Ardmore Floor Sanding Helpful Hints

I – Customer preparations

Do I need to do anything to prepare my floors?

Please clear the area completely and remove any staples or carpet tacks. Regulate or adjust any alarms that may go off. Please remove or elevate all wires from the floors being sanded; the sanding machines may impair any wires obtrusive to the floors. We offer carpet removal and large furniture moving for an additional charge; please consult your salesman.

I have some furniture and valuables that I want to protect from dust. What do you recommend I do?

Simply move these items into another part of the house and cover them with plastic. We will put plastic in any door-less entryways to contain the areas we are sanding. If we are sanding your kitchen, it is recommended you clear the counters and put blue painter’s tape to seal the cabinet doors if they do not shut flush.

I just pulled up my carpet and noticed some dark stains. Will sanding remove these stains?

This depends on the particular stain. For instance, if watermarks or animal stains are very dark, they probably will not be removed completely by sanding. These boards may need to be replaced. You can make that determination after we sand so you can see what they look like. Please bring any repairs to the attention of the salesperson prior to your scheduled date, if possible. We do not replace boards without the customer’s permission.

I am having a lot of work done in my home. At what point should I schedule sanding?

We recommend that you have sanding done after major or messy construction, such as window installation or wall demo, but towards the beginning of your remodeling, before painting. Even with extreme care, the sanding or installation machines or coating brushes etc., may sometimes leave marks on walls or woodwork that require some repair or touch-ups.

Does this mean that I may have to do some touch-up after the sanding or installation is complete?

Yes.  Even when sanding large areas with extreme care, touch-ups are sometimes required.

I leave for work very early. Can you begin work without someone being home?

Certainly, just inform us how we can enter the house (e.g. key with neighbor, hidden key etc.). Please make sure you communicate any information well in advance with our office.

At what time can I expect the crew to be at my home?

It varies, depending on whether we need to finish the prior day’s job. We will call you the day before with an approximate time and schedule update. If you need further information regarding your job, call 610-896-1940 around 9:30am.

The salesperson or office gave me an estimated schedule for my work to be done. Does this ever vary?

The time frame given is approximate. It is impossible to know precisely how long your particular job will take or with the prior customer. Sometimes we are able to complete the work more quickly than anticipated. Sometimes it takes longer, or even much longer. We will make every attempt to stay on schedule. Please keep in mind that we cannot be responsible to unforeseen circumstances or acts of God (e.g. snow, employees’ illness, difficulty with the previous job etc.). We do schedule with these situations in mind and normally remain on schedule. If you ask, we can call you ½ hour before arriving at your house.

I am having work done in two stages because I cannot clear the entire area of furniture. Will the boards be uniform?

If boards run parallel to a door frame where the sanding is divided and we can stop on the edge of a board, the floor is usually uniform. If, however, the boards run lengthwise into the two sanded areas and we must stop in the middle of the boards, we will blend the two areas as much as possible.

II – What to expect during the sanding procedure

Can all floors be sanded?

Yes, as long as they are solid wood. With the precision of our German machines, even most veneers can be sanded. However, we assume that all floors are solid wood unless you have specifically advised our salesperson otherwise.

I heard sanding floors is very dusty; what should I expect?

Our machines, the German Laagler Hummels, are the finest on the market. The manufacturers bill them as “dustless”, but of course sanding cannot be done without some dust. The dust from this machine is minimal for the industry.

Are some floor procedures dustier than others are?

Yes. For example, if you have parquet floors, pine, or if you are having the floors stained, there will be increased dust because more sanding and buffing will be required.

What will be done with the debris from sanding?

We will carefully sweep and bag all of your debris and carry it to your trash site, unless other previous arrangements are made.

Some of my boards are damaged. Do you replace boards?

Yes. Generally the best time to determine if boards need to be replaced is after the first sanding. Please note that there is an additional charge for board replacement.

My floor is nailed from the top. Is filling or punching the nails down further included in the sanding?

