FAQs

Have a question about hardwood flooring, or about our company? See below for some common answers.

You should never use anything other than cleaners specifically approved for hardwood floors. Household or chemical cleaners that should NOT be used include: bleach, water, heavy soaps, vinegar. In addition, you should never use oil based cleaners and polishes, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap or other oil soaps. Oil based cleaners in particular can create unevenness in the sheen and leave a buildup residue that compromises the finish and creates problems for a future screen and coat (typically done every 7 years or so on most floors)

Category: Maintenance

We recommend Bona floor cleaning products for all hardwood floors. See our Care/Maintenance guide for more details on cleaning hardwood floors.

Category: Maintenance

Unfortunately, no floor sealer (water base, oil base or otherwise) is immune to scratches from dogs’ toenails, shoes, etc. When it comes to pets, we recommend keeping their nails trimmed as short and neat as possible, and keeping horseplay to a minimum.

Category: Maintenance

Unfortunately, we do not offer painting services.

Category: Process

Yes. When refinishing floors, the drum sander makes slight, unavoidable sander marks up against the perimeter base boards. If new shoe mold is not installed upon completion, these sander marks will need to be touched up with paint. When resanding stair treads, risers and stringers will also need to be touched up with pain.

Category: Process

Yes. Wood flooring should be installed perpendicular to the floor joists for stability. If the floor joists in your home change directions from one section to another, you will need to account for this in planning the layout of your hardwood floors. Whether in a doorway or cased opening, etc., it will likely entail a header strip or transition piece.

Category: Process

Basic refinishing, with oil-base polyurethane, includes two coats. To add more finish depth and wear protection, we always recommend a third coat of oil-base which we are happy to do for a small additional charge. For water-base polyurethane finishes, we typically recommend products from Bona that are a three-coat system.

Category: Process

Wider plank floors (that is, any plank over 4” wide) must be glued in addition to stapled. This adds cost in materials and in labor. However, if your budget allows, wider planks are a beautiful, premium look.

Category: Process

Yes, we can. However, in order to ensure an even finish, we ask that homeowners/contractors arrange for any balusters to be removed during the refinishing process. Removing balusters is not necessary on new construction.

Category: Process

The installation crew will use several saws to cut boards as they install new wood flooring. The crew typically sets up outside for remodels, but in some cases, it’s not reasonable to do so (weather, efficiency, access). When cutting inside, the crew works to contain and minimize dust, but it is not a completely dust free process. Some dusting and cleaning may be necessary upon completion.When sanding ahead of the first coat, the drum sanders (although low-dust) are not completely dust-free. Screening the floors for the final coat creates a very minimal amount of dust. Again, the crew will attempt to minimize dust, but some light cleaning may still be necessary upon completion.

Category: Process

For liability/insurance reasons, our crews do NOT move furniture or personal items on remodel projects. Homeowners/contractors are responsible for clearing all floors of furniture and any other obstructions prior to jobs beginning. Our crews also will not move construction materials, tools or items belonging to contractors or other crews on construction sites.

Category: Process

Shoe molding is usually standard, but some modern designs use only a baseboard and no shoe mold. When installing hardwood floors in new construction, the baseboards and shoe cover the seam of the hardwood flooring as it butts up to the wall. In remodels (when replacing carpet with new wood), the shoe mold is removed (if it was there initially) prior to installing wood. After the wood is installed, sanded and the 1st coat of sealer is applied, new shoe mold is typically installed to cover any potential gap between the hardwood and the baseboard. When resanding/refinishing an older existing wood floor, the shoe mold is similarly removed ahead of time. This allows the floor sander to get all the way up to the baseboards. New shoe mold is then installed to again cover any potential gap between the wood and the baseboard, and also to cover any sander marks on the baseboard that are an unavoidable result of sanding down the floors.

Category: Products

For rooms with hardwood flooring and floor vents, we can install flushmount wood registers to match your wood floors in material and in color (e.g., white oak, stained Special Walnut). This is a more seamless, premium look than metal drop-in registers. Flushmount wood vents can be installed in new construction, as well as retro-fitted in existing wood floors during a resand. Functionally, the wood vents behave like a drop-in vent…they can be pulled out for cleaning.

Category: Products

Pre-finished wood (whether solid or engineered) is flooring that comes in planks that are already stained and sealed. They are installed in the same fashion (stapled and/or glued), but are not sanded and finished after installation. Prefinish is sometimes available with various mill-applied looks (e.g., a “hand scraped” or distressed look), and the planks almost always have a beveled edge to help prevent any visual unevenness that would typically be sanded out of an unfinished floor. Because prefinish floors come with a bevel and a factory-applied finish, it may not always be possible or practical to re-sand and finish them in the future (e.g., due to damage or wear and tear).

