Hardwood Flooring Installation

Hardwood flooring is by far our most popular option for residential spaces. With hundreds of hardwood flooring installations in the East Bay area, you can be confident our knowledge is solid! We understand the features, advantages and benefits that make wood flooring a solid choice. We want you to know all about hardwood; to understand and experience this versatile product so you can decide if it’s the best flooring choice for your home or condominium. Hardwood certainly answers the need for beauty in your home.  If you already have wood flooring in your home, check out our wood flooring care section!

The elegant look of a hardwood floor can add warmth and character to any room. In fact, the natural characteristics of wood add depth and a visual appearance that many other types of floors can only try to duplicate. Rich, inviting hardwood floors are not only beautiful to live with, they’re easy to care for, and can add value to your home at resale time. Plus, today, hardwood types, options and applications are more diverse and delightful than ever. As the consumer demand for hardwood floors has grown, so has the manufacturer’s ability to produce better quality finishes and superior construction techniques. The result of those advancements is that wood floors can now be installed throughout the home and over a wide variety of sub-floors. Wood flooring has come a long way from when it was the only flooring option that existed, other than dirt.  Fine Floorz has an array of flooring options for your home.  Below are just a few of your options…

 

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There is a different wood flooring option for a variety of installation types now. Wood flooring is broken down in to two primary categories: Solid and Engineered.

Solid Wood Flooring is what its name implies. Its a solid piece of wood. The thicknesses of solid wood flooring range from ¾” to 5/16″. One of the many benefits of solid wood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished many times.

Engineered Wood Floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using several layers of wood veneers. The layers can be of the same type or species, or different. The grain of each layer runs in a cross hatch pattern for strength and durability. Engineered wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring.

The “Other” natural woods: Bamboo and Cork

Why consider bamboo flooring for your home? it is easier on the earth, harder than some hardwoods and resistant to flammability. Unlike hardwood, bamboo is not a product of trees, it’s a fast growing grass. Bamboo can grow from sprouts to harvesting in three to five years, thus an acre of bamboo can provide more flooring than an acre of trees. When bamboo shoots are cut the roots remain intact and fresh new sprouts grow in their place. The dense root mass of bamboo helps prevent soil erosion and provides a viable crop opportunity in hilly acres where other crops cannot grow. The species used for flooring is harvested from selected groves in Southern China. And, good news — this species is not eaten by Pandas.

Bamboo can be an attractive alternative to hardwood because it is eco-friendly, is dimensionally stable, 27% harder than Northern Red Oak, 13% harder than hard Maple, can either be nailed-down, glued-down or floated, and it’s resistant to flammability. Bamboo flooring comes in planks and is installed just like engineered hardwood floors. These floors can be installed over many different types of subfloors.

If you think hardwood works, and may be the flooring for you, come discover all the other sections on this beautiful, versatile and inviting product.

So what about cork?

Similar to bamboo, cork like other “woods” is a completely natural product, installed in it’s natural state. Like bamboo, cork is naturally fire resistant and it does not release any toxic gases on combustion. Cork is regarded as one of the better choices for natural sound insulation because it absorbs ambient sound and generally reduces noise. Cork’s unique cellular structure with millions of cells enclosed with a gaseous substance, providing a comfortable cushioned surface that gives a soft feeling to the feet and joints of people walking and standing on cork floors for extended periods of time. Due to this , it is also a forgiving material, that gives way underfoot, making it extremely durable and comfortable as it insulates against cold and heat. Perfect for bare feet. This durability also lends itself to many, many years of use, and ease of repairs, making it one of the single best values in flooring today.

Due to the presence of a naturally occurring substance called suberin, cork is naturally resistant to deterioration and water damage, resists the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, prevents the cultivation of mold, and keeps away bugs and dust mites and is completely hypoallergenic. Not to mention its surface is an anti-static

There is no doubt with all the options available, you will find the perfect floor, and we will help you do it.

