Frequently Asked Questions
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Can we buy flooring materials through you?
Yes you can. I have many different distributors that I can buy from. This allows me to shop around and find the best price available. I can buy unfinished and prefinished materials.
Because of a relationship that I have with a local flooring store I can get many other flooring materials. I can get laminates, vinyl, tile and carpet. I can supply the material and labor to redo any of the flooring in your home.
Can you really sand a floor with little or no dust?
Yes I can.
When you sand a wood floor there is dust involved. I have invested in equipment and training to try and help minimize or eliminate this negative effect of the wood floor sanding process. I use the Bona DCS (dust containment system). All of the tools in this system are specifically designed to keep the dust down during the sanding process. They are integrated together. When you take a sanding machine from one company and a vacuum from another they do not work together as efficiently as machines designed to work together.
A shop vac hooked up to a sander is not dust containment! It catches some of the dust in a canister and the blows the fine dust out of its ventilation system. A bag on a floor sander needs air to pass through it to keep it working. The air passing through it takes dust with it until the bag is clogged. Once it is clogged it becomes very ineffective.
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Can a person using the traditional method be clean?
Yes they can, but it is riskier and more time consuming.
Can a person using a dust containment system have dust?
Yes they can, if they do not use the system properly or have the right attitude toward cleanliness.
Here is a review of the Bona DCS system:
The effects of the new Dust Care System (DCS) are scientifically proven. The latest independent scientific research carried out by the University Hospital in Sweden evaluated sanding a room with an ordinary dust collection bag compared with sanding the same room with the Dust Care Single attached to a sanding machine via a hose. The recommended limit for airborne sanding dust in Sweden is 2 mg per cubic meter of air.
With the Dust Care Single, the reading was 0.1 mg/m3, which is 5% of the limit. With the ordinary dust collection bag, the reading was 1.4 mg/m3, 70% of the limit. This shows that the Dust Care Single is a more effective collector of dust. The measurement of 0.1 mg/m3 was so low that it was barely detectable using the laboratory measuring equipment.
I have the tools, knowledge, and attitude toward cleanliness that makes this possible. I also have 15 years of wood floor sanding experience in both methods of sanding. I would much rather sand a floor using a dust containment system than bags. It is better for my customers and for me.
What kind of finishes do you use?
The majority of the finish that I use is from Bona-Kemi (Bona for short). Here is an explanation of their finishes:
Bona waterborne finishes have no toxic fumes and low VOC's so they are healthier for your family, pets, and the environment. In addition, there is no need to vacate your home during the finishing process due to fast dry times and easy water clean-up. This Swedish waterborne technology highlights the true beauty and elegance of the wood and provides the ultimate in durability. GREENGUARD certified for indoor air quality.
Most of my customers are able to stay in their homes. Everyone has a little different sensitivity towards smells so that has to be taken into consideration but for the most part the fumes are gone within twenty four hours.
I can also do the traditional Swedish finished like Glitsa and Synteco. They are also very good finishes but they will force you to leave your home during the drying process. It will also get rid of any insect problem you may have.
Which finish is the best?
It depends which finish manufacturer you speak with. They all say their finish is the best. I have not been able to find any independent testing that would show which one is best.
Each manufacturer does their own testing but they can not name any of their competitors within that test. They can only name their own product. As a result, you can only see which of their products are the best. Bona can test their products against other products but the can only put the name of their products on the test results. The other products are finish A or Finish B etc. All finish manufacturers do this.
I try to use finishes that I know my customers have used and therefore have a type of track record. That is why I use Bona waterbase finishes. They have been around since the 70's. A lot of other companies use Bona's finishes as a comparison. For instance, our finish is like Bona's Mega. My customers have been happy with the product so I keep using it. Glitsa and Syntec are much the same.
Which finish will last the longest?
This is a hard question. There really is not a good answer. It really comes down to how you maintain the floor. The toughest floor finish can be worn out in a few years if you wear gravel filled shoes or do not clean the floor regularly.
A really bad finish can last a long time if it is well taken care of. It really is about maintaining your floor properly. When I am finished with a customers floor I try to educate them on proper floor maintenance and the right products to use to take care of their floor.
What is GREENGUARD certified?
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that establishes standards and testing for indoor products. Their goal is to improve public health by helping manufacturers build safer products. These products will not pollute the air with harmful levels of dangerous chemicals or particulates.
