Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long refinishing a hardwood floor takes?

That depends on the size of the project. Normally sanding & finishing is a three day process, but allow four in case the finish isn’t dry from one day to the next, depending upon weather conditions.

faq hardwood floors

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 isn’t enough, if any, Wood to sand but if you must choose between laminate and engineered, the life expectancy of an engineered floor is longer.

What kind of hardwoods can I place on a concrete sub floor?

If moisture conditions are acceptable, two of the most widely used applications would be engineered hardwood floors glued direct With the proper adhesives, and floating engineered flooring types. The latter typically glued by tongue and groove and floated over a foam cushioned underlayment. Floating floors are also available in the click together style that require no gluing. More traditional 3/4″ solid hardwoods on concrete can be accomplished With the addition of a plywood sub floor, used as a nailing base over the concrete. However, this raises problems With door entries and other items. Overall vertical height of the new floor will increase by 1 1/2 inches. Unfinished engineered hardwood floors eliminate vertical height issues and can be stained or finished to any desires.

What about putting hardwood in my kitchen?

Hardwood is extremely durable, and With minimal care will far outlast most floor covering. Kitchens are the focal point in many homes and hardwood will warm your kitchen, making all your guests feel right at home. By taking such precautions as cleaning spills as they occur, keeping scatter rugs in high traffic areas such as in front of your sink, refrigerator, etc. Felt cushions on chair legs, and using proper cleaning procedures, your floor should maintain its beauty for years to come.

Can I put hardwood in my bathroom?

Hardwood is installed in 1/2 baths in many instances. If you have a tub or a shower, careful consideration should be given. Water and Wood do not mix!

Can I stay in my home during the floor sanding process?

Yes, however access to the floors will be restricted because of the need for a certain amount of drying time each day.

What about Prefinished (also called factory finished) versus unfinished (also called job-site finished) hardwood floor?

Unfinished product. A Prefinished floor can be installed in a day. An Unfinished flooring installation may require up to four days, depending upon the space.

What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of installing Prefinished hardwood flooring versus installing Unfinished 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. 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 that each time a new run is made, the dye lot changes. Sometimes the color will change just slightly, almost unnoticeable; however, sometimes the color is not even close to the color of the previous production. Prefinished flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses (i.e. Solid, laminate, engineered, etc.); however, the manufacturing process is the same.

Unfinished hardwood flooring, 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. Unfinished hardwood floor allows a Custom stained colors.

I am a handy guy, can I do it Myself? Is it easy?

Have you noticed how many websites around the Internet make it sound like hardwood floors is an easy weekend project. In my opinion there is far too much hype With “Do It Yourself” hardwood floors. Why? Online hardwood floors retailers want that sale and home improvement stores assume anything can be a do it yourself project. Some sites will provide you With a guide “how to do it yourself” , even videos, everything to make a sale.

If you’re looking at hardwood floors, consider a professional for the work. However, if you are determined, look at the pictures at your left and right, results from unexperienced hardwood floor installers and think again

Cleaning Tips: Cleaning Upholstery The Right Way

Practical advice to get the job done more efficiently

Are you an expert at cleaning upholstery? Or are you an expert at cleaning carpet — and simply pick up upholstery cleaning jobs when they come along?

If you fall in the second camp, then you just may find yourself cleaning upholstery the same way you do carpet. Same process. Same cleaning solutions. Same equipment.

Sound familiar? If so, you may be running into problems that you don’t have to. Here are some tips to help you eliminate the problems and help you charge the right amount — probably more — for upholstery jobs.

First use the proper pre-spray. Don’t just grab your carpet pre-spray and figure that’s good enough. There’s a big difference chemically between the two and you’ll see the difference in the final result. Then, make sure you apply the pre-spray properly — apply it evenly, heavy enough to work but not so heavy that it goes through the fabric to the padding. Use a good sprayer — not a trigger sprayer. The best way is to get a one or two-gallon stainless-steel sprayer with a hose long enough to reach around furniture.

After you apply the pre-spray, agitate. Get yourself a good brush to handle this task — a horsehair brush with a tight bristle pack will do the job nicely.

Next, get ready for extraction. Pre-test a spot and you’re ready to go.

Use the proper cleaning equipment. If you have a truckmount, you may be tempted to use it for upholstery. Not necessarily. A good portable with a handheld upholstery tool gets the job done just as well. And you’re not putting excess wear and tear on your expensive equipment. A good portable provides plenty of heat, enough pressure (less than 100 psi is plenty) and quite enough extraction power for often-delicate fabrics.

Develop your expertise with upholstery cleaning and you’ll find this is a great way to boost business!

Cleaning Tips: Tile & Grout Maintenance

Practical advice to get the job done more efficiently

Do any of your customers have tile floors? Then you probably know a bit about tile and grout maintenance. Actually, “tile and grout maintenance” is a misnomer — it’s all about keeping the grout clean.

Keeping the hard floor surface is a piece of cake. Whether the tile is porcelain, ceramic, quarry, terra-cotta or brick, best practices for cleaning hard floors are basically the same. The raw materials that go into tile are varied, ranging from clay to quartz.

The one thing they have in common is that they produce an end product that is extremely durable and water resistant. They typically have a ceramic hardness rating of 5 (the hardest). Contrast that with grout, which is extremely porous and irregular.

No surprise, then, that grout soils faster and more distinctly than tile. If the grout (and tile) were installed properly, then the grout was treated with a sealer. Even then, without proper maintenance the grout discolors quickly. Proper maintenance is not simply damp mopping or spot mopping. This only moves soil from one spot to another.

