Protecting your floor from the barrage of winter
When it gets cold outside, it’s natural to retreat indoors and get warm. But, does the cold weather and heating affect flooring and if so, how can you minimise the effects?
How does cold weather affect flooring?
Timber floors can add a real wow factor to a room or space, but there are things to consider to keep it looking good and lasting well. When timber flooring is being laid it should be installed above 15℃. Once installed, the general rule is to keep the ambient temperature between 18 – 22℃. If the occupants are comfortable, then the floor will be.
Rubber and vinyl also shouldn’t be fitted below 15℃, although once fitted they are not affected by the temperature or humidity levels like timber is.
Ceramics and carpet are not affected in the same way and could be installed in any temperature, although the person fitting it might have a different view!
Too cold for timber
If the indoor environment becomes too cold, timber flooring can shrink. This can cause gaps between panels or around the edge of a room. It can also cause cracks to appear in the wood, which can’t be fixed.
So, if a building is left unoccupied during the winter, some heating should be kept on or it could cause damage to your floor.
What’s humidity got to do with it?
If we think of wooden flooring like our skin, we can understand how it’s affected by humidity. As a rule, skin prefers a balance of humid and arid climates. Too much or too little humidity are equally as damaging, but in different ways.
If the environment doesn’t have enough humidity, our skin can get dry. The same happens with wooden flooring. During winter months we put heating on to keep us warm. The problem is that this can create a dry atmosphere with not enough humidity. This adds to the problem of shrinking and cracking.
Keep your floor happy
Office environments can be challenging as they often use fan coil units for heating and air conditioning. The fan draws air in then recirculates it, which means moisture is taken out of the air too. If an office is closed during the Christmas holidays for example, humidity levels can become too low. It’s important to keep the environment at a level your floor is going to be happy in.
To avoid these problems, introduce indoor plants as they add moisture. You can also use a humidifier to keep humidity levels within the suggested range of 45 – 55%. Not only will this be good for your timber flooring, but it’s a healthy environment for us too.
Underfloor heating can be a cost-effective way to heat a room, but if used with timber flooring, the surface of the floor shouldn’t exceed 27℃. If the surface gets too hot, it can delaminate the floor and damage it.
Install entrance matting
Another winter faux is snow and grit. Moisture shouldn’t sit on timber flooring and grit can cause scratches when it’s brought in on people’s shoes. Fitting appropriate entrance matting will reduce moisture reaching your floor, and will trap dirt and grit. Make sure that the matting covers a big enough area too. When was the last time you walked into an office or apartment building and wiped your feet?
Entrance matting doesn’t have to be boring or ugly. At Loughton, we help our clients get an entrance matting system that will not only protect their floor finishes, but also help create the right brand image.
We know flooring
It goes without saying that to give your flooring the best start, always get it fitted by a professional.
As the leading UK commercial flooring expert, we know flooring. Loughton Direct, a division of Loughton Contracts, works with clients to help them look after their flooring, whether it’s timber, vinyl, carpet or stone.
To maintain the look of your floor during the winter, speak to one of our professionals about which aftercare products and techniques will best suit your needs. Please call us on 0208 508 9394 for more information.