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Old 03-14-2011, 08:27 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Hardwood Floor questions

Hi Guys, Finally decided to bite the bullet and pay someone to put in some hardwood floors instead of me DIY'ing it. We have dogs and kids, so i want something durable, yet fixable in the future.

Kinda have my mine set on solid real hardwood floors. Big question is factory finish or have the installer finish it in my house. I've had 2 folks come to the house so far, one factory finish guy, one finish it in my house guy.

I ask the finish it in my house guy to tell me why i would want his floors over factory finish hardwoods, he proceeds to tell me that factory finish boards are perfectly finished, and will all match great, that they are harder to sand off and re-finish (prolly good) something about allum oxide i think. Basically he sucks at selling and left me to assume they would be better but with no reasons.

Additionally finish in my house guy says he buys his wood where his daddy bought it for the past 50 years. The ware house is climate controlled for temp and humidity. He gets the wood and then comes and installs it ASAP. None of that leaving the wood in your house for 30 days before you install it. After he is finished installing, he waits at least 21 days before coming back to finish it. (you live on it raw for those 21 days and he says any dirt/stains you cause will be removed during the finish process.

He says the reason he installs them ASAP is that if the sit around and gain a lot of humidity the tongues won't go into the groves well and install won't be great/possible/perfect.

Whatchathink about this guy?


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Old 03-14-2011, 10:20 AM   #2
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I worry about your finish in place guy. Not so much that he finishes on site, that's the old school way, but that he seems to be installing wood that hasn't been properly dried. Kiln dried wood won't absorb that much water in a few of days of acclimating (30 days seems a bit much to me) that you can't get a good fit.

Biggest difference (to me) between pre-finished and finished-in-place is the chamfered edges the pre-finished flooring has. They to that to prevent the edges from splintering, but that leaves grooves along each strip. The grooves can catch dirt, but I've found that not to be a big problem. My housekeeping staff was instructed to watch for this and clean/vacuum as needed.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:37 PM   #3
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Who manufacturers this floor? They would be the ones to say the floor needs to acclimate to the room, not the guy installing it.

Most manufacturers will stay it needs to acclimate for 48+ hours.

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:50 PM   #4
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Hi Nathan, what Mark said bout the acclimation. No matter what wood you want you need to leave it inna house fer a few days, the more the merrier. There are some prefinished wood floors that are super durable. You might need to shop around. Doing this floor yourself would save you a grand or two. Installing hardwood is easier than tile.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Nathan, if you're concerned about fixing later then you need to check and see how many times the wood can be sanded. Some pre-finished wood cannot be refinished at all. Some can be refinished/sanded once. If you get an unfinished hardwood are you talking about an unfinished laminate or a solid unfinished hardwood? An unfinished laminate can be refinished/sanded other that the initial sanding maybe only once more - no more that twice. These are usually glued down. A solid hardwood floor can be refinished until you sand off all the wood. Maybe 3-4 times. This floor is nailed down.

All unfinished floors have to be acclimated in a controlled environment. If your installer is getting his stock from a environmentally controlled warehouse then I would still let it acclimate a few days in your home - I just can't see a warehouse with a better environmentally controlled system than your home.

You will probably still see some shrinking after install. That can be filled during sanding or most want some shrinkage for the "look".

I have laminate hardwood floors with dogs and they are pretty rough on them. I have one more sanding I can do to them and then I'll be ready for tile.

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Old 03-14-2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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The NWFA publishes standards for the installation of wood floors, similar to ANSI & TCNA for tile. They are the ones that manufacturers refer to for installation standards. Acclimation is important to get the hardwood and subfloor close to the same moisture content, usually takes up to a week or so maybe more. This is not the only installation requirement, but it's a biggie. Another biggie is racking the floor, or laying out all the boards in more-or-less their final resting place. This helps them to acclimate and allows you to see where each board goes. If you don't like the looks of any, simply move em or put them aside for closets or similar. One more I'll throw out is a moisture barrier under the hardwood. 15# felt is a basic one, there are others. And regarding prep work, the floor needs to be flat before the hardwood goes down, like prep for tile... almost.

I would also worry about your finish in place guy...

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Old 03-16-2011, 07:16 AM   #7
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Another consideration is: what do you want to look at every day?

I've put down some pretty nice-looking pre-finished hardwood, but they still have a little more "manufactured" look. And like others here have mentioned, it's more difficult to repair damage.

A floor finished in place has more of a hand-made look, which I like a lot.

I did this finish-in-place fir floor a few years ago, in our last house. I got a good feeling every time I walked on that floor. One of the few things I miss about that house. I've not been on a pre-finished floor that made me feel that way.

But, that's subjective on my part. Both ways are good.
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