SVB Wood Floors Blog

Category Archives: Tips for Homeowners

Wood floor tips for homeowners. SVB Wood Floors helps Kansas City area homeowners properly care for their wood floors.

12 Critical Questions to Ask before You Hire a Hardwood Flooring Contractor

choosing-a-wood-floor-contractor-SVB-wood-floors-kc

At SVB Wood Floors, we know that hiring the right contractor is critical in getting the home of your dreams. So what exactly should you look for in a hardwood floor contractor? The experts at SVB Wood Floors have created this checklist to help you make the most informed decision. Make sure to ask these 15 questions before you hire any hardwood flooring company:

1. Does the Contractor Have a Proper Business Liability Policy in Place?

Any legitimate wood flooring contractor should have a liability policy in place. SVB Wood Floor Service, Inc. carries a 2 million dollar general liability policy. We do not have any claims in our company history and a copy of this policy is also available upon request. We also maintain an active workers’ compensation policy and have had no claims in our company history. This policy is also available upon request.

 

2. Does the Contractor Use Subcontractors? If So, Do They Have Proper Insurance Policies?

Hiring a company that uses subcontractors means you may be unsure of their qualifications. At SVB Wood Floors, we don’t subcontract our work. All of our trusted technicians are in-house, uniformed personnel. Each crew has an assigned crew leader, who has been through multiple years of training, before being placed into this lead position.

 

3. Is the Contractor a Member of the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association)?

The SVB team currently holds multiple certifications with the NWFA for installation, sanding and finishing, sales advising, environmental awareness, and craftsman degrees. Additionally, SVB’s owner, Steve Brattin, is a NWFA board member and holds positions on NWFA committees.

Related Read: SVB Wood Floors Wins 2016 Wood Floor of the Year Award from NWFA

 

4. What Industry Technical Training and Accreditation Have They Received?

In an industry that is constantly making advancements, it’s important to choose a contractor who values keeping up with the latest certifications and accreditations. SVB and its employees are certified with the Bona Certified Craftsman Program. Installation, sanding/finishing techniques, and skills are updated at annual Surfaces, Bona BCCP and NWFA conventions, along with other training classes offered throughout the year by these organizations.

 

5. What Kind of Warranty Does the Contractor Offer?

Hardwood flooring is a big investment, so make sure you choose a contractor who’s got your back. We offer a warranty for the period of one year for the materials and workmanship we supply. A copy of this warranty is available upon request.

 

6. Does the Contractor Offer Customer Care for the Life of Your Floor?

Sure, a contractor can get the job done, but are they qualified to maintain your floors beyond installation? SVB offers the following methods of care for the life of your floor.

 

7. Where Does the Contractor Obtain the Flooring Materials? What Steps Are Followed to Ensure the Flooring Is Acclimated Properly to Our Region?

Get to the source of your wood floors. It’s important that contractors know where materials come from and know how to properly acclimate them to our region. SVB obtains all of its materials from reputable mills and wholesalers who kiln dry and warehouse the product to meet the demands of the MO & KS climates. All wood flooring received by SVB is dated upon arrival and checked for proper moisture readings. The material is then stored in our warehouse to ensure it has been acclimated to the Midwest region and is ready for installation.

 

8. What Process Is Used for Dust Mitigation?

Nobody wants the stress of a dusty mess once your wood floors have been installed, which is why SVB uses a state-of-the-art dust extraction system which evacuates the dust from your home to our trailer-mounted Bona containment system.

These units are very powerful and generate 99.8% less dust than traditional methods, which makes the process much more convenient. Plus, with this state-of-the-art system, there is no need for sealing off doorways and you won’t be left cleaning dust particles for months to come.

 

9. Is the Exact Type of Stain and Finish Specified on the Estimate?

It’s important to have options, but even more important to have the highest quality options. SVB specifies the exact type of finishes available on all projects. All finishes are not created equal, and SVB only uses the best on the market, which is included in our price.

Related Read: Don’t Settle for Just Any Stain Color: All About SVB’s Process

 

10. Is the Moisture Content of the Materials and Relative Humidity of the Environment Logged and Monitored as Set Forth by the NWFA Guidelines?

SVB logs and monitors the moisture content of the wood when it is delivered and verifies that the materials are acclimated properly for your job site before installation begins. SVB also logs and monitors the relative humidity of your job site.

