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Exotic Wood Floor  Species,

   Blood Wood, Brazilian Cherry, Australian Cypress, Jarrah , Santos Mahogany , Merbau, African Padauk , Purple heart, Rubber wood, Thia or Burmese Teak, Wenge, Zebra Wood   

 

 

  

                     

   

                           

 

 

           

Hardwood Floor Installation, Sanding and Finishing

What steps will the flooring company do and which will they not.

 

Having an old floor refinished or new floor installed and sanded? Make sure you know what you are getting compared to what you could be getting.

 

You got the estimates and now it’s time to choose the hardwood contractor. In the estimate process you were promised the best. One thing to take into consideration, was the estimator just an estimator trying to get the sale or the owner willing to stand behind his promises.

Most people I talk to think that all flooring contractors follow the same steps to complete a project and that it just comes down to price because, “A professional should do a professional job”. This is a phrase I have heard many times from my customers trying to figure out why one company would be better than another. This is just not the case.

Am I saying that you are going to get a bad job if a contractor doesn’t follow every step? No. But there is a difference between a good job and a great job; one that looks good now and one that will last.

What steps are your hardwood flooring contractors most likely to ignore?

Acclimation

Acclimation of the materials is probably the most overlooked part of a hardwood flooring project. Most companies either do not acclimate at all or do it insufficiently. I see companies that bring the wood with them or have it delivered the day before. I see on websites or even talk to other companies that say they acclimate  a week on every job. If there is moisture in the wood this is just not sufficient.

I like to have the wood in the house for as long as possible before installation. I have materials delivered 4-6 weeks in advance on a regular basis. If you are looking at a date 1-2 months out, I would recommend to get the wood delivered now, the better the acclimation of the materials, the less issues you will have later on after you get all your furniture and appliances back in.

When wood comes into Colorado the moisture content is around 9-10%. Here in Colorado it needs to be 6-7%.  After it dries out you can have excess gapping in the floor if the wood has too much moisture in it . Will acclimation stop this completely? No, but getting as much moisture out of the material before installing it is the best step to help reduce movement later on. Wood is a natural product that will always move with the seasons.

The number one thing I hear from other companies about acclimation is “The wood is kiln dried”, which is true. What they don’t add to that sentence is “then it is stored in a warehouse out east where the humidity is way higher than Colorado and the wood absorbs the moisture”.  Other states have expansion issues, here we have shrinkage issues due to our dry climate.

Gluing the floor

Taking the time to use glue has seemed to elude most flooring contractors. I can say this with extreme confidence in the fact that out of all floors that we tear out, replace, repair or add to about 1 in 3 will use glue on headers and bullnose; and I almost never see floors that are glued on the first row and end rows near the wall where the main floor nailer cannot nail the floor. Most guys just use enough top nails to make it look like a shotgun blast hit the floor.

Also, solid flooring over 4 inches needs to be glued not just nailed. Some manufacturers require it for warranty and some just recommend it as a preferred option. Make sure to find out what brand is being installed and check the manufacturer’s website for their installation guidelines, otherwise you better make sure that the installation company will warranty the product if the manufacturer does not.

Sanding on an angle

A step that was once considered common practice, now considered a waste of time. Most flooring guys I know sand the average floor twice with the “Big Machine”(belt sander that sands the majority of the floor) once with 40 grit and once with 80 or 100 grit. We sand all our floors a minimum of three times, 36 grit then 60 grit as our “rough sand” and then depending on stain color we will finish off with 80-100 grit. Depending on color and species we may even run the floor again with 120 grit for a total of four passes.

Our first cut we run at an angle approximately 30 degrees to the floor, second cut at approximately 15 degrees on the opposite angle to the first cut and our final cut straight. This cross hatch pattern of sanding helps us sand out any sanding issues that the previous sander may have caused on an old floor. We also follow the same method on new installations to get the flattest floor that we can possibly get.

You would be surprised on how many flooring contractors new to the business either never heard of sanding a floor on an angle or just regard it as unnecessary.

Prepping the floor for filler

Proper floor prep before filling is crucial. Making sure any nails that need to be set are properly set, deep enough to accept filler. And vacuuming the floor to make sure any dust in cracks is removed to let filler do what it is supposed to do, fill.

Trowel Filling

Many flooring contractors spot fill the obvious areas and do not trowel fill the entire floor. We fill the entire floor, that way all gaps are filled obvious or not.  

Educating the Customer

I provide as much information to my customers as possible. I believe the more you know about what is to be done in your home will help you make an educated decision on what contractor would be the best fit for your project, be it us or another company.

Having people work in your home is a stressful and expensive experience. We want you to feel confident when you choose your flooring contractor.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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