Hardwood Refinishing | Wood Floor Restoration | Hardwood Contractors
Hardwood floor refinishing and Wood Floor Restoration is our specialty. Sanding hardwood floors is by far the most difficult task for a DIY homeowner and that's why you need to hire National Floors. Wood floor restoration takes time, it requires a very high skill set and lots of energy (it's labor intensive). Not to mention, high quality, professional grade products for the best and longest lasting results. More information on "Refinishing hardwood floors"
The skill set is broken up into 3 categories:
- Sanding the wood floors- Proper sanding will require 4 different grits to create "Flat" hardwood floors.
- Staining the hardwood floors- Requires the sanding procedure to be correct to achieve even tone.
- Coating the hardwood floors- Most professionals use commercial grade polyurethane that cannot be purchased over the counter. 3 coats is the standard we use.
Choosing the right hardwood floor contractor
The essential qualifications to look for when hiring a Hardwood flooring contractor:
- A valid C15 license which is dedicated towards hardwood floors. General contractors do NOT carry this license.
- Make sure the contractor is insured and bonded for your protection
- A minimum of 10 years of experience with sand and finishing
- A positive online reputation with photos and reviews (Google and Yelp links at the bottom of the page)
National Floors meets these requirements and then some. First of all, hardwood floor sand and refinishing is our specialty. National Floors Sand and refinishes over 100 hardwood floors per year, which means we are well experienced in sanding, staining and coating hardwood floors. Our decades long history in the Bay Area is very positive, leaving our customers with confidence and comfort they need when hiring a contractor. Our goal is simple, take your old worn out hardwood floors and transform them into a "Like New" state. Our cost for refinishing hardwood floors are very fair. Besides price, the main difference between National floors and our competition is the level of craftsmanship. The tools that are used are top notch. We use the best sanding machines for the flattest floors and top coat them with professional grade polyurethane for the best looking and longest lasting protection.
What types of hardwood floors can be Sanded and Refinished
There are many species of hardwood floors that can be sanded: Bamboo, Brazilian Cherry, Santos Mahogany, parquet flooring, Red Oak hardwood, White oak hardwood and more.
Hardwood Floor installation | Solid Hardwood vs Engineered hardwood
National floors install all types of hardwood floors both solid hardwood and engineered. The differences have much to do with the species, the type of flooring and the dimensions. They all play a part in the material cost. Here is a list of some of the basic varieties you can choose from:
• Bamboo flooring both solid and prefinished
• Engineered flooring comes in prefinished and unfinished
• Oak flooring. You have a choice of red oak or white oak
• Solid flooring is the same species from top to bottom
Hardwood flooring has different types or options to choose from depending on the what type of surface you are installing on, i.e., wooden sub-floor or concrete slab. Solid flooring is intended to be nailed down onto a wooden sub-floor. Engineered hardwood is intended to be installed/glued onto a concrete slab. We have found that some contractors see engineered hardwood floor as a one shoe fits all approach and nail it down to sub-floor as well. Engineered hardwood floor is designed to block moisture from the slab and prevent the floor from buckling. Solid hardwood floor is not intended to block moisture and that is why a moisture blocking paper is used in the installation process.
In other words, once the floor is worn, it will need to be replaced and lacks the option to sand and finish to restore to a like "New" appearance. This "Cheap engineered hardwood floors" will seem like the best choice until you weigh out the consequences. You should know, that in the big picture you pay much, much more when you purchase cheap hardwood floors. The low quality engineered CANNOT be sanded and is considered a "One" time floor.
Can I sand my engineered hardwood floors?
That depends on the thickness of the wear layer. Take a look at the "Profile" pic on the right. If your wear layer is as thick as the nickel, then yes we can take care of you.
Why low cost Engineered hardwood floors is a bad investment
- It's a one time floor. There is no chance of restoring it to like new condition through a sand and finish process $$$
- The life of the floor is short and therefore you will need a new floor sooner
- It cost more to remove a glued down floor once it wears vs. the cost of NEW installation $$$
- There will probably be an additional cost for sealing the concrete slab $
- You will need to purchase new flooring material $$$
- New installation cost of the new flooring material $$
- New baseboard material and installation $$
Hardwood Floor Repair
National floors can handle every type of hardwood floor repair. We can fix solid, engineered, oak flooring, etc... Most hardwood floor damage has occurred due to water damage, fire damage, termite damage or just wear and tear.
If in fact you have excessive water damage, please read more. There is a specific protocol that should be implemented prior to any hardwood floor repair. A typical example would be to have a water damage/restoration company come to your home and professionally dry your floor, walls, etc..If your not sure of the process, give us a call and we will run you through the steps.