Mirage |  Duchateau |  Urban Floor |  Homer Wood |  Kahrs  | LM Flooring  |  Provenza  | The Garrison Collection   

 

Hallmark Floors | Shaw  |  Catalina Carpet Mills |  PFS Floors |  Triangulo |  Nature’s Select  |  Armstrong |  Mohawk   

 

California Classic Reserve Collection  |  Royalty Carpet Mills  | Bruce | Lauzon

Mirage |  Duchateau |  Urban Floor |  Homer Wood |  Kahrs  | LM Flooring  |  Provenza  | The Garrison Collection   

 

Hallmark Floors | Shaw  |  Catalina Carpet Mills |  PFS Floors |  Triangulo |  Nature’s Select  |  Armstrong |  Mohawk   

 

California Classic Reserve Collection  |  Royalty Carpet Mills  | Bruce | Lauzon

Easy, concise knowledge about hardwood construction.  Understanding how hardwood is made is easy, and, here, efficient. We’ve explained all the basics in this section and urge you to check them out.  Knowing how hardwood is constructed provides you with an understanding of the hardwood floor right from its beginning. That’s important information because these are the materials you’ll be living with and walking on for years to come should you choose this flooring product.  Knowing the different types that make up various hardwood floors also helps you understand and evaluate their performance aspects: why certain hardwoods are easier to install, why some wear better, longer, and why others are easier to replace.  Plus, perhaps most important, understanding hardwood construction and materials can make you a smarter shopper, help you better determine hardwood flooring value and keep you within the parameters of your budget.

Understanding hardwood sizes, species and types.  When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide.  This is the classic strip wood floor, although it is possible to find a narrower width or a slightly thinner Gage. The strips are generally in random lengths from 12″ – 84″.  The most common wood species used for solid strip floors are red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan.  And the three common types of wood floors are Solid, Engineered and Long strip Plank.
Type 1: think solid and expansive.  Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides. When we talk about solid wood floors, we tend to think of floors that are unfinished, but it’s important to know that there are also many pre-finished 3/4” solid wood floors.  And you should also be aware of the moisture factor.

Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and because so they are used in nail down installations and are not recommended for installation below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab.  The good news is that these floors can be refinished, or re-coated, several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life in your home.  In fact, there are solid floors that are over 100 years old that are still in good condition with rich patina and character – enhancing the beauty of the home.
Because they’re a natural product, hardwood flooring will expand and contract in response to seasonal changes in moisture. In the winter heating months, moisture leaves the wood causing the floor to contract, which creates small gaps between each plank.
In the summer months, when the humidity is higher, the wood will expand and the gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle. Not something you want in your home.

This is why it is important when installing a solid strip floor to leave the proper expansion area around the perimeter and to acclimate the wood prior to installation. This will help assure a lasting, beautiful application.  Now that oak is a wood of choices.
Oak is commonly used for solid unfinished wood floors and there are several different qualities of oak for you to choose from.
These qualities are clear, select and better, #1 common, and #2 common. The clear has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive. While the select and better quality has some small knots and very little dark grain.  The #1 common and #2 common have more knots and more dark grain. So be aware of that when buying an unfinished solid oak floor and make sure you know which quality of wood you are buying.

Type 2: the efficient, engineered solution.
Engineered wood floors are generally manufactured with 2, 3, or 5 thin sheets or plies of wood that are laminated together to form one plank.  These wood plies are stacked on top of each other but in the opposite directions. This is called cross-ply construction which creates a wood floor that is dimensional and stable and less affected by moisture than a 3/4” solid wood floor.
In the presence of moisture, solid wood planks will always expand across the width of the planks, rather than down the length of the boards.  The advantage of cross-ply construction allows the plies to counteract each other which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with the changes in humidity.  The other advantage for you is versatility. You can install these floors over concrete slabs in your basement as well as anywhere else in you home.  Most engineered floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or floated over a wide variety of sub-floors, including some types of existing flooring.
Engineered floors will range from 1/4″ to 9/16″ in thickness, and vary from 2 1/4″ to 7″ in width. The widths can also be mixed, such as 3-5-7-inch planks installed side by side. By varying the board widths you can change the total appearance of the floor. Create a truly custom look for your home. The lengths will be random and range from 12″ – 60″ in length.
For flexibility, engineered is top-notch.  Because engineered wood floors are made up of several layers of wood the top finish layer can be a totally different wood species. A variety of domestic or exotic hardwood species are available such as Oak, Maple, Hickory or Cherry.

Type 3: the easy-to-replace long strip.
Long strip plank floors are similar to engineered floors and have several wood plies that are glued together.
The center core is generally a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of the core.  The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is made up of many smaller individual pieces that are laid in three rows.  Long strip planks are approximately 86″ in length and 7 1/2″ in width. They generally have between 17 and 35 pieces that make up the top layer of each board.  This gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks long. Each longstrip plank looks like an entire section that has already been pre-assembled for you. This alone can create a unique look all your own.
Longstrip planks are designed for the floating installation, but most can also be glued-down, or stapled down. Because these floors can be floated they are extremely versatile – they can go over a wide variety of subfloors and on any grade level.  Like engineered floors, longstrip floors come in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species.  Longstrip plank floors have another advantage. When damaged, they are easy to replace. That can be an important consideration for active homes.  Those are the ins and outs of hardwood construction.
We hope this knowledge makes you a smarter shopper, helps you narrow down your options, or even solidifies your choice of hardwood flooring for your home.

