What’s the difference between pre-finished and unfinished wood?
Pre- finished wood comes out of the factory with its stain and finish baked on at high temperatures. This means the product can be installed and walked on–same day. It also means that the individual boards each have their own protective coating surrounding the board. Unfinished wood is bare with no coatings or stain applied. We install the new floors and finish them on site in your home. Sanding, staining and three coats of your selected finish finalize the installation process and bring your floors to life.
What are the different grades of hardwoods and how do they change the look of my floors?
There are four different grades when it comes to purchasing your site-finished hardwood floors. The grades are as follows: # 2 common, which is the lowest grade of hardwood, will have shorter boards and large amounts of knots and color variation. # 1 common, the next grade up is similar but has less knots and longer boards. Select, is comprised of mostly longer boards with little to no knots and more uniformity. Clear is the highest grade of hardwoods which has no knots and complete uniformity from color to board length. The grades primarily apply to unfinished wood as opposed to your pre-finished wood that sticks to clear grade. One is not necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what suits your needs and style.
How do I acclimate my hardwood floor and why is this important? The acclimation of your hardwoods is an important step to a successful installation. The main objective is to allow the natural product being installed to have time to breathe and adjust to its new surroundings. You can acclimate your new flooring by bringing them into their installation environment and opening the ends of the boxes. With a few days of exposure, your hardwoods will have adjusted to your home’s humidity and moisture levels. The same thing could be done prior to installation if the wood is kept in a climate controlled warehouse with similar temperatures and moisture levels. This is such an important step in the process. Without acclimation, you run the risk of your new floors cupping, buckling or developing deep structural damage.
How can scratches or stains on my wood floors be repaired?
Since your hardwood floors are a natural product, it is inevitable that they will show some wear and tear over time. The normal wear you might experience will come from UV damage, spills, sand and dirt in your high traffic areas. To take out color damage and repair minor scratches and fading, a refinishing is the process you are looking for. A refinishing takes off all three layers of finish and 1 to 2 millimeters of your wood floor. This is going to eliminate most of your discoloration and scratches leaving you with a new looking floor. In some cases, your scratches or stains will penetrate deeper than a refinishing will go. In this scenario we would need to perform a repair and replace just the damaged boards that were scratched too deeply or stained significantly.
Questions not commonly asked that should be thought of…
How does high traffic wear and tear effect what floor type I should choose?
Does your home have pets, children or perhaps a high volume of everyday traffic? If so, you may want to consider choosing an oak or maple floor with a natural finish. The lighter colors show their beauty through character and grain patterns which make it harder to see things like scratches or fading. Lower shine finishes like satin or semigloss will hide the traffic patterns keeping your floors looking newer. Choosing a finish that is more durable like a water based product is another way to increase durability and reduce the signs of wear.
How much dust can I expect during installation and does your company take measures to cut down on this?
In site-finished installations or refinishings some dust is inevitable. The most important thing to ask is, how much dust? We use the latest technology, a Greenguard Certified Air Filter which reduces the spread of dust into your home by about 95%. We take it a step further and hang plastic in doorways and over air ducts which isolates only the area being sanded. After the job is completed, we broom clean and vacuum the exposed areas to help reduce leftover dust.