Composite flooring vs. Luxury Vinyl Tiles or LVT
If you are looking for Luxury Vinyl Tile purchase and installation, National Floors now offers a far superior alternative for about the same price. Composite flooring takes on the appearance of both Stone and Hardwood at a fraction of the cost. The difference is, Composite flooring is 70% Stone construction with a 100% waterproof design. What does that mean? Simply put, vinyl or laminate can't stand up to the life and durability of a composite floor. The manufacturer is offerring a "Lifetime" warranty for residential use. WOW! The designs are beautiful and there are literally dozens of options to choose from. If you are looking for a very affordable alternative to hardwood with an amazing guarantee, composite flooring is the modern choice. Please visit the manufacturers website at Gemcore flooring for choices and samples of these products. After you get an idea of what you want, please Contact our sales team for pricing and a consultation.
Questions and Answers about your hardwood floor project
Q: We have a scratch going across a few boards. Can you touch this up or fix this?
A: Sorry, we don't do "Spot refinishing". The entire room must be coated in order to produce professional results and for it to match seamlessly.
Q: Is Engineered hardwood floor and laminate floor the same thing?
A: No, not even close. Laminate floor is "Imitation" hardwood floor. It's a high density card board with a "Picture" of hardwood on top of it. Laminate contains NO wood whatsoever. The Engineered floor has a thin wear layer or top layer of Real Hardwood on the top of 3-5 layers of plywood (The base of the floor) to protect your floor from the moisture in the concrete slab. Click to see picture
Q: The cost of refinishing hardwood floors vs new floors
A: The cost of refinishing hardwood floors vs. new floors is ALWAYS fractional in comparaison. Refinishing hardwood floor cost is very cheap compared to new floors.
Q: My floors scratch easy. Am I doing something wrong?
A: It's very possible. All furniture should have protective pads on the feet to prevent from scratching. It is "Always" best to lift and place furniture when you have to move it. Dragging furniture is almost a guarantee something bad, like a gouge will follow.
Q: Will polyurethane prevent my floor from denting or gauging?
A: No! Polyurethane is a protective coating intended to protect from traffic/moderate downward force of a person walking. Polyurethane does not protect against heavy or sharp impact.
Q: Do hardwood floors dent?
A: Yes! Though some hardwoods are denser than others, no hardwood floor is impervious to denting or gauging. When enough force is applied, any hardwood floor will dent.
Q: Is there such a thing as "Scratch proof" hardwood floors?
A: No, there is no such thing as a scratch proof hardwood floor
Q: Why are my hardwood floors dull?
A: 9 times out of 10 it is because you are using a cleaner that contains chelates. Chelates are an acidic solution or cleaning pad that slowly dull your floor. All floor cleaners should be PH neutral for hardwood floors to avoid this. Another possibility is the cleaner you are using is leaving a film behind and that film effects the sheen. The last reason is micro scratches that occur after years of usage.
Q: How do I get my hardwood floors to shine again?
A: Cleaning more or scrubbing harder will not revive your hardwood floors once they have been damaged. Ultimately, the dullness is fine scratches that require a recoat (new coat of polyurethane) How to clean hardwood floors
Q: I'm going to paint my house, should I put craft paper and painters tape on my hardwood floors to protect them?
A: The simple answer is NO! Putting paper on the floor is okay, but when you apply painters tape to hold it down, you have a very good chance of harming the floors by pulling the finish off the hardwood floors once the tape is removed. Hardwood floor polyurethane finish is designed to withstand downward force, not have it's adhesion qualities tested in an upwards direction. There are a few times a month when we get calls because a homeowner or less experienced professional painters is naive to this rule and will experience lifting the finish off the hardwood floors with painters tape. It can be fixed, sometimes. Other times it may require the complete room to be either recoated or completely refinished. Be careful.
Q: Are some hardwood floors more resistant to denting or gauging than others?
A: Yes. Hardwood floors are density rated with the Janka scale. This scale identifies which hardwood is the softest to hardest hardwood based on its density. If you were to compare Douglas fir to Brazilian cherry, the Brazilian cherry is 4 times denser or harder. Therefore it would take much greater force to damage Brazilian cherry vs. Douglas fir. Ultimately, given the right amount of force, any hardwood floor will dent.
Q: How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors?
A: That depends entirely on the total square footage and the color of choice along with any other issues like repairs. Even the smallest job, like one bedroom would take 2 to 3 days due to the dry time of 3 coats of finish being applied.
Q: Do I have to leave my home when you are refinishing my hardwood floors?
