Frequently Asked Questions
You most likely have questions about your project and our company. We've put together a list of the most frequently asked questions we’re asked below...
Questions About Sanding and Refinishing:
How long does the refinishing process take from start to finish?
While we would love to give you an exact answer, in reality, "it depends." A bigger project will take longer than a small one. The average home may have a living room, dining room, foyer, hallway and three bedrooms that need finishing. Assuming these floors do not require additional repairs, on average it would take about three days.
A larger home or a more complex layout (small hallways, closets, multiple long hallways etc.) will take longer for us to complete. Restoring stairs, removing carpet and taking care of repairs adds time too. Staining or color pre-treatments will also add a day to the job. Most average projects we can complete in three or four days. We will be able to give a much more accurate estimate of time requirements when we see your home in person.
Do you fill in the gaps in between my floor boards?
The short answer to this is no.
Why? It is important to realize that anything made from wood expands and contracts over time. Expansion and contraction occur between seasons as the temperature and humidity changes. This continual movement is what causes the gaps in your floor. In the winter when you turn the heating system on, the humidity in your home drops. Everything made from wood will contract. The opposite is the case in summer. That’s why in certain times of the year, doors in older homes have trouble opening and shutting properly.
If you have your floor filled with putty or filler, then during the movement between seasons, the filler would be ejected. As it comes out in small sections, it looks horrible. There’s also the issue of it getting ground into your finish, causing damage. These two reasons are why we highly recommend you don’t fill the gaps in your floor.
Can engineered hardwood be refinished?
In some cases, yes, engineered hardwood floors can be refinished.
It will depend on two things:
a) How is it installed? – Floating floors (floors not glued or nailed down) cannot be sanded for several reasons. However, a floor that has been nailed or glued to a flat sub-floor may be able to be refinished depending on the answer to the next question...
b) What is the wear layer? – In many cases, engineered floors have a very thin top layer of wood. If this top layer is less than 5/16" of an inch, the answer is most likely going to be a no. It’s too big of a risk for us to use our sanding machines on wear layers this thin.
If you aren't sure of how thick your top layer is or how your floor is installed, give us a call and let us come out to inspect it for you.
What type of finish do we use?
We put together a detailed It will answer any questions you have about hardwood floor finishes and help you choose the perfect one for your floor. You can read it here.
What can I expect regarding smell and fumes?
Good question and one you should ask any floor refinisher you are considering for your project. If the finish has a strong smell and lots of fumes, it could linger for weeks and make it hard to deal with. There are health concerns too with breathing in some fumes for long periods.
Our free guide Which Finish System Should You Choose? reviews the different systems available and includes a chart that ranks the finishes in terms of fumes. It will give you an idea of what types of finishes you don’t want whoever you hire to use on your floors.
Our company specializes in three different finishes: water-based, oil based and hardwax oils. Of the three we work with, oil based finish has the strongest smell. As it dries and cures, solvents evaporate releasing fumes. On a scale of one to five, with five having the least fumes and one having the most, an oil based finish is a three. Keeping the windows open will noticeably cut down on the fumes. Obviously this is easier to do in the summer than winter. Oil based finishes are the most affordable option we offer so you will need to balance these issues vs. the cost.
If you have kids, pets or family who may be bothered by fumes, one of our other two systems may be a better choice. Both water-based and hard wax oil finishes have minimal smell. On the scale of one to five, both would be a five (top score) since there is next to no lingering off-gassing issues.
When water-based finishes dry, it’s water evaporating—not solvents. And while there may be a slight odor during the process, it is minimal and dissipates very quickly. One of the hardwax oils we use, Rubio Monooat, has no VOC's at all. Most people say it has a smell of cooking oil and again it goes away very quickly. If someone in your home is sensitive to smells and fumes then choosing a water-based finish or hardwax oil is an excellent choice.
Can anything be done to fix deep scratches in my floor?
When we sand your floor, we always strive to preserve the top layer as much as we possibly can. By doing this, you will have the option to sand it and refinish it again in the future. If you have very deep scratches and gouges in sections, it’s usually better to replace the damaged boards. That way you’re not excessively grinding down the floor to remove the scratches, thereby removing tons of your floors life. Your floors will only be able to be sanded and refinished three to five times it their lifetime.
When we come out to give you a quote, we’ll take a look for you and give you our recommendation.
Is it possible to repair damage from pets or water?
Yes. There is usually no problem with repairing pet stains and water damage caused by pot plants. In the majority of cases, we may have to replace the boards since this type of damage usually can't be sanded out.
When we come out to inspect your home, we’ll look at all areas needing repairs and include it in the quote we give you. If you have carpet covering damaged areas that we couldn’t see during the in-home estimate, and we find it only after removing the carpet, we'll be in touch immediately to discuss how you would like us to proceed.
Questions You May Have Before the Project:
Can we stay at home while you are sanding and refinishing?
While it is possible to stay home while we are refinishing your floors, there are a few limitations you must be aware of. Most notably, when we begin applying the finish, you'll need to stay off the floors for at least four to eight hours—possibly more depending on what finish system is used. If we are restoring all the floors throughout your home, this could cause access issues to certain areas.
We are very strict about keeping everyone off the floor for 24 hours after the last coat goes down to assure the finish is contaminant-free. This could be a hassle if you are having multiple joining rooms or entry and exit points done. It might be a good idea to make alternative sleeping arrangements that night if this is the case.
What insurance coverage does the company have?
It is vital that any floor restoration company you hire has the proper insurance in place. We are fully insured and hold a $2 million liability policy. Also, we have full worker's comp coverage for our employees. If you would like to see our policy numbers, don't be afraid to ask.
