Moisture & your hardwood floors

Crowns are for your head, not your floors.

Recently I refinished a hardwood floor that previously had moisture issues that were not corrected properly, and it got me thinking about this subject.

The floor in question was crowned, where the center of every board bulges up.

hardwood floors

When the house was first built there was a moisture issue of some kind.  The floor then cupped, because the boards would swell from the intake of moisture, and then edges push against each other.  So the builder fixed the moisture issue and got the floor refinished, soon after.

Where I believe the issue happened was that the floor was refinished too soon.  The floor didn’t have time to stabilize the moisture content and lay back down.  So when they sanded it, it looked flat, but when the moisture stabilized later, the process of sanding had taken too much wood off the edges, so now the centers of the hardwood floor had more material and was crowned.

If they had left it longer and let the wood stabilize more, then refinished it, it would have been a flat floor.

This is not the only way your hardwood floor can get crowned.  If there is a difference in moisture within the board, this can happen as well.

Since this moisture issue was well in the past and the it had been stable for a long time, with our refinishing we were able to get the floor nice and flat.

Before&After maple hardwood floor

This was not the only reason the homeowner decided to get their floors refinished, as it was worn and due for an update.  We were  able to get a nice bright custom stain colour that opened up the space and that homeowners were very happy with.

The proper steps must be followed so the issues can be corrected once and for all.  This starts even before install, with proper moisture readings of the space and of the wood.  Allowing the floor to acclimate to the new environment is key.  Proper moisture control during and after install is very important as well.

So this was a good reminder that care needs to be taken with all aspects of a hardwood floor install and refinish.  From proper acclimatization,  and knowing the full history of the floor.

If you want anymore info on our services, contact Evergreen Hardwood Floors today.

Tools of the hardwood flooring professional

Tools of the hardwood flooring trade

I wanted to provide a little insight into my trade after going to see a client who tried to refinish his own floors with some rented equipment.  Some things are fairly DIY safe but some are a little more complicated.  I liken it to car maintenance.  I have no formal training, but I do have wrenches, screwdrivers, and Youtube, so I can do oil changes and basic maintenance but should I take apart my transmission? That is a recipe for disaster, trust me.

Our friend finally gave up after about 2 1/2 days on his living room, and still not getting the results he wanted.  As a professional with the proper equipment, in that timeframe I would have already been finished that clients hardwood, and he would have his house back in order.

So just how does a professional belt sander help?  I’ll explain.

First, what do I use? I have a professional hardwood flooring sander that is called the Bona Belt or Big Momma as I like to call it. 

Hardwood floor refinishing
Refinishing an oak hardwood floor with a professional sander

It’s from Sweden and runs like a top.  It removes that old finish with ease and gets your floors nice and flat.  There are many different types of professional belt sander, they all look fairly similar, and one that is properly tuned up will do a great job.  I do proper maintenance, replace parts when needed and keep it free and clean of built up dust.

The rental machines are usually in pretty rough shape.  Kinda like a rental car or your own personal car.  Which one will you take better care of?

A sander that has been taken care of will run better and give you better performance, just like your car. This will affect how your hardwood floor will look.  A sander that has not been taken care of can leave an uneven floor which will not look good in any light, this is important.

Hardwood floor refinishing
You can see divots and stains left that this rental sander cannot get out.

The main difference between a pro and a rental is the power and weight. 

All pros should use 220V power, from your electric stove or dryer outlets.  That gives it the juice to power through all the tough coatings.  A rental sander uses 110V, which is from a normal outlet in your room.The other big difference is the weight.  The rental sander usually top out at 100 lbs, while my professional sander is around 200 lbs.  So that gives it the weight to  really bite into the floor and start removing those old coatings with ease and get your floor nice and flat.  This is important because if you don’t get it flat now it wont look as good when the finish goes on.

Hardwood floor refinishing
Another common type of rental floor sander, you can see the difference in size as compared to a professional sander.

Another big difference between pro equipment and rentals is the sandpaper. You may think that sandpaper is sandpaper, it all does the same thing.  I used to think the same way, but, some paper is better than others, especially for difficult floors.  A lot of new floors are coated with an aluminum oxide.  This can be difficult to remove with a smaller sander, with the wrong sandpaper.  You have to get very aggressive with it at the beginning.  But with a sandpaper that has been specifically designed to remove these finishes, it makes sure that the job will be a lot easier and faster.  Overall the floor will look better as well, because you didn’t have to get so aggressive with it, so there will be less scratches.

So those are the main differences in the types of sanding machines available.  One you can rent for yourself from a big box store, and use up your weekends working away.  Or you can hire one from us, Evergreen Hardwood Floors, that even comes with a hardwood flooring professional, with all the experience needed to do a quality job on your floor, and you can get your home back sooner.

Contact Evergreen Hardwood Floors if you would like to know more about our hardwood floor refinishing services.

Is hardwood flooring hiding under your carpet?

You may have hardwood flooring under your carpet!

Design trends come and go. In the past carpet was so popular, that they covered over anything with it, including beautiful hardwood floors. Why was it so popular? Because it was cheaper, easier and faster to install then hardwood flooring, so no one wanted to install hardwood floors first off. Also maintaining a hardwood floor in the past was very labour intensive as well. With wax finishes they had be maintained often, applying a new coat of wax or being buffed, at least monthly, if not sooner. Continue reading Is hardwood flooring hiding under your carpet?

Taking down walls

When doing renovations, one popular option, is to remove walls and open up the space. With that, you may have to repair or install more hardwood afterward, where the walls used to be. Here is a repair that was recently completed. What used to be a closet in an entry, was removed to open up the smaller entry, and the area needed to be filled in with matching wood. Continue reading Taking down walls