The Three Phases of Flooring Installation by Ron Call

Aug 20, 2016

three phases flooring installationHello there, my name is Ron Call from Urban Floor and today I want to talk about the three phases of flooring installation.

As a flooring professional, when I walk into someone’s home for the first time, just as a guest and not even as a professional, the first place my eyes go are straight to the floor. I can’t help myself; it’s what I do. I assume my dentist looks at people’s teeth when he meets them for the first time. It’s human nature, I guess. Whether the floor is carpet, wood, laminate or tile, I can in tell in seconds whether the installation was done by a professional or a weekend warrior. If it looks like it was done by a weekend warrior, I usually ask, “Who did your floors?” It is so obvious to me when a floor is installed by an amateur homeowner, because the devil is in the details. Most people will not tackle a carpet job on their own unless it’s a drop room or two. Seams are not easy to do if you don’t have the experience. A loose, wavy install that has not been power-stretched can be seen from miles away. Likewise on hard surface installations like wood, laminate, tile and vinyl, properly installed baseboards, moldings and undercut door jambs are the difference between a million-dollar install and the headache of callbacks, repairs and an unhappy customer.

The Three Phases of Flooring Installation

Phase 1
There are basically three phases to a flooring installation (phase one, floor prep, and phase three, the finishing details, are the most important). Phase one, floor prep, means making sure your substrate is clean, flat and dry. This is critical to any installation. For soft surfaces, making sure you have backed up or replaced any loose tack strip or old metals will make your carpet job smooth and relatively stress-free. There is nothing more frustrating when you are power-stretching carpet than to have popping tack strip.

For hard surface installations, not properly flattening, sealing and prepping your floor is usually the difference between being a pro anda weekend warrior. If while working on a floating install, you feel like you’re walking on a trampoline, then you probably left your 10’ straight edge at home. At this point you better stop what you’re doing, go home and get it. Pull up what you have done and fix it now, as fixing it later will take much more time and cost much more money.

Phase 2

Phase two is the actual installation of the floor. Sure, it looks pretty easy when you watch them do it on the DIY channel, which is why so many homeowner’s attempt to do it themselves. How hard can it be, right? Well, what they don’t realize is when you are paying for a quality installation, you are really paying for an excellent job not just in phase two, the install, but phases one (floor prep) and phase three (finishing details).

Phase 3
Properly installed base boards, quarter round, base shoe, T-moldings, baby thresholds, scribe moldings and other trims (all part of phase three) will make the difference between a happy customer and a callback, and set you apart from the DIYers. If you really want to set yourself apart from other installers, learn to stain and finish your own trims. To really wow them, learn how to cut hard returns on baseboard and shoe moldings.

Just because the manufacturer and retailer sold a 3” wide baby threshold as a transition at the sliding glass door does not mean it will look as good as a small scribe molding that you stained to match. If you’re not comfortable staining your own scribe molding, you might be able to take the prefinished baby threshold provided and rip it on a table saw to create your own prefinished scribe molding. I installed a baby threshold at a sliding glass door once and my customer told me it looked like an aircraft carrier on his hardwood floor. Compared to a small scribe molding I could hardly disagree.

Dealing With Transitions

floor transitions 101
Transitions like T-moldings and reducers can be tricky, especially when working with a concrete subfloor where pin nailing them down is not an option. Most installers will use a good construction adhesive and blue painter’s tape to secure them in place while the adhesive cures. However, when installing multiple pieces (for example at a tile, carpet or stone transition where there are angles such as a fireplace or tile entryway) the installer often finds the next day, after the adhesive has cured, that the pieces have shifted and become misaligned. Or maybe there are gaps.

This often necessitates buying new moldings and starting over, as removal at this point almost always results in breakage. This is often caused by someone stepping on the moldings before the adhesive has had time to fully cure, or the trim piece was slightly bowed and lifted up off the floor and the tape could not hold it.

The Trick to Floor Transitions

A simple method to prevent this is to purchase a $20 hot-melt glue gun from your local hardware store. When applying your construction adhesive, leave a small area on both ends of each piece and a small spot in the middle of the channel where the glue is to be applied. This is where you will place dollops of thermal-plastic glue.

Apply the construction adhesive first; making sure your molding is cut properly. (Dry fit first.) Then quickly place the hot-melt glue in the three spots where there is no construction adhesive. Quickly place the molding in place and hold in securely for about three minutes while the thermalplastic glue sets up (cools).The thermalplastic glue will hold the molding in place until the construction adhesive has had time to cure. No need for blue tape on transitions any more. This method will also save a trip back the next day to do a carpet re-tack after the construction adhesive cures.

