WHAT TO EXPECT
WHEN WE ARE WORKING ON YOUR HARDWOOD FLOORING

“The entire team did a great job in keeping the dirt and dust down as much as possible and they went out of their way to make sure that the work area was safe for our two small children.”
-- Angela A., Lutz

Hardwood Floor Scheduling

The floor is usually the last item to be addressed in a construction project, so the schedule is often already seriously stretched. But we ask you to give us, the flooring contractor, the time we need to complete the job without interference from other trades.

Chris filing a newly installed wood floor in Seminole HeightsWe know that our work in your home can be disruptive and inconvenient. To minimize your discomfort, we schedule work so that it can be completed as quickly as possible. Our crews will be at your house daily and will work steadily until your job is completed, before going to the next job. Sometimes they will be able to do only one step in a day, such as applying a coat of stain. They will then leave to allow the stain to dry, and return the next day to perform the next step, before leaving again. Otherwise, you will be able to count on their being on your job until it is complete.


Job site Preparation for Hardwood Floor Installation

The building should be completely closed in, with outside windows and doors in place and ALL wet trades (drywall, paint, ceramic tile, etc.) should have completed their work.

The air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems should be operating so that the temperature and relative humidity are at "normal living conditions"- that is between 60 & 80 degrees (F) and between 30-50 percent humidity- for a LEAST 6 days prior to the wood flooring being delivered.

Wood Preparation

Solid wood flooring, the traditional product used for floors, is one piece of wood from top to bottom. After being delivered to your home these materials should sit in a climate controlled section of your home to acclimate to the conditions there for about 7 days. An especially important step here in Tampa Bay, we will test the moisture in your home and the moisture of the wood before we commence installation. They need to be very close in range before we install the wood in order to avoid swelling or shrinking.

Sometimes, this solid material is not finish coated at the factory. We bring in sanding machines to sand it smooth, stain it to your specifications, and coat it with a protective finish. After we install this material, another 2-3 weeks is required to further acclimate the floor before we sand and finish it. During this time you will be able to walk in the room and use it normally with the warning that the wood is not sealed and protected. It must be kept clean and dry.

Other flooring materials (engineered) are built by the factory in layers to give them greater stability. Some of these products do not need to acclimate on site before installation, but some do. The acclimation period required for engineered products is seldom more than 2-3 days.

For Your Safety

Frasier, a charming kitty in Beach ParkKeep your pets away from work area at all times. They could be frightened by the noise or injured by the equipment. We have had to sand paw prints out of a new finish, causing distress for everyone, including the pet who didn’t like having sticky feet.

If you have children, please keep them out of areas with tools and where we are working. At the end of the day, we will unplug all equipment and store saws with the blades in a locked position. However, a locked blade is still very sharp, and could cut small, curious folk.

Once we start our work, your home is a jobsite. Please use the same precautions when you are there that you would use on any jobsite. There could be nails or pieces of wood on the floor. There may be cords or tools. Look before you walk. Wear shoes, preferably with hard soles. The men will be moving quickly to get your job done, so you need to stay clear of the area.

We will be using materials and chemicals in your home that could cause some sensitivity or irritation. Please let us know about any concerns that you might have. We are happy to provide you with Material Safety Data sheets on any materials that we will be using in your home. We strive to use the safest materials available.

Installing Your Hard Wood Floor

We will need to do some sanding or grinding of the subfloor because it must be flat and clean before we can install over it. If you have a concrete subfloor, we grind any paint off of the concrete and grind down high ridges or sections of concrete. We use a vacuum with this concrete grinder but it still generates some dust. If you have a plywood subfloor we also will need to sand down any high joints or areas. We will contain the dust with plastic as much as possible and do quite a bit of cleaning when done but we are still doing a major construction job in your home.

Getting started to install an Oak floor in Seminole HeightsThe length of time that it takes to install a floor will depend on the size of the area to be installed, the layout of the space, and the complexity of the pattern. Our men will be using power saws to cut your wood and the saws make a great deal of noise and the cutting generates sawdust. If the floor is being nailed, the compressor that runs the nailer is very loud and will be running almost constantly for the duration of the installation. If you are living in your home we normally try to do all of our cutting outside so as to minimize dust in the house. There may be times, if it is raining, where it is not safe to cut outside.