No. If nails are protruding from the surface and will contact our sandpaper, we will punch those nails; however, we will not punch down nails that are already subset from the surface of the floor. Please be aware that on a top nail floor the nails sometimes “bleed” into the wood leaving small rust stains, which will more likely happen in areas with more moisture. These “bleeding” marks also show through the stain. They are part of your floor and this is considered to be normal.

My floors have cracks and spaces between boards. Is filling the floor or steps included in the sanding price?

No. However, if it is only a small area, we generally take care of it if we feel it is appropriate, at no additional charge. Our preference is not to use filler and to stay with the natural wood look with a natural imperfection. Filler is a solid color without any grain and may not appear attractive. Also, wood expands and contracts with the dry winter and humid summer seasons; wood filler does not. Another reason we do not suggest filling every crack is after a few years, because the wood and filler have different physical properties, the filler may begin to pop out of its crevice and it will need attending to again to match the rest of the fillings.

If I want more work done other than what was specified on my contract, what do I do?

All changes and additions must go through the office. Call the office to discuss changes or additions for pricing and to let us inform and properly equip the mechanics.

Is moving furniture included in the price?

No. There is an additional charge for moving furniture and we do not assume liability for this. If you would like this service, we ask any smaller personal items, such as dishes in a china cabinet, be moved prior to our arrival.

Do you use our electric?

Yes; we run a 240V cable from the main panel box to the area being sanded. All other machines use standard 120V electric. Ample service and wiring needs to be available for us.

Is it necessary to tip the floor mechanics?

No; however, if you feel that an outstanding job was done, a tip would be greatly appreciated.

III – Staining, polyurethane and waterborne finishes 101

What is the difference between water-borne and oil-based polyurethane finishes?

The most obvious difference is that polyurethane has a light brown/amber color, while water-borne finishes are much lighter and clearer. Polyurethane is a strong engineering plastic with outstanding toughness and mechanical properties, making it an unparalleled coating for a dynamic surface like wood. Its success lies in its unique molecular phase separation between hard and soft polymer segments during the curing process. Most water-borne finishes are acrylate based, due to the difficulty of dispersing polymer finishes in water. Acrylate is almost as strong as polyurethane, but more brittle. Most water-borne finishes are mechanically inferior to polyurethane, but are more ecological, since no volatile solvents are used in the finish. The water-borne finish we use contains a patented alumina nanoparticle suspension; this combination actually surpasses conventional polyurethane finishes in mechanical properties. However, the water-borne finish we offer is more expensive than the polyurethane. Most of our customers choose polyurethane because of the color and the price.

Another company gave me a price for 3 coats; do you offer 3 coats also?

The polyurethane finish we use is top quality and does not require a 3rd coat for residential areas. In the past decade, PA has passed two critical ecological laws on VOC contents in floor  finishes. To compensate for the solvent restrictions, many finish manufacturers have incorporated “fillers” to allow for easier application and pot life of the product. This results in thinner coats, where 3-4 coats are necessary to match our product. The finish we use does not have any filler content, which also results in a more mechanically robust protective coating for your floor with better wear and scratch resistance. Our mechanics are highly experienced and have developed special techniques over the years to compensate for the increased difficulty of finish application.

I am having a stain applied to my floors. How do I choose stain samples?

You can look at a Minwax color brochure to get an idea of what colors are available, and/or tell the mechanic approximately what color you would like. Stain colors on brochures or online may deviate from what it looks like on your floor since wood is a living product and can greatly vary from floor to floor. The mechanic will apply a stain sample directly on your floor for you to approve. Our policy is to have the customer select and approve the stain color for their personal satisfaction.

Do you have all stains available?

We have most stains in stock. Some stains that are less common may need to be ordered. Please note that some of the dark stains, such as Jacobean or Red Mahogany, are somewhat costlier since additional work is required.

I have pine floors. Can I have them stained?

