• Gearing Up for a Hardwood Flooring Installation

    Getting ready for your wood floor installation near Phoenix does not have to be difficult. You just need to know a few details about your current flooring and what you desire in your future wood flooring. For example, your choices may change based on how much time you have available or your what kind of flooring your currently have. No matter what, speak with your flooring contractors and keep an open mind.

    Watch the video for a full explanation about the different types of hardwood flooring. Depending on your base flooring—typically concrete or plywood—your flooring contractor may suggest an engineered hardwood or a custom wood that must be sanded and finished after installation. If you have future travel plans, you may do well to schedule your installation around those plans. You can leave the house for a few days while your new floor settles.

  • Hardwood Floor Maintenance Essentials

    Caring for your hardwood floor in Phoenix is an important task to keep it looking and feeling brand-new. Wood floors are easily maintained, but they must be maintained correctly in order for them to stay functional and beautiful. Continue reading for some essential tips on how to maintain your wood floors.

    • You should sweep and/or vacuum your hardwood floor regularly. Make sure the vacuum is acceptable to use on hardwood, because certain vacuums have inner attachments and brushes that can damage the surface of hardwood floors.
    • Consider installing sun-blocking window shades or move your blinds to face upward. This will keep your hardwood from prematurely fading from the sun.
    • Clean up all spills as they occur. Ask your flooring store for recommendations on acceptable spot cleaners for wood floors.
    • Keep heavy shoes and animals with long nails off the hardwood. Nails and dirt tracked in on shoes can cause miniscule to larger scratches that can degrade the wood quicker.
    • Refrain from mopping your wood floors. Anything with a lot of water or liquid in it can cause the wood to warp or degrade.
    • Contact your flooring store for repairs and maintenance.

    Wood Floor Care and Maintenance

  • Should You Recoat that Wood Floor or Run?

    So you have a call for a maintenance coat. There is good money to be made recoating hardwood floors, but with good money comes high risks: customer expectations and adhesion! If all goes well, everyone walks away from the process happy. However, the alternatives can be sanding and refinishing or even replacing a floor. To avoid those not-so-fun alternatives, we need to do our due diligence before applying any finish. These are the steps we use at my company to avoid surprises with recoats.

    Step 1: Determine if it’s a candidate for a recoat.

    Is it wax? Oil? Some flooring has finish with a very specific protocol for recoating. If the finish can be recoated, has something been used to clean the floor that has created a buildup and will cause an adhesion problem? You must confirm compatibility before doing a recoat. Wait … read that sentence again. You must confirm compatibility before doing a recoat. This is the key to success in the recoating portion of your business.

    Step 2: Educate the customer about the risks.

    The customer must understand the risks involved with a recoat. The floor must be tested for adhesion with a finish system, and the system must be strictly adhered to. Not all floors will be candidates for a recoat. If at any time you feel that the system you are using is going to fail, listen to your gut and STOP. You will never lose money on a job you don’t do.

    It is a good idea to have the customer sign your contract stating they understand the risks involved and understand that, even with all of the testing and the best finishes, the coating could fail and the floor may need to be sanded and refinished. We do this, and we also offer them 50 percent off the cost of the recoat as a down payment toward a sand-and-finish. Our contract states this; it sometimes scares the customer, and it should. This is when you explain to the customer everything they could expect. I have only had to implement the 50 percent off offer once, and the customers were thankful I had something in place to help them out.

    Step 3: Educate the customer about realistic expectations.

    This may not seem like a huge part of the recoating process, but it is. Many times the customer is under the assumption a recoat will fix all of the imperfections and distress present on their wood floor. Recoats fix everything, right? This needs to be thoroughly explained to them. It is your job to educate your customer—don’t rely on the internet. They need to understand deep scratches and dents will still be present. A recoat will fix many scuffs and surface damage, but any scratch that can be felt by running your fingernail on the surface of the wood will still be present after recoating. Do not ever sell them on perfection if you are going to be unable to produce perfection. Not all floors will be candidates for a recoat—some should be sanded and refinished.

    Another thing I have found is that customers often expect the floor to be shinier after a recoat. If the floor has a satin sheen and you recoat with satin, the floor may not look much different. Explain this to them! If you have explained the benefits and the purpose of the recoat in the beginning, this will never be an issue. The purpose of a recoat is to maintain the condition of the floor and to add a layer of finish to the surface to protect the floor from normal wear and tear. In other words, it is Botox, not a facelift! It is important to explain all aspects of your work and to build good relationships with your customers; this is what will earn their trust and earn you additional jobs.

    Step 4: Test adhesion.

    Once the customers understand the risks and the expected outcome of the recoat, and they have agreed to a price, it is time to check the most important part of the recoating process: adhesion. This is where the majority of recoats fail. There are a variety of recoating systems out there. I say “systems” because most of the products recommended for recoats have a very specific set of steps in order for their products to work. They are specific about abrasion, dry times, cleaners used, and the list goes on. Find one you are comfortable with and use it exactly as stated by the manufacturer.

