Below is a list of questions that are commonly asked of us. If your particular query is not included here, please feel free to call, fax or email us and we will be happy to answer your question.
You can also visit our showroom at 810 Rye Street, Unit A in Peterborough during regular business hours, Monday to Friday (7:00am – 5:00pm) and between 9:00am and Noon on Saturdays.
Although it is rare, if you happen to have any questions that we are not 100% certain about the answer, we will consult the National Wood Floor Association to make sure the answer we give you is correct. We are a member of the NWFA, so you know you can trust our advice.
Q: Should I paint before or after the floors are done?
A: This is a matter of opinion. If you wait until after the floors are done, you will need to clean the walls, etc. before painting and you will need to be certain that no paint gets on the floor because it is difficult to remove without marring the finish. You will need to cover the floor completely with a drop sheet -all the way to the edges of the room. Do not apply any kind of tape to the floor.
If you choose to paint before the floors are done, it’s a good idea to leave the baseboard and 1/4 round unpainted because the edging machine usually leaves a small mark near the floor along the edge, and this could be covered when the baseboards and 1/4 round are finally painted. If your 1/4 round (or baseboards) are not yet installed, it is actually a good idea to leave them off during the installation or sanding and finishing to allow sanding of the entire floor right up to the walls. This provides a nice flat base for the trim to sit on. At the very least, leave the painted 1/4 round until after the floors are finished. You will end up with a cleaner appearance.
Keep in mind if you paint beforehand, that you will have to wipe everything down after sanding. Even though we clean up after we have sanded, there is usually a fine dust that clings to walls, etc.
Q: What is the best time of year to do our floors?
A: If you have a forced-air furnace system with a humidity control, this is the ideal situation and you can successfully do floors at any time of year. Because wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, the use of the humidistat kept between 35-45% will minimize this movement. If you do not have a humidistat, then the contraction of the wood is most noticeable in the winter when the air is dry. The resulting gaps in the joints of the boards will close up again in the summer months when humidity is slightly higher. It is for this reason that you are probably better off installing hardwood in the winter when the pieces of wood are at their minimum dimensions, they’ll go together tightly when they expand in the summertime. They should go back to their original positions, without much indication of movement to occur. Sometimes gaps result in some of the joints that do not completely go away. This is not the fault of the installation or a defect in the material, but a normal condition of the behaviour of wood.
If you are building a new home, it is important to have the heating system installed (and the humidistat set at 45%, if applicable) before the flooring is delivered to the job site. The wood should be introduced into conditions similar to those of the living conditions. Wood that is installed in a house without heat, especially in cool months will not behave properly once heat and humidity levels are changed (upon moving in). This is something that is quite often overlooked by builders and can play an important role in the performance of the completed floor.
Q: During new home construction or major renovations, what is the best time to install/finish wood floors?
A: Sometimes wood floors are installed at the wrong time during construction, from unawareness to rushed situations where too many things are going on at once at the job site. Hardwood can be installed long before it must be sanded and finished, which is actually an ideal procedure provided the floor is adequately protected from dirt, water, mortar and grout, etc. This allows the flooring to physically get used to its surroundings. The building should be at the same temperature and humidity levels as comfortable living conditions, 61-71 degrees and 45% humidity. Flooring installed before these conditions can be damaged. When the building is finally lived in, the floor may “move” dimensionally due to the drastic swing in temperature or humidity and may have to be resanded, etc. It is not always practical or possible to have flooring installed this far ahead of finishing. Flooring can be successfully installed and finished in less time provided the conditions exist before flooring is delivered to the job site. Often these factors are overlooked by the hurried contractor and can result in an expensive lesson to be learned. Knowing this ahead of time will assure the best possible performance and life from your hardwood floor.
Leaving wood floors done while there are other tradesmen in the area usually creates havoc and should be avoided. The floor man must ensure good conditions in order to do a proper, dust-free job. These can all be altered by vibrations in the walls (from hammering, etc.) that can dislodge particulate that lands on wet finishes. Simply opening a door when it is windy outside can ruin a freshly finished floor, even if the door is nowhere near the floor. Also, tradesmen walking across the floor, using ladders, extension cords running across the floor, etc. can all have an impact on the outcome of the floor.
The best time to do most of the work on wood floors is after everyone else is finished, except for maybe the final coat of paint on trim.