Related Read: Top Tips to Prevent Moisture from Damaging Your Hardwood Floors

 

11. Is the Contractor Willing to Compromise Acclimation to Accommodate Your Schedule?

Acclimation is a critical step in the process of installing hardwood floors. It lessens the chances of gapping and other problems down the road. While we do everything possible to meet our clients’ demands and deadlines, we will never compromise the acclimation process as it is a necessary step in the process and should not be skipped.

 

12. Does the Contractor Provide You with Cleaning Products and Cleaning Care Instructions?

SVB will provide you with a complete Bona Floor cleaning kit and care instructions at the end of your project. Also, we sell a variety of Bona cleaning and maintenance products and services to keep your floors looking their best for years to come. Each floor completed by SVB is registered and certified with the Bona Certified Craftsman Program.

Related Read: 8 Tips for Moving Heavy Objects without Scratching your Hardwood Floors

 

Make sure you do your homework before hiring a hardwood floor company to repair, refinish, or install your hardwood floors. Give us a call at (816) 965-8655 or schedule an appointment online today!

 

Will Ice Melt or Salt Hurt My Wood Floors?

 

ice melt can ruin hard wood floorsWinter isn’t over yet! All of the ice melt and salt on the sidewalks in Kansas City can do harm to your beautiful hardwood floors. It starts out with moisture being tracked into your home from this wet, snowy, and icy weather. Moisture on your hardwood floors is never a good thing. But moisture mixed with salt or ice melt is even worse. If you are wondering how to protect your hardwood floor from these ice melt products, take a look below. Our hardwood floor experts made a list of helpful tips to keep your floors shining for years to come!

Quick Cleanups are the Best Cleanups

As soon as a spill is made, or moisture rests on your floor, do everything you can to clean it up. The faster you remove the moisture, the less time it has to soak into your hardwood floor. If the residue is already dry, you can just sweep or vacuum the area. It is important to sweep or vacuum because you will remove any granules/rocks from your floor preventing them from scratching the surface. Pro tip: keep a soft and absorbent towel or rag near your doors so it’s easy and convenient to mop up messes when they happen.

What Chemicals Are in Ice Melt Products?

Most ice melt products are made of the same chemicals. They are either made from one, or a blend of, five materials including, calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and urea. Calcium chloride is the most popular solution because of the high efficiency and low price. The only problem with salt is the high pH levels which act as floor strippers. It is known for breaking down the finish on your floor and making the wood below vulnerable.

How to Remove Salt or Ice Melt Stains

Since the chemicals in ice melt or salt breakdown the protection on your wood floors, they will sometimes leave behind a white film or residue after it dries. It’s best to neutralize this alkaline salt residue. You can do this with an acidic chemical. First, remove the film, with a soft cloth dampened with water. If residue remains after this, you can try one of two things; adding one cup of white vinegar diluted in a gallon of warm water, or a professional floor cleaning product. If you choose option one, use this cloth to buff the area in a circular motion and buff dry immediately. Test this method on a small area first. Once you see the results you were looking for, that is when you can expand the area.

Prevention Is Your Best Defense Against Hardwood Floor Damage

Instead of using ice melt products, try using kitty litter! It won’t get rid of the ice, but it will give a surface for your visitors shoes to grip onto. Kitty litter provides a softer texture than salt or ice melt and won’t scratch your floors nearly as easily. Another way you can prevent damage to your floors is by using lots of mats. Have a doormat on the inside and the outside of your home. Now they have the option to wipe their feet on more than one spot. This will hopefully keep these chemicals outside of your house. 

If your floors are really taking a beating this winter and needs a deep cleaning, call SVB Wood Floors for a hardwood floor deep clean. Call us at (913) 396-6863 or schedule a FREE quote online.

How to Protect your Hardwood Floors this Winter

ice melt hurts your wood floors

Hardwood floors have the ability to add much needed warmth and beauty into your home. In order to maintain this beauty, they must be taken care of properly. This is especially true during the winter months when the air is dry, and snow and ice begin to make their way inside the home.

Here at SVB, our experts put together a few tips on how to protect your hardwood floors from old man winter this year:

 

Gapping Between Boards

Sometimes you may notice small gaps between your hardwood floor boards during these cold winter months. The reason for this is because the colder the weather gets, the lower the humidity will get. Once the humidity reaches a certain level, the moisture in the boards will decrease, causing them to shrink.

