be taken to protect the physical structure and integrity, essential if an installation is to remain sound.
These finishes should be applied when the floor is installed, but there does come a time when it needs to be reapplied.
While contractors don’t look forward to calls of customers complaining, it can present a perfect time to upsell your services. This is particularly useful in winter, as it is often the most quiet time of the year and new business is welcomed.
Every solid wood flooring requires refinishing at some point and what better time to suggest it, when the client is already on the phone to you.
The winter months see homeowners drag in water, salt, grit, mud, sand and even snow. A thorough sanding and refinishing will add a protective finish to the floor and act like a seal to save the wood from these elements.

If done correctly, sanding and finishing can easily last for a decade or more if the floor is properly maintained throughout.
Whilst homeowners could be put off with the idea as it could be seen as a lot of upheaval, it is a necessary process if they want the floor looking in top notch condition.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at