Do we work on weekends?
We know that you are eager to get your life back to normal as soon as you can, so yes, we do work on Saturdays when necessary. Usually Saturday is reserved only for applying the last finish coat if needed. We don’t bring out the big equipment and sand on weekends.
We don’t work on Sundays though sorry. This day is for spending time with our families and a much-needed rest. We appreciate your understanding.
What time does work begin in the morning?
On the first day of the project, we will arrive each day at 8:00am so we can get a good start. If you choose a finish that requires multiple coats, for the subsequent coats we will do our best to plan a time for the following coats that works for both of our schedules. If they work during the day, many of our clients prefer to give us a key to their home so we can complete their floors as soon as possible. This is our preference..
Do you offer carpet removal and disposal?
Yes, we can remove carpet, underlay and tack strips. If you require us to dispose of the old material, let us know, and we can add this option to your quote.
Do you need to remove existing base shoes and baseboards?
In most cases, it is not necessary to remove the baseboards before we sand and refinish. We can sand very close to the edges and then use a hand scraper to remove the rest of the finish. However, if your existing material is damaged, we can assist you with removal and replacement.
Is there anything I can do to save money on the project?
If you have basic handyman skills you could remove (and dispose) of your carpet, staples, tack strips and baseboards yourself. If your handyman skills are more advanced, you could do some of the repairs (if needed) yourself too. We're always happy to provide advice.
Who will be in my home during the refinishing process?
This is an important question because you’ll want to know who will have access to your home.
On our Our Team page you can see a name, bio, and photo of each team member. We never hire subcontractors to work on our jobs. All of our employees are professionally trained and regularly undergo continuing education to stay up-to-date with new technology.
You can also rest assured that no employee of ours will smoke, snoop around, use foul language or play loud music in your home. Our company policies regarding employee behavior on the job are strictly enforced. We want you to be comfortable with the people who you choose to work in your home.
Because of our commitment to excellence and our strict rules we attract and keep only the best employees. Finally, you will always have a direct connection to me [the business owner] during the project, so if you have any questions or concerns, I’ll always be available to help.
Can I see your references?
Our hard-earned references are very important to us. We will be more than happy to connect you with a recent client or two if you would like to talk to them about their experience.
Additionally, you can see some "before and after" photos in our featured projects section as well. We’re looking forward to you hopefully becoming one of our references soon too.
Do we move furniture?
If you have just a few small pieces that need to be moved around, we can help you move them. You will need to find help to move them back once the finish has cured though. Beyond that basic assistance, we do not offer moving services. Our insurance doesn't cover us for damage done if something is damaged or we are injured.
If you need help with moving large pieces, we can provide the name of a professional moving company many of our past clients have used. They do a great job and can do all the packing and removing as well as setting it back up for you when the project is complete if need be.
What payment options do you offer?
We are flexible with our payment options. While we prefer payment by cash or checks. Payment by credit card is available, but there is a 3% surcharge to cover our bank fees.
Do you install baseboard, quarter round or base shoe?
Yes, we can install these as part of your project. You can choose either solid wood similar to your flooring or primed white. With primed wood, you will need to arrange for it to be painted after we have finished and the floors are cured. We don’t remove and replace existing baseboards or base shoe.
End of Project Questions:
Will my floors fade from sunlight?
It will depend on a few factors like what finish you choose and whether you use some preventative measures.
An oil based finish will change color and fade far more quickly compared to other finishes. Water-based finishes have UV protection built in that slows this process down. However, no matter what type of finish you use, there will likely be some fading in areas exposed to sunlight.
A good way to slow the fade is to move around your rugs and keep your blinds closed during the sunniest part of the day. Since this isn't always practical, we always suggest using a higher grade of finish with UV inhibitors added for floors that get direct sunlight.
If you don't already have them in place, adding window shades, awnings or a high-quality window tint can greatly reduce UV rays from getting on the floors.
How long will my refinished hardwood last?
The answer to this varies from customer to customer. Do you wear shoes indoors? Do you have pets that have free range on your floors? Will you be regular with the sweeping and cleaning? Are their high-quality mats at all entrances? Will you use felt pads under chairs and use area rugs and hallway/entrance runners?
The answer to the above questions will affect your floor performance. If you are willing to put some effort into keeping your floors in good shape, you may be able to get 20 or more years out of them. However, if you don’t, they may need recoating in just a few short years. It all depends on the amount of care and attention they receive. That’s why we can’t say for sure, because it's impossible for us to know how our customers are going to care for their floors.
We strongly encourage you to read and apply the tips in the Cleaning Guide we provide you at the end of your project. Following these tips will ensure your floors will look great for many years into the future.
When will we be able to put back our furniture and area rugs?
In a perfect world, you would wait a full week before walking on your floors. We would love to recommend that, but we know that is usually impossible.
Most of the finishes we use are cured to 70 or 80% after two days. We always suggest waiting at least for those two days before moving your items back in the home. If you can wait longer, that would be even better. No matter what, make sure you are very careful until they are completely cured. We will provide you with the cure time information for your chosen finish.
When you do finally move your furniture back, please be extra careful. Don’t drag furniture across the floor. It breaks our heart to see someone just have their dream floors done and there’s a big scratch in the middle of the room. Also, be sure to use felt pads under all furniture—we will supply these for you.
In regard to area rugs, give the floors at least two weeks to cure before moving them back into place.
If you have any other questions we haven’t covered here, please feel free to get in touch and ask us. We’ll be more than happy to help.