Category: Products

Engineered wood consists of a solid layer of hardwood (referred to as the wear layer), adhered to a plywood-type foundation layer. Engineered wood can sometimes be stapled down, but is typically is used for glue-down applications. These applications are usually in basements or construction on cement slabs, but you can also glue or staple engineered wood to wood subfloors. Engineered wood is available in both pre-finish and unfinished products (which are then sanded and stained/sealed as with regular hardwood floors). With unfinished engineered flooring, the resulting look is identical to traditional nail-down solid hardwood. Engineered flooring is not to be confused with laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a synthetic wear layer (often vinyl) laminated to a base layer (often fiber board or melamine resin), and is not stapled down.

Category: Products

Oil base is the more traditional finish, and is also less expensive. Newer water base options (such as those by industry leader Bona) offer a harder finish, with fewer VOCs (fumes), and often a shorter initial cure. However, in addition to a higher price point, water base has a longer full-cure time and can be a trickier finish to work with on install and if any patches are needed in the future.

Category: Products

In older homes with hardwood floors, lighter colors (Early American, Gunstock, Golden Oak, or even a natural/no stain) were more common. These days, darker colors have been the more popular trend, as they fit more modern design styles. Dark Walnut, Jacobean, Provincial, Special Walnut and Espresso are all popular darker colors

Category: Products

In new construction, the most common selections are still white and red oak. In the past decades, 2 ¼” width planks were typical, but today wider widths are more common. Widths over 4” require gluing in addition to nailing, which adds more labor and cost, so 3 ¼” and 4” planks are usually the most common.

Category: Products

Wood flooring typically comes in several grades based on how clear the planks are of “imperfections.” Mills sort the wood into these various grades for consistency. Wood with more knots, cracks, gaps, chips, color variation, mineral marks/stains, grain inconsistency, etc., will be graded lower. Lower graded wood will also usually contain a higher ratio of shorter pieces. Depending on the intended look, a lesser grade may actually be preferred (e.g., more knots for a rustic or cabin look). Typical grade scales are, from highest to lowest: Clear, Select, #1, #2 and #3 (sometimes called Tavern grade or Cabin grade). The #1 grade is usually going to be the most common.

Category: Products

In new construction, hardwood floors are typically installed after drywall has been hanged and finished/sanded. It’s helpful if walls and ceilings have at least been primed (the less potential for paint spills, the better). It’s a bit easier to install floors before baseboards and other trim have been installed, but both environments are common. The sanding and first coat happens shortly after installation (often a week or two in new construction…as soon as the next day on remodels). The final coat typically happens as all finish work is wrapping with new construction to avoid the potential damage to the completed floor by any ongoing work.

Category: Timelines

Once a coat of polyurethane is applied, there should be no foot traffic on the floor for 24 hours. Between 24 and 48 hours, we recommend socks only (no shoes or pets). Light shoe traffic can resume after 48-72 hours (be careful of rough soles, material caught in shoe tread, or sharp heels). Pets should be kept off the floors for at least 72 hours. Furniture can also be moved back onto the floors after 72 hours. Area rugs should not be placed over floors for 14 days (oil base) or 21 days (water base) as the polyurethane continues to cure over time.

Category: Timelines

Again, projects can vary, with factors such as stain color/type, finish type, specialty application process, inclusion of stair treads, number of coats, etc. With that in mind, a standard sand, stain and first coat project can be completed at a rate of roughly 1,500 sq ft per day. Start to finish, a standard 2 or 3 coat oil-base sand and finish project will take roughly 5 days. Most new construction projects (and some remodel projects) leave the final coat for the very end, after painters, trim carpenters, etc., have completed their finishing touches.

Category: Timelines

All projects are different, with factors such as new construction vs remodel, type and width of wood, glue-down vs nail-down, pattern, complex cuts, etc. With standard installation of typical nail-down flooring (for example, 3 ¼” or 4” planks), you can expect roughly 600-800 sq ft to be installed per day on a remodel project.

Category: Timelines

Yes. Wood materials should be delivered to the home 4-7 days before the installation. The HVAC system should be on, to maintain a typical environment, particularly in warmer months. During acclimation, the wood should not be stored in a garage, basement or other area that is not cooled/heated by the HVAC.Hardwood flooring is typically kiln dried to 6-7% moisture. The acclimation period will allow the wood to rise slightly (to 7-8%) to meet the ongoing environment of the home. Seasonal humidity levels may impact acclimation. We are happy to discuss acclimation best practices concerning your particular project.

Category: Timelines

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