Prime Hardwood Floors
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to refinish a floor?
It depends on the size and complexity of the job. The smallest jobs may be done in a day. Most floors take 3 to 5 days. Usually it takes a day or two to sand the floor and then the finish must be applied. Usually 3 coats of finish are applied on successive days to allow them to dry overnight. Waterborne finishes dry faster so two coats can be applied in the same day. So if a job starts on Monday it's usually done by Friday.
How long do I have to wait before I can walk on the floor?
With an oil based polyurethane you should wait overnight before walking on the floor. Furniture can be moved back onto the floor after 3 days. Rugs should not be placed on the floor for 2 weeks. Waterborne finishes dry in half the time.
What's the difference between recoating and refinishing a floor?
Recoating a floor involves lightly abrading the floor and then applying a new coat of finish. It's often referred to as a “buff and coat”. This process usually takes less than a day and is less expensive and less invasive than refinishing. Refinishing involves sanding all the finish off until the floor is bare wood and applying several coats of finish.
Prefinished vs Site Finished vs Engineered. What’s that all about? And what are floating floors?
Prefinished vs Site Finished.
A hardwood floor comes either finished or as bare wood. A floor that's bare wood must be sanded and finished after it's installed. A prefinished floor is already finished before it's installed.
Advantages of a site finished floor.
- The edges of prefinished flooring are slightly beveled producing a groove between the boards when they are laid next to each other. These grooves can be seen when a floor is viewed from across the room. On a site finished floor, sanding the floor after installation makes all the boards flush and produces a nice flat looking floor.
- Transition areas such as doorways and carpet often need special treatment when installing a hardwood floor. Sometimes it's even necessary to custom cut pieces of wood so these transitions look seamless and natural. Prefinished floors are limited to a basic set of moldings that can be used when installing, making it difficult to “trim out” the floor.
- A site finished floor can be stained any color to a décor.
Advantages of a prefinished floor.
- Most prefinished floors have an aluminum oxide finish. This type of finish is slightly more durable than a finish that can be applied on site. Also the finish is applied with large machines in a production environment so the finish tends to be very uniform and free of defects.
- The installation of a prefinished floor takes less time because it doesn’t have to be sanded and finished.
Engineered floors vs solid floors.
A solid hardwood floor is just that, solid wood. It's usually ¾ inches thick but can come in other thicknesses as well. Common board widths are 1 ½, 2 ¼, and 3 ¼ inches. Engineered floors are made from layers of wood similar to plywood with a hardwood veneer on the top. The veneer can vary in thickness from 1/32 of an inch to 1/8 inch. Engineered floors are usually prefinished but can also be site finished.
Advantages of a solid hardwood floor.
- Nailing ¾ inches of a solid hardwood to your subfloor adds a feeling of solidity to your floor. You will feel less bounce and deflection in your floor.
- A solid hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished many times during it’s life.
- A solid hardwood floor can be repaired if it becomes damaged. It's more difficult to repair an engineered floor and it may not be possible to repair if extra pieces of the same flooring are not available.
Advantages of an engineered floor.
- Because of the multi-ply construction of engineered flooring it tends to be more stable. It expands and contracts less with humidity and can be used in applications where solid flooring is not recommended such as below grade.
Floating Vs nailed down floor.Some engineered and laminate floors can be installed in a floating manner. A floating floor is not attached to the subfloor but rather all of the boards of the floor are attached to each other, either with glue or an interlocking tongue and groove system. A foam underlayment pad is used between the floor and the subfloor to eliminate noise.