Frequently Asked QuestionsPlease browse our FAQ.
After hardwood floors are finished, how soon before furniture can be moved on them?
That depends on which type of polyurethane finish is used on the hardwood. Different water-based polyurethane finishes have different curing out periods. You should either check with your hardwood flooring company or follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the best time to begin moving furniture and appliances in on your hardwood floors..
Most, if not all, oil-modified polyurethane finishes have a 14-day curing out period. If you cannot wait the full 14 days, we recommend that you wait at least one (1) week before moving any furniture in on the floor.
Regardless of which type finish is on your hardwood floor, you should never slide or roll anything across a hardwood floor as this may scratch your finish or damage the hardwood itself.
There are furniture protectors that can be purchased at just about every hardware store. Prior to moving any furniture into the home, we recommend that you go ahead and place protectors on all furniture. That way, you won’t have to do it after you move in.
Chairs with plastic or metal rollers should not be placed directly on hardwood floors. The rollers will scratch the finish and could also damage the floor.
See our Maintenance Sheet for more tips and information.
After hardwood floors are finished, how soon can they be walked on?
Twenty-four hours after the final coat is applied.
Are there any additional costs associated with installing hardwood floors in an existing home?
That is an excellent question and the answer is “Yes”.
Additional costs would include, but not be limited to:
- Removing and hauling away any existing flooring
- Subfloor preparation
- Removal of existing floor trim (i.e. shoemold, baseboards, reducers, etc.)
- Moving furniture
- Moving appliances
- Cutting door jambs
- Hanging plastic in doorways
Homeowners are usually responsible for any clean-up or paint touch-up once the job is completed.
Be sure you understand exactly what your responsibilities will be and what the flooring company’s responsibilities will be in regard to any of the above, prior to beginning the work.
Can ¾ hardwood floor be installed directly on concrete
If the question is can a 3/4″ hardwood floor be installed directly on concrete, the answer is “I wouldn’t if I were you”.
If the question is can a 3/4″ hardwood floor be installed over top of a concrete slab, the answer is “Yes”.
Our showroom is a perfect example of that.
Can you nail hardwood into concrete? No.
First, you must install a 3/4″ Tongue & Grooved plywood subfloor on top of the concrete slab which will give you a nailing surface for your hardwood.
One thing you should know is that this will raise your floor height one and a half inches (1-1/2″) which means interior and exterior doors and thresholds may have to be adjusted so that the doors will open and close freely without any interference with the floor.
Dark stains are beautiful. Are they as easy to take care of as lighter stains?
The answer is “No”.
Dark stains are harder to maintain in that they show dust and damage faster than lighter stain colors. Also, they fade in areas where windows and glass doors are exposed to sunlight.
The lighter stains, on the other hand, will darken over time when exposed to sunlight giving the floor a richer look without the maintenance headaches.
Does a wider board make a room look bigger?
The answer is No.
Wider boards (4″ or wider) actually make a room appear smaller than it is
Narrower boards such as 2-¼” and 3″ will make a room appear larger than it actually is.
For example, let’s say you have a room that is 20 x 20 which is 400 Square Feet.
Now put some oversized furniture, a big screen television and a large entertainment center in that room. Now stand back and look at the room. Do you think the room looks bigger or smaller?
How can a person tell if the hardwood flooring in their home is solid, laminate or engineered?
If you have air vents in your floor, simply pull out one of the registers and look at the flooring.
You should have a floor on top of a sub-floor.
If the floor on top is one solid piece almost an inch thick, then you have solid hardwood.
If, however, the top floor looks like thin layers pressed together or just a thin board by itself, then you have either a laminate or engineered floor.
If your air vents are located in the ceiling, you may not be able to tell.
If your house is on a concrete slab and the hardwood is glued directly to the slab, the chances are good that it is either a laminate or engineered floor.
How to choose a reputable and professional hardwood flooring company.
Ask questions. Ask for references (Do not look at photographs). Talk to your friends, relatives and neighbors. Look at floors recently done by the company.
There is no such thing as a stupid question when you’re trying to learn about a product. Hardwood floors are a long-term investment and should not be taken lightly. If the flooring company is unable to answer your questions to your satisfaction or not at all, you should probably go somewhere else. If you don’t understand the answer, ask them to explain it to you. A professional company will take the time to answer any questions that you might have. Also, visit their showroom to look at what is available and what is going to fit your needs. Ask questions about durability, maintenance, stain colors (some hardwoods will not accept a stain and will look spotted if you attempt to stain them), etc.
A reputable flooring company will always give you a list of references if you request one. If not, go somewhere else.
Friends, relatives and neighbors are a good source for finding a reputable and professional flooring company. Ask if they had any problems with the company and if so, were the problems resolved in a timely manner and to their satisfaction. Finally, look at their hardwood floors.
The Yellow Pages is a good source of information as well; however, it is probably not a good idea to choose a flooring company that doesn’t bother to list a physical address for their company.
The key is to know what you’re getting yourself into before you spend any money so that you won’t be disappointed with the end result.
Is it cheaper to purchase hardwood flooring and then hire someone to install it as opposed to hiring a company to handle everything?
In most cases, the answer is “No”.
The most common mistake made is not knowing how much hardwood to purchase or purchasing too much hardwood and being stuck with the overage. In this instance, you’ve either spent too much money or not enough money.
Another big problem that arises is who would be responsible if the floor doesn’t look good. This happens more often that you think. The installer could say that you purchased “bad flooring”. The company where the flooring was purchased could say “bad installation”.
An even bigger headache would be hiring a third person to do the sanding and finishing. That person could place blame on either or both of the other two which gets that person off the hook.
Add to that the fact that everyone has already been paid and your floor looks like crap.
What do you do then?
You call a professional flooring company and pay to have them come out to your house and fix it. That’s not cheap!
If you are going to spend money on a hardwood floor, unless you are installing the floor yourself, you really should hire a reputable and professional hardwood flooring company to handle the entire project. They know the products they sell, how much will be needed to do the job, and the type of work their installers and finishers do.
Also, if there is a problem, the consumer has only one person to deal with which means that problems can be resolved much faster and to everyone’s satisfaction.
(Note: This answer also applies no matter what type of flooring is involved.)
On new construction, when is the best time to sand and finish the hardwood floors?
The best time to sand and finish a hardwood floor, in new construction, is after the following has been done:
1) Full power on the house with the meter set;
2) The heat and air unit has been set, turned on and has been running for approximately 1 – 2 weeks (depending on the time of the year);
3) All cabinets, plumbing fixtures and lights have been set;
4) All windows and exterior doors are in place;
5) All trim work (except shoemold) and painting (except touch-up) has been completed;
6) If the house is on a crawl space, the ground should be completely covered in plastic and the crawl space insulated.
A good rule of thumb would be to contact the flooring company after the heat and air has been turned on and schedule for someone to come out and check the moisture content in the wood. This will give everyone a pretty good idea as to when the hardwood will be ready for sanding and finishing. There should be no one in the house during the sanding and finishing process other than the hardwood people. After the floors have been finished, the carpet can be installed, the painter can do any touch-up, and the trim carpenter can install any shoemold.
On new construction, when should an unfinished hardwood floor be installed?
We recommend that an unfinished hardwood floor be installed after the drywall is finished and the painter has sprayed on the primer coat, but before the trim carpenter has started the trim out.
Should hardwood flooring be left in a house to acclimate before installation?
If the hardwood is prefinished, it is recommended by most manufacturers that this type flooring be placed inside an acclimated house and allowed to acclimate to its surroundings prior to installation.
If the hardwood flooring is unfinished, we recommend that this type flooring be installed immediately upon delivery and then allowed to acclimate after installation, but prior to sanding and finishing.
What about those hardwood flooring warranties?
If you’ve ever read a warranty of any kind, you already know that there are a lot of loop holes associated with warranties. Hardwood flooring warranties are no different.
Do not base your decision to purchase any type of flooring, whether its hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, engineered flooring, carpet, vinyl, or tile because it has a so-called “Warranty”.
What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of installing Prefinished hardwood flooring versus installing Unfinished hardwood flooring?
Both cost about the same installed.
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, the prefinished flooring may be a better way for you to go because there is no sanding and finishing involved. However, if you are hiring a contractor to install your hardwood flooring, there is nothing better than an unfinished hardwood floor that is sanded and finished on site.
To help you understand the difference, you first have to understand the process. Let’s begin.
Prefinished flooring is manufactured in a facility mostly by conveyor belt method. After the hardwood is kiln dried, tongue and grooved, and beveled on the edges, it is placed on a conveyor belt where the stain (unless “Natural”) is applied and then dried on the top of the boards. From there, it continues down the conveyor belt where thin amounts of a water-based polyurethane finish are jet-sprayed on top of the boards. Each coat of finish is applied in a thin layer so that it will dry quickly before the boards reach the next set of sprayers. This process continues until each board has approximately 7 – 8 coats of sprayed-on type finish.
You should also know that each run of this type flooring is like a run of carpet in that each time a new run is made, the dye lot changes, just like carpet. Sometimes the color will change just slightly, almost unnoticeable; however, sometimes the color is not even close to the color of the previous production. If you purchase a prefinished floor, check the carton for either a run number or date stamp. All manufacturers of prefinished flooring will put one or the other on each carton so that they and their distributors and retailers know which dye lot was run. Before purchasing your prefinished flooring, make sure the numbers or date match so that you don’t wind up with a different looking floor. These are things that you, the consumer, need to know before purchasing any type of prefinished flooring.
Once installed and as you’re walking on it, you will notice that your prefinished floor is uneven and that some of the boards are higher than the boards they’re next to. There are two reasons for this. The first is that your subfloor is not level and hardwood contours to the subfloor. The second reason is because the guidelines set by National Oak Flooring Manufacturers’ Association (NOFMA) and National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) allow the manufacturers a certain level of tolerance with regard to height variations. This is where the beveled edges (more commonly referred to by the public as “dirt and dust collectors”) come into play. The beveled edges give the appearance that the hardwood floor is level and they help to cut down on splintering problems as you’re walking on the floor either in socks or heels.
It should also be noted that prefinished flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses (i.e. solid, laminate, engineered, etc.); however, the manufacturing process is the same.
Unfinished hardwood flooring, when installed, is also uneven; however, after it is sanded and finished, it is flat and smooth (if done properly). Most unfinished hardwood flooring does not have a beveled edge so dust and dirt getting trapped between the boards is not a problem. If stained, the stain is applied in a wipe on, wipe off excess, technique which allows the hardwood to look more natural (as hardwood was intended to look) and, more importantly, the polyurethane finish is applied with an applicator in thick coats giving the customer a longer-lasting wear protection.
What is Cupping and Doming?
Cupping is what a hardwood floor does when it has a high moisture content. It actually looks like an ocean of waves. Cupping can be attributed to water leaks that wick into the hardwood and from moisture that’s getting into the house from outside. In new construction, this is normal until the heat and air unit is turned on at which time the unit will draw the moisture out of the air and out of the hardwood.
Once dry, the hardwood floor will lay down and then it’s ready for sanding and finishing. This is good because it allows the flooring contractor to replace any damaged boards before the floor is finished. In existing homes where cupping has occurred and the owner is unable to determine the reason for the cupping problem, a professional flooring company should be contacted to investigate the problem and provide a solution.
Doming occurs when a hardwood floor is sanded and finished without having been properly acclimated. It actually looks like a caterpillar where the center of the boards are raised but the sides of the boards are down. If a hardwood floor is cupped and the moisture content is above 9%, it should not be sanded and finished. To do so will most likely result in doming. The floor must first dry out and lay back down, then it can be sanded and finished. This rule applies to new construction as well as an existing home.
NOTE: Just because a hardwood floor is cupped or domed does not mean that the floor is ruined and should be pulled out and replaced.
With cupping, the floor just has to dry out and it will lay back down. If you are a patient person, this will take approximately 6 – 8 weeks; however, you should notice a significant difference in about 4 weeks.
If you would like to help the drying process along, simply place a box fan (no heat) in front of the cupped area and turn it on. You will need to let it run non-stop for about 2 weeks. Then check the floor and see if it has begun to lay down.
If you notice the hardwood turning black on top of the boards or if the center of any boards have split or cracked (not on the sides, just in the center of the boards), these boards will have to be replaced.
If a hardwood floor is domed, resanding and refinishing the hardwood floors will correct the problem. (These procedures only apply to 3/4″ thick hardwood flooring. They do not apply to any laminate or engineered flooring.)
What is acclimation?
Normally when hardwood flooring is shipped from the manufacturer’s warehouse, it has been kiln dried to a moisture content of 6% – 7%.
If the flooring is stored in a warehouse that is heated and cooled, the moisture content will remain the same.
If, however, the flooring is stored outside in the weather or in a warehouse that is not heated and cooled, the moisture content will be higher.
In the Knoxville area, existing homes range between 7% – 9% moisture content, while a new house under construction will have a moisture content range between 10% – 13%.
Once the heat and air unit has been installed and is turned on, the moisture content will drop to between 7% – 9%. Acclimation is very important when it comes to hardwood floors.
If the hardwood is installed with a moisture content above 10%, it will have larger than normal cracks after it becomes acclimated.
Also, if the hardwood has not been acclimated prior to being sanded and finished, there is a great potential for problems with the hardwood in the future.
What is the difference between a Satin finish, a Semi Gloss finish and a High Gloss finish?
The Satin finish is a matte finish and the easiest to maintain. Because it has a low sheen, it is very forgiving insofar as showing scratches, dents, and wear and tear over time.
The Semi Gloss finish has some shine and is a little harder to maintain in that it will show scratches, dents and wear and tear sooner.
The High Gloss finish is the hardest to maintain in that it shows everything – dust, dirt, scratches, dents, and wear and tear in general the quickest.
Contrary to some beliefs, all three finishes have the same hardness.
What is laminate wood and engineered flooring?
Laminate wood flooring is basically plywood with a veneer wood on the top layer.
Engineered flooring is basically vinyl attached to an underlayment.
Despite what anyone tells you, these types of flooring cannot be refinished. There just isn’t enough, if any, wood to sand.
Why should I choose hardwood over carpet or tile?
Hardwood floors give a home a more warm and inviting feeling.
They are also a better long-term investment over carpet and tile.
Hardwood floors require little maintenance as opposed to carpet and tile, and they’re great for both children and adults with allergies, asthma and bronchitis problems.
I have noticed that during the winter I have gaps/cracks in my hardwood floors. What causes this and how can I prevent it from happening?
During winter months the heat system is on in the house and it causes your hardwood floors to shrink resulting in gaps or cracks between the boards.
This is normal.
Gas or Propane heat will dry the house out quicker and cause more gaps/cracks. Also the wider the boards, the larger the gaps/cracks. You should wait until the humidity outside goes up and your A/C has been on for about 30 days. This will put moisture back in the house and the gaps/cracks will close up.
If the gaps/cracks do not close up during the summer months, you should call a hardwood flooring expert and have them take a look at your hardwood floors before fall. You could install a humidifier on your heat system to maintain humidity in the house year round. While this will help, you may still develop gaps/cracks.