The best way to prevent your floor boards from shrinking is by running a humidifier in your home. Depending on the ventilation in your home, the humidifier may need anywhere from 3 to 5 pints of water per hour to make up for the lost moisture.

Related Read: Top Tips to Prevent Moisture from Damaging Your Wood Floors

 

Ice Melt and Salt on Your Wood Floors

cleaning the ice melt off your wood floorsRock salt, or sodium chloride can be extremely tough on your wood floors if tracked inside from the outdoors. This causes scratches and damage to the finish on your wood floors. On the other hand, calcium chloride leaves a slick film that will damage your wood floor, causing it to lose its shine. One way this problem could be avoided is by providing floor mats at every door for guests to wipe their feet on as they enter. This will keep most of the ice melt and salt away and keep your floors shining.

 

Water and Debris

Your floors act as magnets for dirt and other debris that makes its way into your home over the course of the year. Unfortunately, in the winter, you also have to worry about water from melting snow and ice. If this water isn’t taken care of properly, it can cause your wood floor to warp and inflict damage to the surrounding boards. Additionally, the dirt and other small debris in your home can cause scratching on the surface of your floor. While this may not seem too damaging at first, it will soon allow moisture to enter. The best way to eliminate the potential of water and debris is by sweeping and mopping often.

 

Pets and Children

It’s no secret that your kids and pets love to play outside in the snow. Sadly, all that snow will eventually end up melting on your lovely wood floors when they come back inside. Do your best to let your dog back inside through your garage or laundry room. If neither of those is an option, be ready to wipe off their paws with a towel when they return.

For the kids, make sure they understand the importance of shaking off excess snow. If possible, they should remove their coats, snow pants, scarves, mittens and boots outside, or in a designated area like a mudroom with a protected floor. If any puddles are created, wipe them up to avoid damage.

 

Holiday Decorations

Most families love the look, feel, and, of course, the smell of a living Christmas tree during the holidays. However, watering them can turn into a pretty big problem for your hardwood floor. Do your best to avoid spilling and if you happen to spill, make sure to clean it up immediately so it doesn’t turn into a stain or cause any other type of damage. 

We recommend using tree skirts but make sure you avoid the skirts that have rubber backings because they sometimes have chemicals that can discolor your floor’s finish. Finally, make sure to clean up the fallen pine needles before they are tracked into every room of your house. This will produce small scratches everywhere and your hardwood floor may lose its shine. If this does happen, we are happy to help with our Kansas City hardwood floor refinishing services, but preventative maintenance is usually best.


Is the finish on your hardwood floor fading? Now the holidays are over, SVB can give your wood floors a face-lift in just two days! Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation consultation.

 

10 Moving Tips to Keep Your Hardwood Floors Scratch Free

Keep Floors Scratch Free

Moving heavy furniture, like refrigerators, is never fun but it must be done. Unfortunately, if not executed properly, the floor is sometimes scratched when moving these heavy objects. Here at SVB Wood Floors, we get hardwood floor repair calls all of the time. A majority of these calls come from homeowners after they move furniture. Next time you plan on moving something in your house, follow these tips: 

1.) Clean It Up

Most of the time, homeowners completely forget to clean the floors before moving furniture. Yes we know, no one enjoys cleaning the floors but it will save you some grief and most likely some money in the long run. Small rocks or even dust can cause large amounts of damage to your floors if they are caught between heavy furniture and the floor. Make sure to sweep your floors and remove this grit.

2.) Move Furniture Slowly

No matter how heavy the piece of furniture is, take your time when moving it. Sliding off the padding remains a threat if you are moving it too quickly. If you are pushing the furniture, keep a close eye on the padding. If something feels or sounds off, stop what you are doing and check for damages. If you notice any damage, immediately stop what you are doing so you can reduce the scratching.

3.) Don’t Drag Furniture

Do your best to avoid dragging furniture. If the object can be lifted and moved across the room, it is best to do so. Moving furniture is usually a team lift and by that, we mean to ask for help from a friend, neighbor, or relative. Be very careful if you do decide to drag or slide it. There should always be some sort of cushion between the furniture and the floor.

4.) Lighten the Load

Take some weight off! If the object is extremely heavy, see what attachments you can remove to make it as light as possible. For example, if you are moving a dresser, remove the drawers and/or contents inside them. 

Additionally, if a mirror is attached, take the time to unscrew a few screws to set the mirror aside. Removing these items will not only make the load lighter but will also prevent any part of the furniture from sliding and creating a problem.

5.) Soften the Surface When Sliding

As mentioned earlier, always put something soft between the floor and the object. Folded towels, thick moving blankets, or even small area rugs are perfect for moving purposes. Just make sure the fuzzy side is always faced towards the wood floor.

Always remember, if you use the area rug or even old carpet, to shake them out before using. This will remove all the grit and debris which could cause a problem later on. Never use cardboard to move furniture.

6.) Try It on Its Side

If it’s not too big or heavy, maybe try laying the piece of furniture on its back or side. If the fabric allows, you can just slide it. By distributing the weight over a larger area, the chances of scratching the surface area decrease. Now all you need to worry about is watching corners or legs to make sure they don’t hit anything or so you can lift it back up to its upright position. This option usually requires some help.

7.) Get Some Gliders

Everyone who uses gliders instantly loves them. Gliders are special pads that fit under your furniture and make moving heavy objects a breeze. You can find a variety of different sizes and they are all very affordable. The best part is that gliders are reusable and super convenient to use every time you decide to move something around.

8.) Refrigerator Trick

Refrigerators are best known for their ability to easily scratch hardwood floors. When installing a refrigerator, we suggest laying two pieces of hardboard just in front of where the back wheels will be when it is in its final position, slide it back into place on the boards, and then carefully lean it backward to remove the boards.

9.) Don’t Trust the Wheels

Be cautious when using wheels. They are great for boosting confidence. Just because a piece is on wheels, doesn’t mean those wheels won’t scratch or dent your wood floors. These wheels can get stuck sideways and not turn easily. If you still insist on using the wheels, you can place a piece of ¼” thick hardboard on the floor and roll the wheels over it.

10.) Don’t Use Dollies with Hard Rubber Wheels

Dollies are a lifesaver and are great for moving heavy furniture. But before you load anything up onto the dolly, make sure the wheels are inflatable rubber wheels. Hard rubber wheels can actually cause a good amount of damage to your floors when you take into account the weight of the object you are moving. 

 

We hope by following these 10 tips you will help keep your hardwood floors looking great! By chance, if you accidentally damage your wood floor, give us a call (816) 965-8655 or schedule a free consultation online. You can also download our free guide to taking care of your hardwood floors below:

 


5 Hardwood Floor Care Tips to Prepare You for the Holiday Season

Holiday Floor Care Tips

There’s no better time to bring together all of your friends and family than the holidays. With family gatherings, comes an increase in foot traffic in your home. This season, safeguard your hardwood floors from the increase in activity and traffic, and take a few steps to keep them gleaming and impress your guests. Our experts at SVB Wood Floors put together this list of 5 tips to prepare your floors for the holiday season.

Routine Maintenance

It’s important to regularly sweep, dust and mop leading up to your holiday party. By doing this, you will have a good base going into the holiday season. A good base prevents small debris and dust from scraping and scratching your floors during heavy foot traffic.

Related Read: Hardwood Floor Care Instructions

Remove Spills Quickly

Houses with pets or kids are more prone to have spills. Anytime there is a spill on your hardwood floor, make sure you clean it up as soon as it happens. Removing the spills immediately will prevent long-term damage to your floors and keep them looking uniform.

Use Rugs & Mats to Preserve Your Floor

Rugs and mats are always a nice trick to keep your floors looking nice. Before inviting guests over, it’s a good idea to map out which areas of your home will have the highest traffic. For example, the front foyer, hallways, and kitchen to name a few. We suggest laying down rugs or mats in these areas to protect them. Make sure the rugs you put down have a pad underneath to prevent them from sliding around.

Protect Your Floor from Your Furniture

A problem that is often overlooked when having guests over for the holidays is moving furniture. With more guests in your home, you’re sure to be moving furniture around to accommodate more seating, or to open up a space for gifts, etc. Attaching felt pads onto the feet of your furniture can protect your floor. These felt pads allow them to easily glide on your hardwood floors without leaving damage behind. Just remember to replace the pads every few months, otherwise grit can build up and cause scratches as well.