Feel free to call us with any questions!  (925) 938-2222

Basic knowledge about hardwood styles and personalities.

Knowing someone’s style can tell you many things about him or her. The same goes when shopping for hardwood flooring.
Understanding the types, species and finishes of hardwood products can provide you with valuable information, let you shop smarter and compare with confidence.  In this section you’ll learn all about the wide array of hardwood styles on the market today. In fact, there are so many design options available you can create a hardwood floor that matches both your lifestyle and your desire for beauty, durability and practicality.  For example, inserting decorative medallions, running the boards on the diagonal, or creating a border are just some of the designs one can consider.  But before you get to the design, you need to know how to select the type of hardwood that’s right for you and your home. Today you can choose between a pre-finished hardwood floor and one that is unfinished.
Pre-finished hardwood comes ready for installation in your home. The hardwood boards have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant. In many cases this can provide a harder, better- protected surface.

Pre-finished floors offer a wider variety of wood species and save hours of labor and cleanup.
But unfinished wood floors allow you to have a custom job – you choose the wood species and it’s sanded and the stain is applied on site. With unfinished you also have the chance to level the surface of the entire floor after it has been installed.

You get an extended factory finish warranty with pre-finished floors, but not with most job-site finishes
Location is consideration No. 1.  To begin with, you need to look at where you plan on installing your new wood floor.
There are limitations on where some wood floors can be installed. This is especially true for the 3/4″ solid wood floors.
Solid hardwood floors are more susceptible to moisture and are generally not recommended for basements, or installing directly onto a concrete slab.  Be in the know about grain and cut.  Hardwood styles are the result of the wood species available. Some of the more common species are red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan.  Each species has its own unique grain and texture. The grain on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut.  There are two cutting processes. “Sliced Cut” shows a more uniform pattern, whereas “Rotary Cut” displays a larger and bolder grain pattern.  Keep color in mind.
Within each species of hardwood you will have a choice of color and finishes. Here’s where it pays to shop carefully.
When selecting a color, choose one that either coordinates or contrasts with your cabinetry and furniture.
Also keep in mind that darker woods tend to be more formal while natural colors are more casual.
Which finish?
You should be aware that there are different types of finishes depending on whether your hardwood floor is pre-finished or job site finished.  In general, lower gloss levels are better suited for active rooms. This is because lower gloss or matte finishes help minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches.  Consider the elegant look of the high gloss finish for a more formal décor.
Upkeep is no big deal.  The days of having to wax and scrub your hardwood floors are pretty much gone forever. Manufacturers of pre-finished wood floors have developed sophisticated techniques to quickly apply hard, durable, urethane-based finishes right at the factory.
By using ultra violet lights the pre-finished wood planks can have several coats of urethane applied within a matter of a few minutes. This is helping make hardwood floors both more affordable, and much easier to maintain.  Recently, the hardwood flooring manufacturers have begun to add small chips of Aluminum Oxide directly to the floor’s finish which dramatically increases the life of the urethane finish.

Protection lies in numerous coats
Most factory finished hardwood floors have several coats of finish applied to the wood’s surface. As example, many wood floor companies are applying 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane. This would be extremely difficult for someone to duplicate on a job site finish, not to mention how many days it would take.  This is one of the reasons why many flooring mechanics, flooring retailers, and builders are pushing pre-finished hardwood floors. Instead of taking several days to install and finish a new hardwood floor a pre-finished hardwood floor is generally done in one day.  This does not mean you should wash your floor with a mop, but it does mean these floors won’t watermark like the old waxed hardwood floors. The UV cured urethane wood finishes do make these floors easier to maintain than the old waxed hardwood floors.  Factory Pre-finished hardwood finishing comes in many forms:
UV-cured – Factory finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.  Polyurethane – A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.  Acrylic-urethane – A slightly different chemical make up than Polyurethane with the same benefits.
Ceramic – Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
Aluminum Oxide – Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer, which is becoming extremely popular on the better grade wood floors.  Acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.

