Whether you’re about to move into a new home or renovate, you’re going to have to think about your new floor. But when? While it is possible and may seem easier, to fit your floor before you move everything else into the room, it is recommended that you install your wood floor after all of your other cabinets and fittings are in position. A construction or re-modelling project will require many steps which will result in dust and debris. By installing your floor at the end of this project, your new wood floors will be less likely to get dirty or damaged. Let us explain some of the dangers to your wood floor below:
If your home is having windows or doors fitted, or if it is in mid-construction and has no walls or roof, then the interior is exposed to the elements and is at risk of being damaged. Wood floors do not like moisture and if any kind of liquid seeps into your floor, it will cause irreparable damage. It is essential that your home is weather-proof before fitting your floor. It is not recommended to install a wood floor before the windows and doors are fitted.
Plastering is a messy job that not only risks leaving stains on your floor but can also cause moisture damage. Wet plaster itself can harm your floor if it directly touches it. However, when the plaster dries out, the moisture also goes into the air. This moisture can cause your floor to expand which can permanently warp the appearance of your floor. Hence, it is important that any concrete, plaster or foundations have completely dried out before flooring is laid.
Structural work such as plumbing or electrics is often very messy and dusty. These activities also increase the risk of your floor being dented or scratched. Therefore, it is recommended that such works are completed well in advance of the fitting of your wood floor.
It is often debated whether it is better to install fitted units before or after your flooring has been laid. However, if there are any water leaks in your room in the future, it is much easier, and more cost-effective to repair any damage to your wood floor as the cabinets do not have to be removed in order to repair the floor beneath.
Like water and plaster, paint can cause stains and moisture damage to your wood floor. This is why it is recommended to paint your walls before your floor is fitted. However, it is still possible to protect your floor from paint after it has been laid using breathable coverings. It is not advisable to use plastic, paper, carpet or other non-breathable coverings as they will trap the moisture that is usually released by the boards. This will cause future moisture damage to your floor such as cupping, peeling, de-lamination or cracks (to name only a few). Using a natural covering, such as a cotton sheet, may protect your floor from any splashes while reducing the risk of any additional damage. It is also important to clean up any spills as soon as they occur to reduce the risk of stains or discolouration.
Acclimatising Your Wood
Wood floors need to be acclimatised before they are fitted. Due to the fact that wood flooring is a natural product, it expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and humidity levels. This can cause gapping, warping and other disfigurations to your floor. Acclimatisation allows your wood floor to adapt to these factors in its new environment. Wood floors take two weeks to acclimatise and should be done before it is laid. It should also be done in the conditions that it will be fitted in so that the temperatures and moisture levels are as close to normal as possible. This means that all walls and windows should be fitted, plastering and cement work should be done and heating or ventilation systems should be working properly. This ensures that it is no longer gaining or losing moisture content and that it is less likely to disfigure once it is fitted.
What if you can’t wait to fit your floor?
All the reasons outlined above explain why it is recommended to install your wood floor at the end of your project. However, this is not always possible. If you have to fit your floor before the construction or renovation work is complete, it is imperative that you do all you can to protect it.
As stated earlier, covering your floor can protect it from spillages and stains. However, the covering should be a breathable item, such as a cotton cloth, to prevent moisture from being trapped between the floor and the covering.
Protect your floor during your project by regularly sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and removing stains. Try to make sure that your floor does not get wet. Our microfibre mops (which can be viewed here) are excellent for removing dust and other small particles from your floors. Wearing shoe covers can also help stop any particles from being transported around the house.
Moving around heavy furniture or equipment can increase the danger of scratching, denting or cracking your wood floor. When you are putting your furnishings back, it is proposed that you lift everything instead of dragging it across the floor. Placing felt pads under the legs of your furniture will help protect the surface of your floor. Felt pads are an affordable way to protect your floor from this kind of damage. As the name suggests, they are made of felt and are adhesive on one side. They come in a range of sizes and thicknesses so there should be plenty to suit your furniture. At Canadia, we offer these felt pads or we also have our Canadia castor cups. These castor cups are placed at the bottom of the legs of your furniture and have felt underneath which helps protect your floors and keeps your furniture looking neat and tidy. For more information on these products, click here.
To sum up
It is possible but not recommended to fit your wood floor before the rest of your house or room has been completed. Installing your new hardwood floors at the end of the project reduces the risk of damage from dust, debris and moisture caused by the weather, plaster, cement, structural works, paint or other fittings. Leaving time for the wood to acclimatise is also crucial in maintaining the shape and appearance of the floor you have chosen. However, if you decide to lay your floor down first, it is extremely important that you take care, and protect your floor from all of the risks that are associated with construction or renovation. Failure to look after your floor during installation can result in cracks, cupping, splits, de-lamination, bubbles, peeling or many other problems and disfigurations. On the flip side, if you follow these tips and take care of your floor, it is sure to be a focal point in your brand-new home!