Safeguard Your Floor from Other Dangers

Besides rugs and felt pads, there are other safety measures you can take to protect your floors this season. You can trim your pets nails and even enforce a ‘no shoes’ policy in your home. Both of these will help. Though the first is self-explanatory, the second will also help your floors in the long run. Women often wear high heels when dressing up for holiday parties (stilettos are hardwood floor enemies), which can dent, scratch, and dull your beautiful floors.

If you want even more dazzling floors before the holidays, call us at (816) 965-8655 for our SVB Wood Floor professional hardwood floor cleaning or wood floor refinishing services.

Getting Wood Floors Installed – Here’s What Happens in 4 Easy Steps

hardwood floors by SVBYou may be considering hardwood floors for their beauty, their low maintenance, their allergy-friendliness or the value they add to your home. Whatever the reason, at SVB Wood Floors, we’ve been installing beautiful hardwood floors for decades and we’ve got it down to a science. We have found that when homeowners are familiar with the process, everything goes a little more smoothly, and we end up with happier customers, so here’s what you can expect when we install wood floors in your home.

Step 1: Free Wood Floor Consultation

You’ll notice our entire process starts with the most important thing – a free, in-home consultation. It’s important because we want to make sure we are on the same page with our customers to ensure that we deliver exactly what they want. Because there are so many choices when it comes to hardwood floors, we want to make sure you know all of your options so you can make an informed decision down to the smallest detail.

We Create Custom Colors and Designs for Your Wood Floor

We offer many different types of wood floors – different species, plank widths, stain colors, patterns, etc. You can check out flooring samples from our showroom so you can see them in your home with your cabinets, other flooring, etc. to make sure that it will blend with your home. We can even custom mix stain to give you exactly the shade you want. If you’d like to make your floors unique to your home, our expert installers can create any kind of custom wood floor design you can dream up. We can add beautiful inlays, intricate medallions, decorative borders, and more.

Step 2: Room Preparation

The only thing you need to do before the installation is to prepare the room(s) getting new floors by removing as much as possible. To minimize the risk of any of your furnishings getting bumped or broken during the installation process, we require that you remove the furniture, drapery, and anything hanging on the walls. We will let you know when to expect us so you’ll have time to get ready.

Step 3: Hardwood Floor Installation

This is the most disruptive part of the process. Expect some noise and traffic in your home as our crew installs the planks. We make sure the wood planks we are installing have been acclimated in our temperature controlled warehouse so they fit perfectly.

Once the planks are in place, they are sanded for smoothness. Our BONA dustless sanding system removes the dust while we sand. With dustless sanding, the dust is whisked away to an outside container before it has a chance to spread all over your home. The great thing about our dustless sanding process is that it is very convenient and leaves virtually no mess in your home.

Step 4: Staining and Finishing Your Hardwood Floors

Our multi-step staining & wood floor refinishing process ensures a fabulous final product. We carefully apply the stain which really brings out your floor’s personality. When the stain is dry, we finish the floor with several coats of an environmentally safe, durable, and quick-drying topcoat. You can choose from low luster to high gloss or anywhere in between. We screen, buff, and vacuum between refinishing coats for the absolute best results possible. You can walk on your new floor (with stocking feet) two to three hours after the finish is applied. No pets for 48 hours or furniture for 7-10 days (until the floor is fully cured).

 

2 Other Things to Consider before Having Wood Floors Installed

If you’re thinking of enhancing your home with wood floors, some options you may not have even thought about yet:

Solid or Engineered Hardwood Floors?

Solid:

Hardwood floors are made from a solid piece of wood from top to bottom and end to end. Engineered hardwood floors are created by stacking multiple layers of wood together in various directions and binding them into a solid form with heat and pressure. A thinner hardwood veneer is glued on top. Both wear evenly (since both are solid hardwood on top) and some of today’s engineered planks have a deep enough wear layer to allow them to be sanded and refinished like a solid hardwood floor.

Engineered:

SVB offers engineered woodThe main advantage of engineered hardwood is its strength and stability, especially when exposed to moisture. Solid wood will warp along natural grain lines when exposed to excessive moisture. Engineered wood does not contain natural lines and therefore won’t be be as prone to warping or bending. Engineered hardwood floors (both unfinished and prefinished) are best used in lower levels and areas where moisture or humidity might be present.

Prefinished or Unfinished Wood Floors?

Both have advantages. It depends on what you’re looking for.

Prefinished:

Prefinished has a more durable finish because it is created in a controlled environment in a factory. You will also know exactly what color and finish your floors will have before the installation. With prefinished planks, you have no fumes, less mess, and a shorter wait time to walk on your new floor. Prefinished floors are more tolerant to humidity changes.