The hot-melt glue once cooled will hold the carpet reducer in place, allowing for a carpet re-tack before the construction adhesive fully cures. Using the hot-melt glue gun will save you hundreds of dollars a year on callbacks, blue tape, replacing shifted moldings and trip charges for re-tacks.

Be sure and carry plenty of colors of wood putty and caulking. Putty any gaps and nail holes, and caulk the tops of your baseboards and around toilets and at bathtubs. Undercut your door jambs and keep your blades sharp. Doing all this leads to happy customers, which leads to more customers.

The Devil is in the Details – Don’t Cut Corners

Remember – the devils in the details so don’t cut corners. Make yourself a master of phase one and phase three; most anyone can do phase two in a pinch. You are not getting paid just for mastering one of the phases. You are getting paid to be a master of all three.

Interesting Hardwood Flooring Statistics – 2016

Jul 29, 2016

hardwood flooring industry news 2016We’re now a little over halfway through the year, and since January there have been a few reports released revealing various stats in the hardwood flooring industry that provide some great insight into what homeowners prefer and where the trends are headed.

What’s the Industry Show?

According to a report* published by Hardwood Floors Mag, the Magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association, there are many stats that’d we like to cover specifically.

1. Hardwood Floor Sales Are Up!

Distributors mentioned that a whopping 66% increase in the dollar value of sales occurred in 2015. Prior to that, an 84% increase had occurred in 2014. In short, hardwood floor sales are on a steady climb & we’re eager to see where the results will land from surveys distributed this year.

2. Highest Purchased Wood Flooring Species

From the report, distributors mentioned that 33% of their hardwood floor sales came from white oak species (a great example of this is our Chene collection), and 32% came from red oak species. Oak continues to stay a dominant choice for many hardwood floor owners. Homeowners should keep this in mind!

3. Highest Purchased Finish Sold

Hardwood floors come packed with a few different types of finishes to give them the beautiful, captivating look people desire. In this year’s report, hardwood floor sales consisted of 35% oil-modified finishes, and 49% were water-based finishes.

See: Oil-Based Finishes for Hardwood Floors.

Types of Hardwood Flooring Sold

While we’re huge advocates of engineered wood flooring for a variety of reasons, sales from hardwood floors consisted of 62% solid hardwood floors, and 38% engineered hardwood floors. This number will continue to grow as more contractors, homeowners, and distributors see the value and benefits gained from using engineered hardwood floors.

There’s a lot of other great information to check out in the report, we only merely covered the surface. The entire report may be found here.

*Please note that the statistics covered in this article were published in 2016, but taken from surveys completed in 2015.

“Why Can’t I Just Install Hardwood Floors Myself?”

Jul 29, 2016

diy hardwood floor installationUnfortunately, installing hardwood floors is not as easy as taking a staple gun and connecting boards together. The process is much more complicated. And in certain conditions and climates, it can add an extra layer of difficulty.

So, before you decide to Youtube a bunch of videos that lay out exactly how to install your new hardwood floors, here are a few things to consider first and foremost.

Why We Recommend Against Installing Hardwood Floors Yourself

1. The raw materials are not as easy to replace in case you make a mistake.

Unlike painting a wall, or replacing your kitchen cabinets, the raw materials of hardwood floors are expensive. This means that if you decide to take the task upon yourself and run into a mistake along the way requiring you to use another board, you’ll be making costly mistakes.

2. Special tools are required.

You’re going to need a lot more than just a hammer and nail to get the job done. Many power and hand tools are required for a successful installation of hardwood floors. Just to give you an idea, here’s a list of tools required on the job:

• Saws of all types (i.e. Circular, Table, Jig, Miter, etc) for getting the right dimensions of boards and planks
• Hygrometers for testing moisture levels – very important
• Glue adhesives
• Floor leveling tools
• Air compressors
• Nail guns
• Staplers
• Sanders
• Buffers
• Adhesive removers & glue adhesives
• Knee pads to prevent wear and tear on your knees

Many other tools are required; this is just a basic list of what’s needed. Chances are, you won’t really be saving much money in the long run if you decide to install hardwood floors yourself, but lack all of the necessary tools.