Job-site hardwood flooring finishing methods are also available.
If you want a custom stained hardwood floor, or a wood floor to match existing trim, than a job-site finish is your answer.
Job-site finish means you start with a bare (unfinished) hardwood floor and than the floor is sanded, stained, and finished in the home.
The other advantage of a job-site finish is, if you are concerned with uneven heights between planks, the sanding process will smooth out the floor. Be warned, though, this can be quite a mess and the process does take several days.
Job-site hardwood floor finishing methods include:
Water Based Urethane – Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Solvent Based Urethane – Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Moisture Cured Urethane – A similar chemical make up as solvent based urethane’s, but this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure.
What to know about board widths.
When shopping for a hardwood floor you will see boards in various sizes.
The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks.”
You should be aware that board width can visually impact a room.
Narrow width boards will expand a room, while wider boards work well in a larger room or area.
All about edges.  Different hardwood floors have different edges. Hardwood floors come in either a beveled edge, or a square edge.
Today, most hardwood floor manufacturers are calling their beveled edge “eased edge” because the tapered edge is dramatically reduced from the old deeply grooved edges.  The beveled edges do serve a purpose. The manufacturer can produce beveled edge planks faster than square edge, which in turn lowers their production costs.
Also, a beveled edge floor is more forgiving when installed over irregular sub floors and you don’t have the problem of over wood (uneven plank heights abutting each other).
To help you understand hardwood edges, here’s a summary of today’s types:
Square Edge:

The edges of all boards meet squarely creating a uniform, smooth surface that blends the floor together from board to board. The overall look of this floor gives a contemporary flair and formal feeling to the room.
Eased Edge:  Each board is just slightly beveled. Some manufacturers add an eased edge to both the length of the planks as well as the end joints. Eased edges are used to help hide minor irregularities, such as uneven plank heights. Eased edge is also called micro-beveled edge.
Beveled Edge:

These products have a very distinctive groove in them. Beveled edge planks lend themselves to an informal and country decor. With the urethane finishes applied at the factory today, the beveled edges are sealed completely, making dirt and grit easy to be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.
Rating the hardness of wood.
Below are listed the relative hardness for numerous wood species used in flooring.
These ratings were done using the Janka Hardness Test, which measure the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood.
The higher the number the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring.
The construction and finish also play an important role in the durability and ease of maintenance of any wood floor.
Wood Species Hardness Rating
Douglas Fir 660
Southern Yellow Pine (short leaf) 690
Southern Yellow Pine (Long leaf) 870
Black Cherry 950
Teak 1000
Black Walnut 1010
Heart Pine 1225
Yellow Birch 1260
Red Oak (Northern) 1290
American Beech 1300
Ash 1320
White Oak 1360
Australian Cypress 1375
Hard Maple 1450
Wenge 1620
African Pedauk 1725
Hickory 1820
Pecan 1820
Purpleheart 1860
Jarrah 1910
Merbau 1925
Santos Mahogany 2200
Mesquite 2345
Brazilian Cherry 2350
Understanding the hardwood family should help you decide if this is a flooring answer for you and your home. At the very least, we hope this section has increased your knowledge of hardwood, one of the most beautiful, inviting and enduring flooring options around.

Please feel free to call Fine Floorz with any questions about your flooring projects!  (925) 938-2222

Before you purchase hardwood, know this.

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Nothing motivates people to learn about something than when they have to invest a sizeable sum to purchase it.
Buying hardwood flooring is no exception.
It pays, today and tomorrow, to know not only the basics but some of the specifics.
In the journey to finding the right flooring for your home, understanding things like hardwood characteristics, traits and quirks can be invaluable.
That’s why we offer you this section.
It’s a summary of many of the things you should know about hardwood before you open your checkbook or get out the charge card.
Know this about Finish in Place hardwood. Nature’s rich beauty is abundant when displayed through the character of a Finish in Place hardwood floor.
In addition to various wood species and finishes, these hardwood planks are also available in different widths – an elegant addition to any home.
Finish in Place, or unfinished hardwood, is installed in the home and then sanded. The stain and 2-3 coats of urethane finish are then applied. The urethane finish, brushed or mopped on, is known as a “floor finish” not a “furniture finish”.
Dust is a fact of life and finishing. Since your floor is being finished in your home, please be aware that your floor will not be “dust free” as it is impossible to create a “dustless” environment.
Some dust will fall onto the freshly applied topcoat of urethane finish.
You may also see sanding marks, small bubbles and brush marks.
However, take heart, Finish in Place floors may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.