Unfinished:

Unfinished may work best if you are repairing or expanding an existing wood floor and want to “lace-in” or seamlessly match the existing floor or if you want to match cabinets or trim because the color isn’t pre-determined. Also, if you are looking for an unusual wood species or width, it may not be available in prefinished. Lastly, you may not like the beveled edges that accompany prefinished planks, so unfinished would be best for you.

 

Our wood floor installers are experts in the industry. In fact, we’ve won many local and even a national award for our wood floor designs and installations. For our installers, it’s not just a job, it’s an art form.

 

If you’re thinking of installing hardwood floors in your Kansas City area home, call us for a free in-home consultation. We’ll help you choose the wood floor with the perfect color, style, and price range for you. Don’t wait. A beautiful new hardwood floor can be yours usually within a couple of weeks. Call us today at (816) 944-3150.

Can Water Damaged Wood Floors Be Repaired?

water damage on wood floors

Water and wood don’t mix. When disaster strikes and your dishwasher leaks, your washing machine hose bursts, or your ice maker has a meltdown, your wood floors can pay the price. But how do you know if they are salvageable? At SVB Wood Floors, we’ve seen the worst. The good news is that no matter what happened, we can repair or replace them. The question is…which one will it be?

 

Fast Action May Save Your Wood Floor

Wood is a porous organic material that can only resist the effects of water for a short time. That’s why you must act fast to prevent damage from occurring. But sometimes, things happen that you can’t plan for. For example, you’re away on vacation and while you’re lying on a beach soaking up the sun, a pipe breaks and floods your kitchen which then remains that way for several days. Now what?

Signs of Water Damage to Look For

Here are some signs of damage to look for:

-Staining and/or discoloration

-Cupping – the edges of the individual planks are raised higher than the middle

-Crowning – the middle of the individual planks swells and rises

-Buckling from absorbed moisture

-Popping nails

-Lifting of floorboards (especially at the ends)

-Mold growth (can occur within 48 hours of flooding)

 

Depending on how long the floor was wet, damage can vary. Considering that the normal moisture content in a typical hardwood floor is somewhere between 6 and 12 percent and a flooded hardwood floor can have a moisture content of up to 40 percent, damage can be severe. Much of it has to do with the amount of time that the floor is exposed to the water. More moisture will be retained if the floor is left to dry on its own.

 

4 Deciding Factors for Replacement or Repair

Determining whether a water-damaged wood floor can be repaired or must be torn up and replaced will depend on a number of factors such as:

-The length of time the floor has been exposed to water

-Whether your floor is solid hardwood or engineered hardwood

-The severity of the damage (Has the water penetrated into the subfloor?)

-The floor’s finish (It can be difficult to match certain stain colors when replacing isolated floorboards, especially if the stain has “mellowed” with time.)

 

Solid wood flooring gives you the broadest range of options for repair. Because it is solid wood throughout the entire plank, we can sand away up to 1/4 of an inch of the wood to remove cupping or surface mold. Once the planks are dry, we can restain. Also, solid flooring can be replaced and new planks can be retrofitted more easily into the existing flooring. With engineered wood flooring, because only the top layer is real wood, there is less material to sand, which limits the repair options.

If the damage is minor, the floor can sometimes be saved by replacing affected boards and then sanding and refinishing the whole floor. If the damage is severe or extensive, causing significant expansion, the entire floor may need replacing – and sometimes even the subfloor will have to be replaced.

 

If you suspect water damage, the first step is to have the floor’s condition assessed by a hardwood flooring professional. Call SVB Wood Floors at (816) 965-8655 and one of our hardwood water damage repair experts can help assess the situation and give you an estimate on repairing or replacing your wood floors.

 

Drop-In vs. Flush-Mount – Let the Venting Begin

Installing and refinishing wood floors involves a few detail-oriented decisions. One of those decisions is the kind of floor vents you want. Most homeowners haven’t given much thought to their floor vents, but you basically have two choices. To get you started thinking about which you might like, the experts at SVB Wood Floors have some facts about drop-in versus flush-mount wood floor vents.

Consider Floor Vents before Installation Is Done

Deciding which type of vent you’d like is one of those details that you’ll want to consider from the start. That’s because it’s much easier better to install them during the design process rather than trying to fit them in afterward. Fortunately, our free in-home consultation will cover all aspects of your floor design – including vent options.