3. Extra working knowledge is required.

If you’re literally working from scratch without having any prior knowledge of either hardwood floors or installation projects in general, then the likelihood of making a costly mistake along the way will be very high. We don’t recommend this be a project you decide to challenge yourself on, unless you truly know what you are doing.

You’ll need to know information such as how to center rooms, how much space should be left for gaps, how do I work around closets, fireplaces, staircases, etc.

The Safest Bet is to Hire a Professional & May Save You Money As Well

By leaving the entire job to a professional, you’ll be certain to have the job done well & correctly from the start. If any mistakes happen, it’s on the professional to correct them on their own dime.

Chuck Talk: Understanding Wood Floor Cupping 101

Jul 27, 2016

wood floor cupping 101Cupping is an aspect of hardwood floors that some people will notice, but others will not. Of course, those who are experienced in the industry/trade will spot these imperfections with ease. But some of us will not & this guide is created for people like you.

Wood Floor Cupping 101

Let’s begin with defining exactly what “wood floor cupping” is. When the sides of hardwood floors are higher than the center of the boards, then it will produce a concave-like appearance or pattern. This is what cupping is. It doesn’t matter if the hardwood flooring is solid or engineered, this phenomenon may occur to both types.

We won’t go into more advanced details, but the issue arises from a response by the wood floors to changes in moisture content. However, we want to mention that cupping in engineered wood floors is reduced because of the integrity structure in which they are manufactured. Engineered wood floors use a backer, which is often plywood, to specifically provide stability in changing moisture conditions. Neat, right?

See: Understanding Moisture & Hardwood Floors.

The Reality of the Situation

In a large majority of cases, people have their hardwood floors installed by a professional who take into account moisture levels and the type of subfloor that your floors are installed on. By factoring in all of the components, the chances of someone experiencing cupping with their hardwood floors are reduced. Anyone who has installed hardwood floors on their own may (i.e. the DIY’ers) find these issues more troubling and frequent.

And the honest reality of the situation is that – in most cases – cupping may occur, but it may not be enough for the owner or anyone else to notice.

What if I Notice Cupping in My Wood Floors?

If you happen to spot cupping on your wood floors, enough that it bothers you every time you lock sight on it, then we absolutely suggest hiring a professional to analyze the situation, and work towards a fix. Because cupping occurs on a board-to-board basis, most often only a couple of boards will need to be replaced.

Understand that wood floor cupping most often occurs in the wintertime because of rapidly changing moisture levels. If your wood floors are installed during this time, then the professional in charge of installation should be well aware of the issue and work towards preventing it from occurring by installing your hardwood floors correctly.

Oil-Based Finishes for Hardwood Floors

Jul 15, 2016

oil based finished hardwood floorsOil-based finishes are only one type of finish in the hardwood flooring market, but they have slowly been making a strong return. Their largest competitor is water-based urethane finish. A few reasons why oil-based finishes are gaining ground are not simply because of the appearance that can be achieved, but because of the environmental factors, ease of installation, and ease of repair.

Benefits of Oil-Based Finishes

We just touched briefly on a few of the benefits oil-based finishes offer, but we want to elaborate even further:

Strengthens wood fibers – oil-based finishes do not sit on top of the hardwood floors, but will actually penetrate the floors and strengthen the wood fibers, which leads to a decreased chance of shrinkage, better hardening, and enhanced water repellent.

Learn How to Prevent and Fix Water Damage.

Easily repairable – what this actually means is that if minor scratches or typical wear and tear were to occur, then a floor with an oil-based finish would respond to fixes much easier than other types of finishes – without the use of a professional required.

DIY: Fixing Dens, Scratches, and Gouges on Hardwood Floors.

Environmental concerns addressed – most oil-based finishes are created from plant-based raw materials. An example of this may be found on all floors featured in our Composer Maestro collection of oil-finished hardwood floors.

– in short, it’s really tough to receive the same type of rich, wood glow that is attained from the use of an oil-based finish over water-based urethane finishes. Oil-based finishes have a way of bringing your hardwood floors “to life”.

Where Would I Start in Applying an Oil-Based Finish to My Hardwood Floors?

If you’re interested in applying an oil-based finish to your hardwood floor as a way to refinish it and restore it’s beauty, then we highly suggest hiring a professional to get the job done correctly & efficiently. If you are ever unsure of how to perform a DIY task on your hardwood floors, we always recommend a professional in order to prevent accidental, irreversible damage from occurring.

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes Personalizados :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins