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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How To Clean a Hardwood Floor

One of the biggest issue that I run into out in the field is the lack of proper maintenance of hardwood floors. Just because you can buy it in the store or just because the bottle says, "Hardwood Floor Cleaner" doesn't mean that it is the best product for you floor. In fact, it doesn't mean that the product is in fact safe to use on your hardwood floor. Stay away from products that have any wax or detergent based solutions in them. Remember, the large retail stores appeal to the masses and the masses are relatively uneducated about the Hardwood Flooring industry. Here is an example; how many times have you seen someone mopping a hardwood floor with a string mop and bucket of dirty water? Now, let's take that same bucket of dirty water and wipe down your Grandma's antique Maple Hutch. I don't think so! So why in the world would you continue to push this dirty water around on your antique Maple floors. Folks, there are good products out there designed specifically for your floor. They are little more expensive, but, not near as expensive as the sanding and refinishing is going to be. Check with your local hardwood flooring professional about the best products for you to clean your hardwood floor with.

I am Afraid to Have My Floors Sanded!

I understand! Many people are scared to death to have their floors sanded. Granted, the procedure can be a little trying with moving furniture around and arranging for a place to stay for a few nights, however, your flooring contractor should not add a lot of stress to an already uncomfortable situation. Research! You have to do some leg work on your own to ensure that you hire the right company for the job. There are a few very simple rules that you should follow when interviewing and considering potential contractors. First, always be sure that the flooring contractor is adequately insured for the project the you will be hiring him or her to do. General liability insurance is an absolute must. No reputable contractor is going to go into your home with the intention of doing damage. After all, you are hiring them to restore or upgrade your floor. Having said this, accidents do happen! Should one of these accidents occur and it is deemed that it was at the fault of the "floor guy", then you deserve to have your property returned to the same condition that it was in prior to the "accident". Most individuals don't have that kind of cash flow. If you ensure that your contractor has Liability insurance, then you should be covered. Never assume that every contractor has insurance. Always ask for a certificate from their insurance company. Second, check your contractor's references. References are a wonderful source to ask the questions that you may feel uncomfortable asking your contractor. Were they on time? Were they professional? Do they have good customer service? Do they do good work? These are just a few examples of the questions that, through my years in this industry, have proved to be some of the most popular. Don't be afraid to ask questions! The only dumb question really is the one not asked. Third, Educate yourself about the procedure that you are having done. Having said this, keep in mind that not every hardwood flooring technician follows a straight and narrow line that is the end all be all of the flooring world. Ultimately the finished product is what we are all most interested in. There are basic procedural events that should take place on every sanding job and those are the things that you should be familiar with. Ask your contractor about their specific procedure and, once again, ask questions. Find out if they use a dust containment system if you are concerned with dust. Ask if they offer a cleaning service after the project has been completed. Educate yourself! Finally, have realistic expectations of how your project will turn out. If your floor is 100 years old, it will not look brand new once your flooring contractor is done. It should look like a 100 year old refinished floor. View your completed flooring job from a standing position as this is how others will view it. I promise, I can crawl around on any floor in the United States and find imperfections in the floor boards, finish or both and I can find these imperfections in job site finished or pre finished hardwood floors. Sanding floors is an art form with imperfections and character. Be aware that there will be defining characteristics of every floor. Many contractors will do everything in their power to fix any problems that you may have with your completed flooring job, however, sometimes trying to fix small imperfections can lead to much larger problems. In closing, sanding your hardwood floor is a large decision that should be thought about and thoroughly planned. Having your floor sanded properly and professionally will save you a lot of heartache and extend the life of your hardwood floor for many years to come. Remember, educate yourself and most importantly, you get what you pay for.

Should I hire a Professional to Sand My Hardwood Floors?

Most of the time my answer to this question is yes. You see, there are a lot of things that go into sanding a floor rather than just putting some sandpaper on the floor slapping some varnish over it and moving on. There are several things that must be decided upon prior to actually sanding. First, you have to be sure that what you are sanding up is disposed of properly. There may be state and local laws on disposal of what ever product was used to finish your floor previously, IE: varnish, lacquers or moisture cured finishes. A professional hardwood floor contractor should be able to determine what types of finishes are on your floor and be versed in the proper disposal of said finishes. This step is very important as improper disposal could cost you a lot of money in the end. Second, it is very important that the grit selection of your sandpaper minimize the amount of flooring that will be sanded up. A solid hardwood floor should last you a lifetime, however, one bad sanding job could rip a lot of life away. Sanding too aggressively could cause deep machine marks and ultimately require board replacements. It is a common misconception that just because your floor is 3/4" thick that you can sand that much off of it. Nope. Only the top portion of the floor board is sand-able. There is a wear layer on the top of the board and once it is gone, blind nails will begin to appear. At this point, the floor has been sanded as far as it can go. Also, all sand paper is not created equal. Most of the paper on the rental market is not top of the line abrasives. If your sand paper begins to "throw" grit while you are sanding, low and behold, there will be tracking in your floor. You should also be aware that how you operate the machine will reveal itself on the finished floor. If you did not maintain straight lines or moved a little too fast or slow, it will be seen. Third, applying surface finishes to a hardwood floor is not as easy as it may sound. It is important to make sure that you apply the finish at the manufacturer's recommended spread rate. Too thin or too heavy can result in pooling and dry spots. The only time that I may recommend refinishing a hardwood floor on your own is in a inconspicuous place like a closet or small area. Most flooring contractors charge a job minimum price on refinishing because the equipment is very labor intensive. One very important point to remember when hiring a professional is that going with the lowest

How Do I Choose a Hardwood Floor?