The different hallmarks of hardwoods.
Each species of wood has its own unique characteristics. Color is determined by what part of the tree the wood originally comes from.
The grain pattern is determined by the species and how the wood is cut.
Natural variations in the color and grain are normal and to be expected. Similar to natural stone, these variations create the beautiful and unique look of a wood floor. They make your floor close to one of a kind.
Understand that wood moves, naturally.
Wood floors will expand and contract due to moisture and temperature changes, causing hairline cracks, slight height variations or both.
Hardwood does not expand or contract equally in all directions. This is not considered a defect but a natural result of nature.
So, in dry climates, you may want to consider the use of a whole house humidifier to help minimize shrinkage and hairline cracking.

Here are the facts about subfloors.
No subfloors are perfectly level. You may also hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges.
This does not affect the integrity or installation of the hardwood. Hollow sounds are normal and are not considered a product or installation defect.
All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process.
Window treatments are recommended as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.
Pre-finished hardwood pre-buying notes.
A work of natural art, the elegance of a pre-finished hardwood floor adds beauty and value to any home, easy care and durability to any lifestyle.
Each species of wood has its own unique characteristics and the conditions of nature that the wood matured in make each floor exceptional and individual.
Pre-finished hardwood floors are sanded, screened and stained in highly efficient manufacturing plants.
Several coats of urethane are sprayed on the boards and then they are UV dried for a very durable finish.
Pre-finished floors may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.
Pre-finished hardwood information on color, grain pattern, expansion and contraction, subfloor leveling and floor protection is the same as the information under Finish in Place hardwood, above.
Get on top of the bottom line. Know the entire cost of ownership.
The “cost per square foot” of your hardwood floor is just one component of the entire project cost. To ensure there are no surprises, and the hardwood you select fits within your overall project budget, be sure to ask us to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project.
Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:
Furniture removal/replacement.
Demolition/disposal of old floor covering. Depending on the existing floor covering, this can be an expensive item; also, be sure to include the cost to dispose of the old floor covering.
Subfloor preparation. Depending on the condition of the subfloor, it may require additional work.
Product delivery.
Hardwood installation. Determine the cost per square foot to install it.
Materials required to complete the installation. Your new hardwood floor may require additional materials to install it properly.
We can help you answer questions regarding the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently the floor should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.
There’s a lot to know and keep in mind before buying a hardwood floor, but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re a smart and knowledgeable shopper it will pay off in many ways, the best of which will be hardwood flooring you’re proud to come home to.

Hardwood – Before Installation
Know what to expect and do before installation day.

Be prepared. We want you to know what to do, and know what to expect, on that special day when the crew shows up to install your beautiful new hardwood floor.
Being prepared will make the entire process go faster, more efficiently and hopefully eliminate any surprises.
Knowing what to expect will also be a lot less stressful on you, your family and your home.
Our first advice is in the form of a question.
Installing this type of floor is hard, exacting and detailed.
Why would you have anyone but a seasoned, dedicated professional install it?
That way you can be assured of a beautiful, efficient and correct installation.
There are four methods of installing hardwood flooring.
1. Nail Down: 2” cleats do the job.
This method is typically used with the 3/4″ solid products, however there are adapters available for thinner flooring sizes as well.
2″ nailing cleats are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the subfloor. Please be aware that Solid Strip floors or Plank floors can only be installed on wooden subfloors on grade or above grade.
2. Staple Down: this method uses pneumatics.
With this method 1-1/2 to 2 inch staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor.
A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and subfloor. Not all wood flooring manufacturers recommend the same staple gun so using professional installers will insure that the right staple gun and right size staples are utilized.
3. Glue Down: adhesives are the rule here.
The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor.
You should know that engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. Solid strip floors and plank floors can only be nailed or stapled.
There are many types of adhesives on the market. Your installers will use the manufacturers recommended adhesive when installing your flooring. Not using the manufacturers recommended adhesive and trowel size could void any warranties you may have.
4. Floating: flooring on a bed of padding.
With the floating installation method the floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor.
A thin pad is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. Then a recommended wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together.
The padding has its advantages: it protects against moisture, reduces noise transmission, is softer under foot, and provides for some additional “R” value.
Some engineered floors and all Longstrip floors can be floated. This is a very fast, easy and clean method of installing your floor.
Acclimation. Understand that it’s a must.
All hardwood products need to be acclimated to the new environment for at least four or five days prior to installation. The installers will open all the boxes to achieve this. Any loose product will be divided into smaller lots and stored in the designated room.
What to know and do before installation day