Finishing Your Hardwood Floor

Sanding a heart pine floor in Tampa Heights.If your floors are being sanded, finished or refinished, be prepared for some noise and disruption. We offer a HEPA-filtered dust containment system as an option. Its use can minimize debris, but no system is 100% effective, so cover or remove any items that you want to keep dust-free. Our customers who have chosen the HEPA option are pleasantly surprised at its efficiency.

We will mask the areas where we are working, some dust will escape, so you’ll want to cover some things in rooms that are nearby. We clean at the end of the job, but expect that you will need to do some additional cleaning.

Paint Touch-Up

Our men are chosen for their skills and their character, and they are trained in caring for your home and belongings. However, during the sanding and finishing process, you should expect that some touch up painting will be needed when we are finished with our work. The sander that runs along the bottom of your baseboards needs to touch the painted or stained baseboard or quarter round molding. This same sander also runs along the bottom of any door moldings. A small amount of paint is sanded off by this machine. Also, when we stain or polyurethane your floors we need to stain and finish up against your painted or stained woodwork that touch the floor.

If we stain your floors we will use painter’s tape and mask off your woodwork but some stain will bleed under the masking tape. When we are not staining your floors but are just applying a clear polyurethane finish we do not tape off the woodwork but brush on our finish as neatly as possible. Any time you have your floors sanded and refinished please expect that some touch up painting will be required.

We do not perform touch up painting because we are not painters. Any needed painting is not included in our price to you.

STAIN MATCHING

We pride ourselves on our ability to create custom stains and have accomplished some amazing color matching. Because we like to fulfill customer expectations, we want you to know what we can do, given the nature of wood and the laws of the physical sciences.

1. Prior to staining your floors (or area), we will show you stain samples. You will choose the color that you feel best matches your existing wood floors and that you want us to use to stain the new areas. Because wood is a product of nature and its appearance varies from board to board, the color of the sample may not appear identical to the color of the existing floor.

2. We will apply a stain in the color of the formula that you have chosen to your floor, The resulting floor color may not appear identical to the sample that you will have approved, for several reasons.
A.  Wood boards, one to another are not consistent in color or appearance.
B.  A large quantity of color or sheen appears different from a sample, no matter how large the sample.You have probably seen this with paint.
As a result, the color of your new floor (or area) may not be identical to your existing floor (or area).

3. If we are matching the color of an existing floor, please note that your existing floor will have changed in color from how it looked when it was first finished or installed. It may have changed a great deal. The new floor (or area) will also change color over time. Even if the color of the new floor (or area) matches the color of the old floor (or area) now, it may not match in the future. There is no way to prevent, reduce or predict color change.

After your Floor is Finished

Because fumes will be present during finishing, pilot lights must be turned off. When the finish is applied, there will be finish fumes in your home for several days.

No one should enter or open any doors or windows for at least 12 hours after the final coat is applied. The next morning is usually the best time to enter (no shoes for 2 days) and open doors and windows to air out any remaining fumes.

We recommend waiting at least 2 days to place furniture on the floor. The time required will vary depending on the type of finish used and weather conditions. Chris will let you know when you can expect to be able to walk on the floors and when it will be safe to move your furniture into the room.

We highly recommend felt glides for the bottom of all furniture to avoid scratching the floor. Place scatter rugs at all entrances, avoiding those with rubber backs, which can discolor your floor. Rugs should not be placed on the floor for 30 days, if possible. Avoid walking on your floors with cleats or high heels in disrepair.

Fashions Change

Prefinished flooring materials, where the stain and finish are applied at the factory offer an ease and convenience of installation that traditional flooring, sanded, stained and coated in your home, does not.

Because it is a factory-made product, rather than a custom one, what you choose is a particular product, made by a particular manufacturer. Over the years, we have seen some manufacturers discontinue some products as trends change. We recommend that you purchase some extra product so that if in the future you need repairs, the wood is available to you. We will mix in this extra wood with the materials that we install as, like in any other product, dye lots may differ somewhat.

Your floor will change color over time due to its exposure to light and air, so even the same flooring material may not match it. After time, the “new” flooring will change color and be more like the originally installed floor.

We suggest that you keep this extra product in a temperature/humidity controlled area. Some people store it under a bed. We think this a great idea!Your chosen product will be named in our contract with you, providing you with a record that you can keep should you need the information in the future.

Hardwood Floor Standards

Your floor is a product of nature, so no two floor boards will be identical. Variations in appearance are completely expected and make your floor unique.

