Tag Archives: Refinishing hardwood floors

Hire a pro, it’s worth it!

Why you need to hire a pro

Just imagine that you have decided to rip out the old carpet or laminate in your home and install some nice hardwood floors.  You go through the process of finding and choosing a floor that you like.  Then you go through another process of choosing someone to install the floor.  Now you are really looking forward to the finished product!

hardwood flooring
What you expect

But you look around and notice a few mistakes in the install, some attempts to hide them, and then a few more and what is with that big hump in the middle of the living room! Uh oh!

Recently I had the (dis)pleaseasure of taking a look at a floor just like I’m describing,  it was clearly not done by professionals.

I’ll show you some pictures from the floor and describe what you are seeing.

Here they used filler to “hide” some gaps. Hardwood floors need expansion gaps all around the walls as the hardwood will move.  It expands and contracts as it takes in and releases moisture.  Not enough gaps will cause problems.

BUT these gaps should be covered by baseboard or mouldings.  This was not done here. They should have taken the extra time to remove the baseboards and undercut the doorway.  This would hide the needed expansion gaps and leave a clean install.

oak hardwood floors
Filler is not a substitute for craftsmanship
oak hardwood floors
SERIOUSLY?!
oak hardwood floors
Again, filler is used instead of doing a proper install

Some don’t remove the baseboards and this is perfectly fine if the flooring is installed properly.  Then the EVEN gaps are covered by a moulding.

hardwood floors
Using moulding to cover bad cuts

They tried to do that here BUT just on this one wall.  This must be done throughout the house, and the expansion gaps should be fairly even,  usually around 1/4″,  for it too look good.   What was done here was to hide some imperfections with moulding and then some with filler.  So this one wall with a shoe moulding really stood out, in a bad way.

 

A hardwood flooring install should be seamless.  Meaning there is no need for transitions, unless the hardwood is meeting another material, such as tile or carpet.  The flooring should have just continued on here, through the doorway.  Perhaps they added hardwood to this bedroom at a later date.  The solution for this would be to lace in new flooring into the existing, leaving a seamless transition. To be honest, I have no idea what anyone was thinking in the picture below.

hardwood floors
WRONG!

While it is hard to see in the picture, there was a very noticeable hump in this living room.  You may be able to tell with the light and shadows.

hardwood floors
Hump in the floor

This was due to not doing any sub floor prep. That would mean making sure the sub floor is flat and clean. Sub floor prep can make a huge improvement to any flooring installation.  Imagine walking over your newly installed floor and drastically dips into the corner of a room.  We would discuss any needed sub floor prep with you, and go over your options.

So while these examples are some of the worst work I’ve ever seen, it does highlight that fact that it is always good value to hire a pro.  Make sure that anyone you are hiring is a professional at what they do.  Flooring seems to get lumped in to a “so easy anyone can do it” category, but this post and other installs I’ve seen prove that having a professional handling your hardwood flooring project is well worth it.

So how do you do find a reputable professional?  Search online for reviews, pictures of their work, and meet with them.  Ask questions, they should be happy to answer questions you may have.

This will ensure that the work is done properly, and that it will look good for a long time.  Your floors should last as long as your home is standing.

 

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.

Continue reading Tools of the hardwood flooring professional

Common questions : How should I clean my hardwood floors?

I get this question a lot, especially right after I have refinished someone’s hardwood floors. They want them to look new for as long as possible. So I thought I could make a list of some things to do and not do.

Cleaning hardwood floors
Hardwood floor cleaner

DO keep a walk off mat, at every outside entry. Make sure it is suitable for hardwood floors. This will catch any dirt or small rocks before they get on your hardwood floor.

DO vacuum or dry mop the hardwood floor regularly. This will remove any dirt or grit before it can damage your floor.

DO clean up any liquid or sticky messes quickly. You can use a damp cloth, or a hardwood floor specific cleaner for this.

DO use any cleaner that’s recommended by your hardwood floor finish manufacturer.  Some hardwood floor finish manufacturers have a specific cleaner they make or recommend.  Such as a hard wax oil, like Rubio Monocoat, has it’s own cleaner.  It’s best to use that.

DO NOT use a steam mop to clean your hardwood floors. These mops force moisture down into the wood, and over time this can break down the finish and the structure of the hardwood. Too much moisture and hardwood floors do not mix.

DO NOT mop your hardwood floor. Again this goes back to the point of too much moisture is a bad thing.

DO NOT use any “soap” or “rejuvenation” products. Most of these products are not compatible with modern polyurethane finishes. Also they can leave a film that attracts dirt and dust, which can build up over the floor, leaving a streaky mess on top of your hardwood floor.

These are a few things that I have found help keep a hardwood floor clean.  If you have any tips of your own, please share.

Thanks for reading.

What’s a better option, replace or refinish?

Is it cheaper to replace our hardwood flooring or refinish?

I am getting this question more often nowadays, so I thought I would put my thoughts about this on record.

This question usually comes up after people may have been given some misinformation about refinishing, like “no one does that anymore” or “these floors can’t be refinished” or after knowing the price of refinishing their hardwood floors. Continue reading What’s a better option, replace or refinish?