    It is imperative you use exactly the same process for the test location as you do for the actual recoat. Do not cut corners on dry times for a cleaner or bonding agent. Choose a location to test that has received all of the abuses and cleaning products the floor may have encountered, not a location under a rug or in a closet. Find one in the kitchen or maybe in a major traffic area, like a hall. It is not uncommon to have to do multiple locations, and I highly recommend it.

    Once you have found your test location(s) and applied the finish system, it is time for the drum roll. This is the point where you try to make the floor finish system fail. There are two test methods, A and B, and both fall under ASTM 3359 for finish adhesion testing. The results are rated on a scale from 5A-0A, with a 5A being no peeling and 0A being failure well beyond the test section. Check with your finish manufacturer as to which test they want you to use.

    Step 5: Prep your floor.

    Finally, if you have educated your customer and the test locations performed well, it is time for the actual recoat. The only advice I have after this point is: prep, prep, prep your floor. You can never have your floor prepped well enough. Most of the time by this point our work is 90 percent prep and 10 percent finish work. (This is true for almost everything in life.) Spend the time and make sure your floor is free of all debris prior to any finish application. Once the finish is down, we have just sealed that debris in the floor.

    Don’t be afraid of recoats. Embrace the opportunity—just make sure you protect yourself and your customers by doing your due diligence. If you take care of your customers and don’t cut corners, you will build a reputation that will work better than any advertising!

  • A Look at Different Hardwood Flooring Species

    Installing wood floors is an exciting time in every homeowner’s life. With so many wood flooring choices, homeowners have their pick of colors, finishes, grain patterns, and so much more when they go to their flooring stores in Phoenix. hardwood - floor - types

    Ash

    Ash wood floors can come in a variety of colors ranging from a light tan to a darker brown. It has very distinct graining, which makes it a highly sought-after for wood flooring. It also has a standard level of hardness as a hardwood floor.

    Bamboo

    Bamboo floors are considered a great hardwood for the environmentally-conscious homeowner. The bamboo plant grows so quickly that it is an easily renewable source of wood. Floors can come in a yellowish tone to a tan-brown with unique patterns that show the bamboo stalks. Hardness can vary depending on when the bamboo was harvested. Make sure your flooring store works with only reputable bamboo dealers.

    Maple

    If you want a light, creamy color or a reddish brown, then maple is the hardwood to choose. The graining can be barely noticeable, at times, but when it is, maple may have curly patterns or what is called “birdseye.” This is so named because maple can have tiny marks that look like small eyes.

    Oak

    Oak comes in many different species, though typically red and white oak are common choices for hardwood floors. Red oak is a little softer than white, but it is considered one of the most popular wood floor choices on the market. Whichever oak flooring is chosen, it will most likely have hints of red or pink tones.

    Cherry

    Cherry is one of the softest hardwoods available, but it is often picked due to its beautiful reddish brown color. Each plank may have different variations in color, which is another popular reason homeowners choose for flooring. They like the unique look cherry offers.

    Walnut

    Many homeowners love walnut wood floors due it its dark brown coloring. There are many species of walnut, though they all range from a medium to dark, chocolate-colored brown.

  • How Hardwood Floor Installation Works

    You have made your selection for your new wood floors in Phoenix, but they still need to be installed. The installation process is not very difficult, especially if you are working with a professional flooring contractor. In order to receive the best wood flooring installation, be sure to follow your contractors’ instructions before and after installation . Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect from your hardwood floor installation. hardwood - floor - installation

    Pre-Clean Up

    For any type of flooring installation, you need everything moved off the floor. Furniture or appliances of any kind should be moved somewhere out of the way, but try to keep it from a room that you will visit frequently during the installation. You may also consider moving artwork and pictures from the walls, as well as any nearby breakable knickknacks. This is in the event that your flooring contractors need to sand the floor or accidentally hit the wall. Removing these breakables will minimize potential damage and injuries.

    Installing the Planks

    Your flooring contractors will have to prep the area and start installing the wood floors. They may remove the old flooring or use it as a base for the new hardwood floors. Once the floor is ready, the contractors will start laying down the wood planks. They will pay close attention to detail as they notch the planks together and nail or glue them down. Most wood floors are installed similarly, but it is up to your contractor to select the absolute best installation method for your home’s needs.

    Staying Off the Floor

    Your wood floors may need time to settle, or the finish will still be wet. Refrain from walking on the floors until your contractors say it is safe. This will protect your investment from premature damage or cosmetic blemishes. Your contractor will give you an approximate amount of time until your floors are dried, but be sure to check the floor. Make sure it is dry before moving furniture back on it.