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Other Information and What to Expect

What to Expect

Paint: If you are planning to paint before your floors are refinished or installed, please save the final coat of paint until after our team has completed the project. Our goal is to get as close to the walls as possible, so for this reason, some touch-ups may be required around the bottom of the wall or baseboard area, especially when selecting darker stain colors. When painting after your floor is completed, DO NOT tape floor protection to your new floor. You can tape floor protection together and let it “float” but do not adhere it to the floor.

Shoe Molding:

Primed pine shoe molding: If you have new primed pine shoe molding being installed and would like to paint it before doing so, please let us know and we can have our crew bring it on the first day of your project. It is typically installed on the last day of your project. If you would like help painting, we can coordinate with a local painting company that we partner with to do this for you.

R&R of existing shoe molding: If we are removing and reinstalling (R&R) your existing shoe molding, please keep in mind that although we are very careful to avoid breaking it, sometimes it is unavoidable. We can install replacements for $2 per foot.

Odor: Stains and polyurethane have a very strong odor. We recommend that Functional Floors customers plan other accommodations during this process. This odor will dissipate as the finish cures. After the floor is dry, fans blowing the air outside through a window can help speed up this process. If this is a concern of yours, we do have other lower VOC options available. Please contact us ahead of time for pricing and to make these arrangements prior to the start of your project.

Power Requirements: Our larger sanders require 220V (the same as most electric stoves and dryers). If you have a 220V outlet, we may be able to use it. Otherwise, we can utilize an air conditioner breaker or plug our own breaker into the electric panel.

Remove Floor Vents: We may need to remove your floor vent coverings when finish is applied to avoid it from drying to the polyurethane. Please use caution in these areas to avoid stepping in the vent. You may replace your vent 48 hours after the final coat is applied to your floor.

Choose from Stain or Natural: When refinishing your hardwood floors one of the biggest decisions you’ll have is choosing a color. After sanding your floor back to bare wood you can decide to change the color to one of the many colors we have to choose from in the link below. Another option would be to keep it simple and only clear coat your floor; a “natural finish”.

Stain: If you have chosen to upgrade your floor finishing with a stain (rather than a natural finish), the Functional Floors crew can show you color options on day one. After they have sanded your floors, our team can apply stain color swatches on your actual floor for you to choose from. Keep in mind, darker colors can be harder to maintain as dust, dirt, and pet hair tend to show more. If you have ever had a dark colored vehicle, you may have experienced this.

*Prior to arrival, please take a look at our stain selection and give us a general idea of colors you might be interested in (i.e. light, medium, or dark browns, reds, greys, or specifically Ebony, Royal Mahogany, Provincial, etc.). We will inform the crew so they can be sure to bring the colors you are interested in. You can use our stain visualizer here to help you decide: Stain Visualizer Gallery 

Natural: Having a natural finish simply means the wood color will not be altered with a stain. With a natural finish, the staining process is skipped and your floor is clear coated with 2-3 coats of polyurethane (two coats are minimum, three coats are recommended). Disclosure: The clear coat does darken the bare wood to a degree.

Choosing your sheen:  Much like choosing the sheen for your painting project, polyurethane also has options. Polyurethane choices include Matte, Satin, Semi-Gloss, or Gloss. Keep in mind, the shinier your floor is, the harder it will be to keep it looking clean. When choosing a higher shine finish like gloss or semi-gloss, it highlights dirt and hair more than a less shiny floor like satin or matte. Typically, satin is used in most of our refinishing projects. If you are interested in something different please let us know prior to your project starting, otherwise satin will be used by default.

Gaps in your Flooring: The individual boards in your hardwood floor will expand and contract based on the change in humidity levels that come with winters and summers in Michigan. In the winter, humidity is very low and therefore the moisture level in the boards become low and they shrink causing the gaps between board to become larger. The opposite happens with summer humidity (boards swell and gaps get tighter). For this reason we do not “trowel” fill your floor with wood fill as it tends to to fall into the floor when the gaps open or pop out when the gaps tighten. We do offer “trowel” fill (with this disclaimer) at an additional cost. Please discuss with the crew at the beginning of your project if this is something you would like to add on. If there are certain areas you would like “spot” filled, please point them out to the crew and we will be happy to do this at no additional cost.

Start Times: Your crew will arrive between 8 and 9:30 a.m. on the first day of your project unless otherwise specified. On coating days, your crew will generally arrive in the afternoon to allow enough curing time between coats. Your crew can give you a better idea of what time to expect them on the final days of your project.

Drying and Curing Times:

Stain: Our stain products are usually dry to the touch in less than two hours.

Oil-based finish: Oil-based polyurethane can generally be walked on in six to 12 hours after applied. Humidity and airflow can have a huge impact on drying times. It is recommended to  first touch with your finger to test before proceeding with caution.

Water-based finish: Generally require two to three hours before walking on the floor.

Furniture: Clients should wait two to three days for both oil and water finishes. Be sure to not slide any furniture on the floor and to use felt under the legs of all furniture.

Area rugs: We suggest waiting 30 days before returning area rugs to your floors. They do not allow the floor to properly breathe during the curing process. Additionally, area rugs should be shifted every couple of months to avoid “picture framing” caused by UV rays through your windows.

General Information on Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is both beautiful and durable. It is a lifetime investment that increases both the value and esthetics of your home. However, it is important to understand some of the inherent characteristics of a hardwood floor before you make your final decision to purchase a hardwood floor.

  1. Hardwood flooring will dent and scratch. The term “hardwood” simply means that the tree from which the wood was harvested was a broad leafed dicotyledonous tree (a tree that produces seeds that develop into two leaves). Basswood is a hardwood, although it is softer than pine. It is important to choose the correct wood for your application in order to minimize denting and scratching issues, keeping in mind that ALL wood floors will dent and scratch.
  2. Hardwood floors are hydroscopic. This means that they will take on and give off moisture like a sponge, causing the flooring to expand and contract as the humidity in the room changes. Separations, or gaps, between the boards are common when the humidity is low, such as the winter. The key is to keep the humidity in the home between 35% and 65% year round. The use of a humidifier in the winter and a dehumidifier in the summer will help lessen this issue? However some movement is almost unavoidable. It should also be noted that the wider the flooring, the larger the expected gaps will be.
  3. Hardwood flooring is photosensitive. This means that it will change color when exposed to light and air. When an area rug or piece of furniture is moved after several months, the hardwood floor underneath will likely look different from the surrounding flooring. If this is a concern, it is wise to rearrange furniture and area rugs frequently to allow the floor to color shift more consistently – or to choose a species of hardwood that is less photosensitive.
  4. Never clean your hardwood floor with water or a water mixture. This can cause degradation of the urethane finish and can also cause problems with refinishing of the floor. Use only manufacturer recommended cleaners and a terry cloth mop.
  5. Hardwood flooring is not intended to look like a table top. Flooring is manufactured from a lower grade of wood than that which is used for furniture. Small face checks, mineral streak, and other blemishes are acceptable in a hardwood floor but may not be acceptable on a piece of furniture. Please keep in mind that flooring is intended to look good from five feet away, not five inches.