Drop-In or Self-Rimming Vents

Drop-In Vs Self-Rimmming Vents

These vents have a slight rim all around the edge. That rim fits neatly over the cut edges of your floorboards. Unlike flush-mount vents, these can be installed with ease and at any time during the installation process, and even afterward.

Pros of Drop-In Vents

  • These are very easy to install because they literally just ‘drop’ into the floor opening. They’re generally also a less expensive option than flush-mount vents.

 

  • If you decide on this familiar style, we can install them for you or you can choose to do it yourself later. In either case, we can stain them to match your beautiful new flooring.

 

Cons of Drop-In Vents

  • The raised rim of these vents sometimes gets in the way of furniture placement or floor traffic. As small as that rim is, it can topple toddlers who aren’t steady on their feet yet!

 

  • It’s particularly important to keep the area around the rim of these vents free of damaging grit. Grit has a tendency to gravitate towards them – especially when you’re sweeping. It’s a good idea to vacuum around each vent after you’ve swept in order to keep them free of that grit.

 

Flush-Mount or In-Floor Vents

Flush Mount Vs In-Floor Vents

These vents mount flush with your floor so there is no rim. It’s much easier (and less expensive) to install these along with your new flooring. You can have these installed retroactively, but you’ll need to hire an expert. This is definitely not a project for the average DIYer!

Pros of Flush-Mount Vents

  • These vents fit smoothly and seamlessly into your new floor. Your new hardwood floor takes more of the spotlight when the vents are inconspicuous.

 

  • Since they sit flush, they won’t negatively influence furniture placement or traffic patterns. No more wobbly side tables or tripping toddlers!

 

  • Cleaning is easier without that grit-trapping and vacuum or broom-deflecting lip.

Cons of Flush-Mount Vents

  • These are difficult and expensive to retrofit. That means they’re difficult to change later on, too.

 

Fitting them in after the fact requires a careful layout and precision cuts. It’s also a bit nerve-wracking watching holes being cut in your beautiful new floors!

 

  • Even when installed along with the flooring, these are generally more expensive than drop-in vents.

 

Can’t Decide? Let Us Be Your Guide!

Our family-owned company is committed to providing you with the quality results you deserve. Whether your job is large or small, we want to give you the kind of high-quality, professional service that helped us win the award for the 2016 Wood Floor of the Year from the National Wood Flooring Association. That includes paying attention to every detail – including the vents!     

Base Shoe or Quarter Round – What’s the Difference?

base shoe When we refinish or install a hardwood floor, we replace the baseboard molding. Baseboard molding installations are finished off with a small piece of molding that covers the gap between the bottom of the baseboards and the floor. There are two types of molding that can be used – base shoe or quarter round. So what’s the difference?

Both Types of Molding Are Very Similar

Base shoe and quarter round are almost identical. In some situations, they can be used interchangeably, but they both have their own specific uses as well.

Quarter round (shown in two sizes in the picture on the left and the right) is exactly as its name implies, one quarter of a round dowel. It has a 90° angle on the backside with a perfect quarter radius on the side that shows.  The quarter round comes in a variety of sizes, which makes it versatile enough for a wide range of applications, as well as an ideal solution for eliminating the gap between trim and moldings and to fill corners.

Base shoe also has a 90-degree angle on the backside, but the front of base shoe is slightly more square and does not follow the radius of a circle like the quarter round does.

Does the Base Shoe Need to Be Removed before Refinishing or Installing a Wood Floor?

Yes, it should. There are a couple of reasons why you should remove the base shoe before installing a new floor. It is most likely that the existing base shoe molding has been in place for quite some time, so it may be dented or damaged in places. Plus it probably has several layers of paint on it from over the years. More importantly, however, removing the base shoe will allow you to butt the new flooring up to the wall. If we are refinishing a floor, and the base shoe is left in place, it will prevent us from getting the sander along the edge of the existing floor.

Should the Base Shoe Match the Trim Color or the Floor Color?

This is really a matter of preference. Traditionally speaking, the base shoe color should match the trim color, however, the choice is ultimately up to the homeowner. We suggest matching with your trim color to add contrast and emphasize the beautiful stain color of your hardwood floors.