We discourage the use of stain on pine because of its high resin content. Pine does not absorb stain as evenly as oak. We can stain pine floors with an altered sanding procedure to aid in the uniformity of stain absorption into the wood, but assume no liability if certain areas appear blotchy due to the inherent inconsistency of the wood.

My floors are heavily used. Do you have any finishes that you recommend for durability?

We recommend our waterborne finish for high traffic areas such as kitchens, and for commercial use, such as dance floors and restaurants. It is more expensive, but it is also more durable, and dries more quickly.

IV – Getting my home back in order

How long will it take for the finish to dry to walk on?

This depends on the type of finish you select, as well as weather and house conditions. Normally, our first coat of oil polyurethane takes 4 to 6 drying hours before you can walk on it. The second/final coat may take up 8 to 10 hours drying time before walking on it. To check if a finish is try to walk on, feel it lightly; if it is still tacky, wait an hour and check again. When walking on newly coated floors, always wear clean hard-soled shoes to distribute your weight; do not walk with socks or bare feet. Water borne finish generally takes 1 to 4 drying hours before you can walk on it. Keep in mind that drying times are greatly affected by humidity and heat. Air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter will speed drying. It is your responsibility to make sure the floor is dry before using it. Some pets with sharp toenails can damage any type of flooring; we advise keeping pets off the fresh finish for 2-3 days, depending on their weight, activity level, and if they’ve had appropriate nail clippings.

How long before I can move my furniture back?

This also depends on the weather and house conditions. We recommend waiting at least 2-3 days for polyurethane, and 6-12 hours for waterborne finish, before moving the furniture back. We advise waiting 10 to 14 days before placing rugs on finished floors. Please keep in mind that all finishes harden and cure with time, so care should be taken during the first 3 to 4 weeks to avoid scratching. All furniture legs should have protective pads. A free sample package is given to each customer (also sold in our showroom).

How long does the urethane last?

Our finishes are top quality and are very durable. They will last for many years. The exact length depends on the amount of traffic and proper cleaning. If the floor has not been waxed, only a light buffing and re-coat is usually needed. To prepare for this, we recommend cleaning your floors with Desert Sun, a cleaner available in our showroom, or a residue-free polyurethane cleaner. A free Desert Sun sample is given to each customer when your contract is completed.

Can I wax my floors?

Technically yes, but we highly advise against it. Once you wax, you must continually wax until the floors are fully re-sanded and normal cleaning procedures do not apply. Be advised that some cleaners, like Murphys Oil, contain a polyethylene product (wax) that leaves a residue analogous to lightly waxing floors. Our polyurethane is highly scratch resistant and easy to clean, and our Desert Sun cleaner is specifically engineered to clean polyurethane coatings. If you are interested in a shinier, or higher sheen, coating, discuss the options of a glossy polyurethane top coat for your floors with the salesman.

How should I maintain and clean my floors?

To clean them, lightly spray a dust mop with a 10 to 1 mixture of Desert Sun. If desired or needed, occasionally wipe with a damp cloth moistened with Desert Sun. We give each of our customers a free sample of floor cleaner and complete cleaning and maintenance instructions. If needed, we also have stronger cleaners available for heavier jobs. Additional products are available in our showroom. We began selling the cleaner when our customers had difficulty finding a cleaner that did not dull the floor. Our cleaner is pH neutral, has optical brighteners to heighten the sheen, and a clean fresh fragrance. If you are unable to come to our showroom, cleaner can be mailed to you for an additional charge to cover postage and handling. After 10-20 years, depending on the area in your home and traffic, you can invite us back out too examine your floors to see if a buffing and coating is recommended for a minimal cost compared to a full sanding and refinishing.

IF ALL TREES WERE IDENTICAL … ALL WOOD WOULD LOOK ALIKE!

No two pieces of wood are ever alike, even from the same tree. Due to the difference in natural color and grain, each piece of wood will react differently to the finishing material used. These variations are the distinguishing “beauty marks” of quality of wood.