A: It is possible to stay in your home. That all depends on the architecture of your home and the scope of work. If you have access to let's say bedrooms while the other areas of the home are being sand and finished, then yes, you can stay in your home
Q: Do you make stain color suggestions like an interior designer?
A: It is against company policy for us to make color "Decisions" for our clients.
Q: What is better, water based polyurethane or oil based polyurethane?
A: As a company, we favor oil based finish. The durability has been tested and proven over the years. There are some high quality water base finish out there, but unfortunately you can get the same quality in the high end oil base polyurethane that we typically use for a lesser price. If you are on a budget, we would suggest oil based polyurethane over water based urethane. Ultimately, you are the boss and we use whatever you deem proper.
Q: How long should hardwood floors acclimate in the home before installation?
A: According to the National Wood Floor Association, a minimum of 4-8 days is suggested. We combine moisture level testing in combination with the waiting period to avoid. The purpose of acclimation is to marry the new floor moisture levels to the moisture levels of the home. In essences, once the moisture levels balance out, the floor is ready.
Q: What if my hardwood floors cup?
A: Hardwood floors cup when moisture levels increase. In other words, moisture has been somehow added to them to make them behave this way. This can happen with a wet slab or water leak, exterior issues with the house. The bottom line is, the moisture doesn't just magically appear, it must come from somewhere.
Q: What is better, solid hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring?
A: It's not always a matter of which is better, it is a matter of which is correct for your project. Engineered hardwood floor is designed to be installed on top of a concrete slab. Solid hardwood floor is designed to be installed on top of a wooden sub-floor. If you had the same quality of engineered vs. solid hardwood floor, engineered typically cost more but should last as long as solid. So it is not advisable to install engineered on top of a wooden subfloor simply because it's not cost effective.
Q: Which hardwood floor last longer; Engineered or solid hardwood?
A: Solid hardwood will typically outlast engineered floors. The life of engineered hardwood life is based on how thick the wear layer is. If you purchased a low end engineered hardwood floor, then you can bet the life of the floor will be fractional compared to that of a solid hardwood flooring. A high quality engineered floor with a 3/8" wear layer is comprable to solid.
Q: What should I know about gluing down hardwood floor?
A: First choose a glue that doesn't contain isocyanate. That chemical will etch the top coat or finish of your hardwood floors. If your messy with the installation that glue will get everywhere. No amount of cleaning will remove this etch. Secondly, you should first know that it typically cost more to remove glued down floor than it does to install it. Knowing that, make sure you purchase a quality engineered hardwood floor that will last decades.
Q: Is refinishing hardwood floors easy to do?
A: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most difficult. It's easy to say that sand and finishing a hardwood floor is a 10. Each month we intercept projects that homeowners attempted to complete and found that they not only had the skill, but lack the work ethic to complete these types of projects. Those DYI shows never show you close ups of the disasters (chatter marks, dips, swirls, stop marks, edger marks, buffer marks, uneven staining, lap marks) the homeowners did to their own hardwood floors.
Q: When shopping for a contractor, should I choose the cheapest guy?
A: Common sense will tell you that if a contractors price is cheap, so is the quality of work. Perhaps the person is not licensed, insured or bonded. All of which is the standard for operating a hardwood floor business to insure your protection. When the cheap guy botches your job, they almost always run and disapear forever. Your ability to recover lost funds is lost. On the contrary, a contractor that is producing high quality work will not work for less because they are in High demand and have the reputation and history to prove it. We can go a step further and say that our company has a "No deposit policy". You don't pay until the work is completed.
Q: What kind of deposit is expected?
A: When you work with National Floors, there is no deposit on services rendered. When the work is completed and you are satisfied, you will pay 100% on the back end. Most contractors won't work like this, but since we specialize in hardwood floors and we are confident in our ability to make your home look amazing.
Q: How long should I expect my refinished hardwood floors to last?
A: That all depends on the occupants and the level of activity your home will experience. Let's say there are only 2 people that live in the home and they never entertain and always take their shoes off when in the house. You might be looking at a 20-40 year life. On the other hand, if you have a family of 4, with young kids, a pet(s) and entertain a few times a year, you can expect a shorter life for your floors due to the increased usage.
Q: How much does it typically cost to refinish my hardwood floors?
A: There is no exact answer because each job is unique in some way. I can give you a hypothetical: A home that has 800 square feet of hardwood floor and the customer wants it stained, the cost is approximately $5-5.50/square foot. To be certain, have our estimator visit your home. There is no charge or obligation for this visit.
Q: Is it cheaper to refinish hardwood floors or install carpet?
A: Believe it or not, it is almost "Always" cheaper to refinish your existing hardwood floors than it is to install new carpet.