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Friday, October 21, 2011

How Many Times Can My Hardwood Floor Be Sanded?-

The number of times your hardwood floor can be sanded depends on several things.  Flooring manufacturers recommendations, the type of sanding equipment used, flatness of the floor, remaining wear layer and the skill of your floor sanding professional sanding your floor.  

Always measure the remaining wear layer thickness in a few different areas.  This will give you an idea of the flatness of the floor system and help you determine whether you should even attempt sanding.  You can measure the wear layer either by removing floor register covers or shoe molding so that you can see how much "life" is left before you hit the blind nails.  Another option to measure the wear layer is to locate a gap between floor boards and use a "feeler" gauge to measure down to the tongue of the board.  This method will work well on solid hardwood floors, however, I do not suggest using the gauge on engineered products, as they are a ply construction and the "real wood" wear layer will NOT go all the way to the tongue.  If the wear layer measures less than 3/32"...  No sanding!

Another point I would like to make, while on the subject, has to do with factory pre-finished products that have micro-bevels.  Should you decide to refinish these types of floor systems...  Please be aware that there is no way to sand these floors without completely eliminating the bevels!  If they are not completely sanded out, they will be extremely inconsistent across the floor system.  In other words... It looks bad!  Also, keep in mind that by sanding out micro bevels, you will also sand off more of the wear layer on the floor system's first on-site sanding than you will on the second or third sanding.

Using the proper grit sequence on the sanding equipment is also very important in managing the life of your floor system. The rougher the paper, the more life you are sanding away...  Why start with a 24 grit paper when you can start with 40?  Educate yourself on the sanding process and your local sanding professionals...  After all...  A bad job will cost you more money and limit how many times your floor can be sanded.  Remember... You get what you pay for!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hardwood Installation: Minimum Acceptable Job-site Conditions

Wood flooring is one of the last jobs of any construction project.  Prior to delivery of the wood flooring, a site evaluation should be done.  Check for the following:

-Job site should be completely enclosed.
-All outside doors and windows should be in place and have all latching mechanisms installed.
-Surface drainage and grading should direct water away from the job site.
-All wet trades (drywall, plumbing, etc) should be complete and dry.
-All texturing and painting primer coats should be complete.
-In warmer months, the job site should be well ventilated.
-Ensure that the flooring material will not be exposed to extreme humidity or moisture. Interior environmental conditions must be near the average for the geographical location.

Crawl spaces must be dry.

-Crawl space must be a minimum of 18" from the ground to the underside of the floor joist system.
-Crawl space earth must be covered completely by a vapor retarder of at least 6 mil.
-Where proper ground cover is in place, the crawl space should have perimeter venting equal to a minimum of .1600 of the crawl space square footage.
-Vents should be properly located to foster adequate cross ventilation.

Check moisture content of the floor system substrate.

-Wood and concrete sub-floors should be checked by an appropriate method for establishing moisture content.  Average sub-floor moisture content should be within appropriate ranges as specified for the product and according to the product specifications. 
-Assuming all minimum job-site conditions are present, the flooring material can be delivered and stored in the room(s) in which it will be installed.

Many times, flooring contractors are rushed in reference to the job site conditions and end up fielding calls of floor system failures.  Often, these failures occur due to improper job site conditions.  It is the flooring professional's responsibility to properly educate their clients and ensure that all of the above mentioned conditions are present prior to any flooring installation.  

Rushing your hardwood flooring project can have disastrous consequences!  Remember, you get what you pay for! 

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