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) strives to protect human health and quality of life by establishing standards and certification programs to reduce exposure to chemicals and to improve indoor air quality. As an ANSI standards developer, GEI follows defined procedural processes in establishing its program standards.
The GREENGUARD standards are among the most stringent indoor air quality standards in the world, and they are based on available standards and guidelines from national and international public health agencies. Not all GREENGUARD standards are ANSI standards. However, all GREENGUARD standards are documented, publicly available (along with test protocols) and have been reviewed by public health/toxicology advisory groups.
All of my equipment and Bona finishes fall within these guidelines.
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It depends on how much money you want to spend. I always tell customers to really do their research on bamboo flooring before they make a decision. I think that the bottom line for bamboo is that to get a good, no problem floor you need to spend a little bit of money.
Visit my bamboo flooring page to learn more.
Will my dogs claws scratch the floor?
A dogs claws are always hard on a floor. This can come down to how often you clip your dogs nails or how much you walk your dog. Size also plays a part in this. Certain woods are softer than others and their claws can scratch the wood itself.
Harder wood will prevent this but the finish may still be able to be scratched. A fir or cherry floor with a large dog will probably get scratched. The same wood with a small dog may not. With a larger dog you would probably want to choose a harder wood. A lot of things can scratch the finish of a wood floor, dog claws, chairs, and kids toys. There are a couple of things we can do there.
I can put a layer of a commercial grade finish as a topcoat and this will make the finish more durable. Secondly, Bona has also started making an additive to their residential finishes that helps with scuff prevention. If your floor has been maintained properly it is easy to come in and put a new coat of finish on your floor and any surface scratches in the finish will be taken care of.
Can you make my floor look good without sanding it down to bare wood?
In this case we could come in and do what is call a re-coat. We would come in and do a light buffing to abrade the floor and then apply another coat of finish. This is usually a one day project. With Bona's finishes you would be able to be on your floor the next day. This would get rid of any surface scratches and dullness but would not take out scratches or dings in the wood. It is recommended that a wood floor be re-coated every five years to help maintain it and keep it looking good.
This would not be an option is if there is any foreign residue on the floor. This would come from a lot of the household cleaners that are available today. Products like Murphys oil soap, Orange Glow, Swifer cleaners and many others. These products all leave an oily residue or a type of silicone on the floor that can not be removed and will prevent another coat of finish from sticking.
Any product that has wax in it will cause the same problem. We can come and look at the floor and do a test area in an out of the way spot to see if it is possible. If it is not possible then the floor may have to be sanded down to bare wood and the process started over.
The other time that this is not an option is if your floor finish is worn through to bare wood. It is hard to spot sand an area and have it match the existing floor. In this case I would recommend a re-sand.
Is raw wood flooring or pre-finished flooring better?
That depends on the customer situation and their need. Prefinished hardwood is 3/4 inch thick hardwood just like raw wood is. The manufacturer puts bevels on the edges of the board to compensate for any milling imperfections. It does not get sanded so that is their way of taking care of that. Because of these bevels you can see the edges of all the boards. These bevels can also be very good junk catchers.
I remember going into one of my distributors show rooms and an employee was cleaning out the bevels of the prefinished floor with a knife. They are getting pretty good with these bevels though and a lot of them are pretty small now. The big selling point is that it does not have to be sanded after is is installed. They can be re-sanded in the event that they are ever worn through or damaged.
Unfinished wood is 3/4 inch thick material. It is installed and then sanded and finished in place. That is why it is called site finished flooring. Because it is sanded after it is installed there are no bevels because the milling imperfections are taken care of in the sanding. This makes the finished floor completely smooth. It looks like one continuous piece of wood.
If you want a color added to your floor it can be chosen on site so you know you are getting the color you want. The big negative of this type of flooring is that it has to be sanded and that is messy. If you have read my other answers you will see that I have done a lot to make that part of the process better. Quite often there is more dust made in the installation process than in the sanding process.
I try to inform my customers of the positives and negatives of each type of flooring and then let them decide which type will suit them better.
If we buy material from another source can you work with it?
We can. You do not need to use a specific store or insurance companies installers. You are the homeowner and that is your decision. If you install your own unfinished flooring we can come and sand and finish it for you.
If you buy your flooring from a big box retailer we will come and install it for you. They will just send over a crew from an out of town company to do the work. They will blast it out and leave. If there are problems you will not be able to get them to come back. We are local and are here to make sure you are happy with your finished product.