Related Read:  Everything You Need to Consider When Choosing a Stain Color for Your Hardwood Floors

Do I Really Need Baseboard Molding?

One of the most common questions people ask is if they really need the base shoe, or if it’s just an add on. The answer is a simple yes. Without it, there is typically a gap between the trim and flooring, which is not only unattractive but makes it extremely easy for dirt and debris to build up under the base trim. At SVB, we give you your choice – you can remove the existing shoe base on your own, purchase pre-primed replacements from SVB, stain it, and install it yourself.  Or you can leave this tedious task up to us. We will remove the existing shoe base, and stain and install the new base shoe.

If you are considering refinishing, replacing or installing a new wood floor, call us at (816) 965-8655 or contact us online to schedule a free, in-home consultation.

Hardwood Floors and Humidity

Hardwood Floors & HumidityWater and wood floors is never a good combination. Wood floors are porous and absorb moisture. That’s why it’s important to watch the humidity level in your home. The humidity level, whether too high or too low, of your home can affect your wood floors. So how do you know if you have a humidity problem and what’s the magic humidity level?

The wood floor experts at SVB Wood Floors have a few tips about how to control the humidity in your home in order to maintain your beautiful wood floors.

 

Why Is Humidity Bad for Wood Floors?

Because wood is a porous material, it soaks up moisture which can damage it. Depending on how much moisture, and how long the hardwood floor is exposed to it, it can do irreparable damage.

The humidity levels in your home are extremely important for maintaining your wood floors because moisture loss causes wood to shrink and moisture absorption causes wood to swell. Here are some warning signs that suggest you may need some help with humidity.

 

Symptoms of Not Enough Humidity in Winter

In the wintertime, the most common symptom you see in hardwood floors is gapping between the planks.

What happens is that, when we turn our furnaces on, the humidity level inside our homes plummets.

This causes the wood to shrink. Hardwood floors do not shrink consistently in all directions. When humidity levels decrease, the boards will shrink more from side to side than end to end.

Thus, the distance between the planks grows larger causing gaps. This also means that wider boards will shrink more than narrower boards.

Related Read: How to Keep Winter Weather From Destroying Your Hardwood Floors

 

Symptoms of Too Much Humidity in Summer

Excess humidity in the summer can cause the wood planks to expand and press against each other. This increase in pressure can cause the boards to cup or become higher on the edges than in the center.

Just as in low humidity cases, the boards swell more from side to side than end to end. In extreme cases, the pressure can cause the boards to crack.

Related Read: 8 Ways You’re Destroying Your Hardwood Floors

 

What Should My Humidity Levels Be in My Home?

So what’s a safe humidity range for your wood floors?  Most experts agree that an ideal level of indoor humidity is around 45%, although anything between 35% and 55% is acceptable.

Summer is usually not as big of a problem as winter. As long as you run your air conditioner, it will remove excess humidity from the air. Winter is when we see the worst problems with a lack of humidity. The relative humidity of indoor air during heating season can be as low as 10%-15%. To put that into context, consider that the average relative humidity in the Sahara Desert is 25%!

Think about that. Your home can be drier than the desert during the cold winter months! That’s not good for you and it’s definitely not good for your wood floors!

 

Humidifiers Put Moisture Back in the Air

Your home needs extra humidity in the winter, but how do you add it and control it to maintain an optimal level. Here are a few humidifier tips to help you do just that:

Purchase a Hygrometer

This device measures relative humidity so that you can easily monitor humidity levels in your home. It will tell you when your humidity is too low so you know you need more moisture to keep your wood floors (and furniture and woodwork) healthy. It is inexpensive and you can pick one up at your local hardware store.

Have a Humidifier Installed on Your HVAC System

A humidistat that’s built into the unit will let you set humidity levels rather than leave it to chance. This is an ideal solution because it allows you to control humidity levels year-round so you can avoid damaging your wood floors with humidity levels that are too high in the summer or too low in the winter.

Portable Humidifiers

While portable humidifiers aren’t as convenient as a whole-house system that’s integrated into your HVAC system, they’re better than nothing. You’ll have to clean the moisture that may gather around them and refill them every few days. Most manufacturers recommend using distilled water rather than tap water which can cause mineral deposits that affect the humidifier’s efficiency.

 

If you’ve experienced a humidity-related problem with your wood floors and need advice on how to repair them, give us a call at (816) 965-8655 or contact us online to get your free quote.