What’s the solution? Actually, there are three:

One: Use a pressurized spinning tool and hot water extractor. This basically blows the soil out of the low areas so the extractor can eliminate it.

Two: Use counter-rotating brushes in combination with a wet-floor vac.

Three: Use a rotary floor machine with a wet floor vac.

For some great options in equipment, see EDIC’s line of tile and grout cleaning machines.

TIP: Whichever periodic cleaning method you use, the key is to get your customer to agree to a routine (daily, if possible) cleaning schedule for basic mopping and regular professional service. Avoid black soil buildup on the grout in the first place, and you won’t have to deal with a complete restoration.

Top Tips For Working With Presprays and Preconditioners

As a professional carpet cleaner, you probably have your go-to list of presprays or preconditioners that you carry. That’s good, but if you haven’t given any thought lately to your normal collection of supplies, now’s a good time to brush up on the basics.

The key is that most products work well most of the time. The one thing to remember is that no product is right for every job. So, let’s take a look at three main types.

Surfactants

Surfactants typically act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents and dispersants. Surfactants are actually a class of molecule and, when it comes to cleaners, the relevant surfactant types are anionic, cationic, amphoteric and nonionic. The key to their cleaning effectiveness is their ability to lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid.

The most common problem (although still not frequent) with surfactants is the possibility of leaving a sticky residue. That, of course, can result in resoiling.

Mike Kerner, a chemist with Legend Brands, has some tips for using surfactant products.

  • Use no more than the recommended label concentration. Surfactants don’t always work better at higher concentrations. Sometimes the performance actually declines.
  • If you get creative and think you have an additive that works great in a product that contains a surfactant, check with the manufacturer first. You might have a great idea, but there might be a compatibility problem.
  • Low foaming surfactants are becoming ever more popular and they actually work pretty well. If you are accustomed to seeing foam during preconditioning, for example, and you don’t see it when testing a new product, fear not. If it cleans, the lack of foam will make the extraction process much easier.

Solvents

Solvents are designed to dissolve things. Good cleaning products dissolve soil and don’t hurt fabrics, fabric coatings or textile dye.

Solvents have received a lot of regulatory attention. Volatile types can cause bad odor, health issues, air pollution and fire hazards — but luckily these problems are rare. Consequently, the trend is to use solvents that will not evaporate but are water soluble and biodegradable.

Polar solvents typically dissolve in water, and non-polar solvents typically dissolve in oil.

TIP: If you use solvents frequently, you’ve probably discovered that you get good results by blending solvents in a prespray to handle different types of soil. If you have tried this, give it a shot. The trick is to read all labels carefully. Select your solvents to clean petroleum-based soils, cosmetics stains, dried fruit juice and so forth.

Enzymes

A biological detergent is a laundry detergent that contains enzymes harvested from micro-organisms such as bacteria. Biological detergents clean in the same way as non-biological ones — the key difference being that the enzymes have an additional effect. Specifically, they break down protein, starches and fat in dirt and stains — food stains, sweat and mud, for example.

A few more tips from Lerner, the chemist:

  • Enzymes tend to be pretty fussy about their environment. They usually work better when warm, but not too warm. They become ineffective if temperatures are too hot. They also work best in a specific pH range, so don’t get creative with acidic or alkaline additives unless the manufacturer specifies their use.
  • Enzymes like to do their work in a fairly leisurely manner. They don’t have a schedule to keep. You have to be patient and allow enough contact time for them to be effective.
  • Enzymes can be pretty irritating to the lungs, so avoid breathing dusts or aerosols generated during normal application. After all, the enzyme can’t tell the difference between the protein soil in the carpet and the lining of your lungs.

Cleaning Tips: Wool Carpet — Be Careful!

Practical advice to get the job done more efficiently

Cleaning wool carpet or wool rugs can be a lucrative part of your business. But take care when you land a job to clean a wool carpet or rug.

Wool is expensive — damaging it during the cleaning process can turn the job into a giant headache. What’s more, wool rugs — especially handmade rugs — can be not only expensive but irreplaceable. All of which means that you have good reason to charge more. Simply put, it takes special care and knowledge to get the job done right.

Cleaning wool requires different techniques. As a natural fiber, wool is more sensitive to damage in every way — from the machinery and cleaning agents you use to your cleaning technique. Another crucial factor influencing wool’s sensitivity is the fact that wool is dyed with acid dyes. That means that dye migration can be caused by a variety of factors.

Using a high alkalinity cleaner, using too much water, using water that’s too hot — these can all cause dye migration. And then there’s your cleaning technique. If you’re overly aggressive when you clean, you can end up causing felting. And hot water — again, heat’s the culprit — can cause pile distortion.

Before you begin the job, protect yourself by thoroughly inspecting the carpet or rug for pre-existing damage. If you find anything that could be considered damage and not just normal wear and tear, review your results with your customer.

And it doesn’t hurt to have a photographic record of any pre-existing conditions. Be sure to perform a color fastness test. When you choose your cleaners, be especially careful. Use approved cleaners and an approved acid detergent rinse. Oxidizers can be effective on stains but it can damage wool. There are a few hard and fast “Thou Shalt Nots.”

Thou shalt not use disinfectants, silicone fabric protectors or chlorine bleach. When the job is done, be sure to ensure effective drying. If it sounds like a lot of trouble to clean wool, just remember that that’s the reason the job pays top dollar. Commit yourself to learning proper techniques, take care as you gain experience and you’ll have a nice profitable niche for your business