Though your floor will be beautiful, it will not have a tabletop finish because your house is not a sealed environment. After we sand your floor, we vacuum it thoroughly and wipe it with damp rags, but the finish will have some small particles in it that you may be able to see when the sun is streaming onto a section of floor.

As pointed out in the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers’ Association finishing guidelines: “Sander marks can be an indication of inadequate finishing, but the finish can be acceptable and still include this and other problems provided they do not appear over the entire floor.” Wood flooring inspectors state that surface irregularities should be evaluated from a standing position in normal lighting.

Our craftsmen are trained and expected to deliver the most floors beautiful possible, and our state-of-the-art equipment is designed to assist them. We have seen many wood floors in Tampa Bay and can state with no hesitation that ours are the most carefully and beautifully done, and our customers have the widest smiles.

FLOORS AND INDOOR AIR QUALITY

The air quality of the home must also be considered in producing a good finish. We have seen airborne debris settle into the finish as it dries.

Small particles of pet fur, tiny insect parts, decayed insulation, sandy dust from outdoors and other particles are difficult to see as they float in the air, slowly landing on the floor. They can be very visible accumulated in the finish, since it takes several days for complete drying. The best way to determine if this is going to be an issue, is if it can be seen that there are significant amounts of visible dust accumulating on surfaces in between house cleanings.

Ways to address this can include putting high quality filters in the ventilation system, using high powered portable air cleaners, doing a thorough house cleaning just before work begins on the floor, and keeping doors and windows closed until drying is complete.

If there are particles in the flooring finish, we may need to completely resand and finish the floor after this surface and air cleaning is done to produce a good finish. There will be an extra charge for this because it involves extra work by us than is in the contract.

As Time Goes By Hardwood Floors

A wood floor can indeed dent, scratch and even change color over time. Dogs’ toenails can scratch the finish of a floor, dulling it, and a large enough dog can even dent a floor.

As your floor ages, some color change can occur, especially with our brutal Tampa Bay sun. This can be minimized by limiting exposure to direct sunlight by using window coverings, and periodically moving furniture and rugs. Some type of clear or tinted window film will help dramatically in cutting down UV exposure. Areas of wood floors exposed to intense light and UV are much more subject to color change than those not being hit by the sun. This color change can include, turning darker or more yellow, and sometimes the wood can even become bleached.

Wood Floors- A Product of Nature

Here In Tampa Bay, we experience great variations in humidity through the seasons to which wood flooring, in fact all wood, responds by expanding and contracting and these changes may be noticeable. During warm, humid weather, wood expands. During dry weather, wood contracts. This seasonal movement is a normal characteristic of wood flooring, and it never stops, regardless of the age of the wood. It is important to install humidity controls and ensure that they are functioning before the flooring is installed.

In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring loses some of its moisture and therefore shrinks producing some separation between boards. These separations, or cracks, may easily develop to the thickness of a dime (1/32 inch) for solid 2 1/4-inch wide strip oak floors. Floors with light stained woods and naturally light woods like maple tend to show cracks more than darker floors.

Cracks that are filled may experience some loss of filling material during this expansion and contraction. This is most likely to occur in older, solid wood flooring and less likely in engineered products.

In our air conditioned homes here in Tampa Bay, the humidity can be quite low. A good solution is to add a humidification control to your HVAC system to keep the moisture level in your home even throughout the year.  This is more important if you have solid wood floors than if you have engineered, but this control system will also help keep your wood furniture and cabinetry in good condition.

The National Wood Flooring Association recommends that you keep a constant humidity in your home. No more than a 20% variation is recommended, and ideally it should stay around 30% to 50%. Running your HVAC during hot and humid times of the year will help keep your humidity in this range. Do not turn your HVAC off for an extended period because the increase in humidity could cause cupping (The sides of the boards raise.) or warping in your wood floors.

Opening windows can bring in fresh air, but it can also allow excess moisture into your house. This change in humidity can cause floors to swell and cup. Solid floors in wider widths are more susceptible to cupping, but with enough change in humidity, all floors, even engineered ones, can cup.

Wood is a product of nature and can shrink if it gets too dry and expand if it picks up moisture from the air. Protect your floors and your wood furniture and cabinets by maintaining an even amount of moisture in your home.

A Long and Beautiful Life

Tampa wood floor restoration You will be able to keep your wood floors looking their best by properly maintaining them. Of course we are always happy to answer your questions about how to keep your floors looking their best for a long, long time.