Your Complete Guide To Protecting Hardwood Flooring During Renovation Work
Wood flooring is an extremely durable material, which will last for generations. But that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. To keep it looking its best, it needs to be properly maintained and protected when building work is taking place in your home. Along with knowing how to protect your floor, it’s also worth considering a schedule of works for your renovation project, so everything is completed in the right order.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO INSTALL A WOODEN FLOOR DURING CONSTRUCTION WORK IN YOUR HOME?
The best protection for a wooden floor is not to have other trades working on top of it. There is always a risk of damage, so we always recommend that the installation of the wooden floor takes place towards the end of the project. In an ideal world, this would be at the decorating phase, just before the last coat of paint. The floor can then be covered, to protect it from any stray paint.
If this isn’t possible, then it’s a good idea to make sure all of the wet trades have been completed. This includes plastering and rendering.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR WOODEN FLOOR WHEN DECORATING
Heavy duty cardboard, called ram or buffalo board, is specifically designed to protect wood flooring. This should be used during painting work, as it helps the floor to withstand light impact, small spills and traffic. This high-density cardboard is impregnated with wax, so is water repellent, offering further protection. Black plastic corrugated board should not be used, as it doesn’t allow the floor to breathe. If the floor contains any moisture, the finishing coat of oil or lacquer will stick to the wooden floor. This is a common error and although builders may try to rectify the problem, the floor will need to be repaired by a specialist wood flooring professional. Find out more about our renovation, repair and deep cleaning work here.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR WOODEN FLOOR DURING HEAVY CONSTRUCTION WORK
There may be cases when the flooring has been down for a while and then the building work takes place. In this scenario, it’s a case of protecting the floor to make sure it survives the construction work. Heavy objects falling on the floor, spilt liquids, building materials being dragged along the floor and the footfall from builders, can all potentially damage wood flooring. Although it can be expensive to protect the floor from this potential damage, it will be cheaper and less stressful than having to have the floor fully refurbished and repaired.
The first steps are to fit a layer of felt 2 to 3 mm thick. This is specifically designed for wood flooring. The high-density material allows vapours to travel through and it will protect the floor from serious blows. A 3 mm hardboard or 6 mm plywood is then added along with a layer of high-density cardboard. All joints should be sealed securely with a good quality duct tape. This will ensure that any spilt liquids won’t reach the wooden floor.
Once the building work is complete, the protective layers can be removed and then re-used. The high-density fiberboard shouldn’t be re-used, as there’s a danger of grit and trapped dirt damaging the floor. This environmentally friendly material can be recycled.
If you’d like to find out how you can increase the lifespan of your wooden floor, read our expert blog on the topic.