Probably the most difficult dilemma that my clients run into during their project. You know, I wish I had one line of advice that I could give you on how to choose the right species for your home. However, there really isn't one. All I can tell you is that there are several things that you should consider when choosing. First, you have to choose a species that carries the characteristics that will compliment your home. If you have a high end home with very involved decorating and accent work, then a rustic Pine floor might not be for you. On the other hand, many homes look very nice with a rustic grade of flooring in them. Think about the overall look that you are going for and look at samples to jog your mind. Second, not only is the species an issue but solid or engineered flooring must be decided upon. Keep in mind that in some applications you may only have one option to choose from. Make sure you ask your flooring contractor which options are available to you. Another issue that I run into time and time again is the quality of flooring that people buy "on their own." Here again, you get what you pay for. I can almost guarantee you that if you are paying $.99 per square foot, it is going to look like it. In addition, your flooring contractor may charge you more to work with a "cheap" floor that is more difficult to work with due to the milling of the floor boards. Most of the time, you will wind up paying less money for the overall flooring project if you buy a more expensive flooring material. I encourage all of my new floor clients to purchase the flooring material from us as I can honor a material guarantee. If you go out and buy the product on your own, guess what, If there is a material defect, you are on your own. Be careful purchasing liquidated or close out products. If you run into an issue a couple of years down the road, chances are you will not be able to re-purchase the same material to do repairs. I have run into several horror stories of houses that have flooded in one room and the entire home's flooring had to be torn out and a new floor installed because the product could not be found anymore. Oh yeah... the insurance company only paid for the room that flooded. Be careful, find something that should be around for a while. When selecting a product, have realistic expectations of the life of the floor. If you buy a solid floor, it should last you a lifetime. If you buy an engineered floor, you will probably only get one or two sandings out of it, if you hire a highly skilled craftsman to sand it (very expensive). If you buy a laminate floor, it can not be sanded. Check with flooring companies before you buy product from a large retail chain. Many contractors are actually Dealer/Contractors that can offer really good deals on flooring believe it or not. Think about it, a flooring contractor makes their money trough the labor to install or sand, not from the flooring purchase. In addition, most professional contractors will only offer mid to upper line products that many times you can purchase for less than you can get a lesser product from the large retail stores. So basically, you get an upgrade in flooring, you get the product from the installer and you get a material guarantee from your contractor. Remember, not all hardwood manufacturers mill their floors the same. Some are good and some are not. You get what you pay for!

Refined Hardwood Flooring Donates Floor to Wounded Marine

Refined Hardwood Donates Hardwood Floor to Wounded Marine Category: Life
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NewswireToday - /newswire/ - ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Raleigh, NC, United States, 11/20/2007 - Company partners with Refined Hardwood Flooring to help wounded serviceman regain independence...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Horizon Forest Products (HFP), a top distributor of products for hardwood flooring contractors and custom cabinetmakers in the southeast, recently donated materials used to upfit Marine Sean Debevoise's home. Debevoise was shot four times while on raid in al Anbar Province in Iraq and after many months of rehabilitation, still walks with a severe limp.David and Melissa Allen, owners of Wilmington-based Refined Hardwood Flooring, found out about Debevoise through an Army acquaintance of David Allen, who served in the Middle East in the 90's. "As an Army veteran, I remember how important it was for me to know that people back home supported me and my mission," explains Allen. "Both Melissa and I wanted to help a wounded veteran and that's when we heard about Sean."Partnering with Horizon Forest Products, Refined Hardwood Flooring removed the carpeting from the common living areas and master bedroom of Debevoise and his wife, Rachel's, home and replaced it with ½" engineered flooring. HFP donated the materials and Refined Hardwood Flooring donated the labor. Allen says that according to Debevoise, the new floor has "made his life easier and his recovery faster."Says Horizon Forest Products' Wilmington Branch Leader, David Blackburn, "As a company, it is an honor and a privilege to help someone that has given so much for our country. In this time, when all you hear are negative stories in the world, we are fortunate to be connected with a story, like Sean's, that we know has made a positive difference."Adds Allen, "It is my hope that others will read this story and remember that we still have many men and women in harm's way, fighting so that we can all continue to do what we love doing day to day. I also hope that we can help other veterans out there that need us."About Horizon Forest ProductsHorizon Forest Products is a top distributor of products for hardwood flooring contractors and custom cabinetmakers in the southeast. The company currently services areas around Raleigh, NC; Wilmington, NC; Greensboro, NC; Charleston, SC; and Knoxville, TN. Horizon Forest Products provides premium materials to cabinetmakers and hardwood flooring contractors and is particularly proud to offer one of the largest selections of exotic and hard-to-find pine flooring.About Refined Hardwood FlooringRefined Hardwood Flooring has been in existence for over three generations. Originally based out of New York State, the large demand for hardwood flooring has called for an expansion into North Carolina. Now based out of Wilmington, RHF offers the expert knowledge of hardwood flooring and the guarantee of complete customer satisfaction. Refined Hardwood Flooring is a proud member of the National Wood Flooring Association.

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