Work on your furniture first.
Remove all furniture and other objects and materials from the areas where the installation will take place. Some installers will move your furniture, but there may be an additional charge for doing so.
Before moving, you’ll also need to empty the contents of china cabinets, closets and the like.
Be aware that the area of installation must be climate controlled (heated or air conditioned). Indoor humidity should be maintained between 45-65%.
Now turn your attention to the old floor covering.
Please consider how your old floor covering will be taken up and disposed of. This can be a time consuming task. We recommend that you check with us about the cost and the method of disposal.
If you prefer to remove your present floor covering, do it at least one day prior to arrival of your hardwood product to allow for cleanup and floor preparation. If removing old carpet, please leave tack strips in place and pull the staples out of the floor from the original pad.
Have a plan in mind regarding your trim.
You should know that, in many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for hardwood installation. Your installer may do this but at an additional charge and they will probably not be responsible for damage or breakage due to dry or brittle wood.
Painted baseboards, woodwork and paint may need retouching after the installation is complete. If necessary, this is your responsibility.
The next subject: subflooring.
Your existing subfloor may need to be prepared to receive the hardwood, or a new subfloor may be required. We suggest you discuss this with us and, if subfloor work is necessary, that it be done by qualified professionals. It is important that the subfloor be as clean and level as possible.
Doors require special consideration.
When hardwood is installed, there’s always the possibility that the doors, especially closet doors, basement and bedroom doors, may not clear the new hardwood and swing free.
Some installers will remove doors in order to install the hardwood and re-hang them if possible. They probably won’t shave or cut down doors to insure clearance. Please check with us regarding our policy. You may need to arrange for a qualified carpenter to provide this service after the installation of your new hardwood floor.
Be clear about the clean-up.
Installing new hardwood will produce waste.
Usually these materials are collected by your installer and left at your trash collection site. Check with us before the day of installation so you’re clear about the clean up, if there are added costs to do so, and ask about the plan for hardwood remnants.
What to know and do during installation day
You need to be home on installation day.
Be prepared to be at home the day of installation and be available in case the installation crew has questions. Your presence will insure that the correct hardwood is installed in the right areas. Because it is difficult to estimate the length and circumstances of each job, some installers may not be able to give you an exact time of arrival. We will keep you informed on the schedule.
Your safety is our concern.
Your installers will use a variety of tools and techniques that can make the work area hazardous. Please make sure that your children and pets are kept out of the work area on installation day.
The walk-thru is an important step.
We recommend that, prior to the completion of the installation, you walk thru the job with the chief installer. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and be clear on any final details.
What to know and do after installation day
Give your lungs a break.
If you are sensitive to dust and odors, good ventilation should be established for 48 to 72 hours after installation.
Being prepared for installation day through careful planning and smart preparing will make your life and the installers a lot easier. It will also make your hardwood flooring experience beautiful and enjoyable right from day one.

Maintaining your hardwood floor requires know-how.

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Once installed your hardwood floor will look beautiful, but time and traffic, stains and spills, will take their toll.
So, you need a short course on taking care of your floor, and for that you’ve come to the right place.
We want you to know all about hardwood maintenance because the more you know the better able you’ll be to keep your floor looking new.
Wood is a natural, beautiful and timeless design element.
Consistent and correct maintenance will insure it remains that way.
Entrances are your first line of defense.
Place walk off mats or area rugs at each entryway to collect dirt and grit that might be tracked in.
These tiny particles act like sandpaper and will scratch your floor.
Be sure to avoid using rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs as they can damage your floor. Instead use mats or rugs made especially for hardwood floors and remember to shake them out regularly.
In addition to entryways, remember to place mats in any areas where water may be splashed, such as near a kitchen sink.
Invest in these tools.

Buy a good quality broom and sweep your new floor regularly to pick up grains of dirt, dust and other particles.
A vacuum cleaner, without a beater bar, can be helpful in between planks and other hard to reach areas. Once dirt and grease are gone, buffing can help restore the luster of your hardwood floor.
Keep in mind these cleaning tips.
Cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor.
For “Finish in Place” hardwood floors, we recommend using an 8”x14” terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards an easy task.
Spray a professional wood floor cleaning product recommended by us to safely remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your floor.

Manufacturers of “Pre-finished” hardwood floors recommend their own specific products designed for their floors routine maintenance.
Be sure to check with us as well about these cleaners.
All floors with a urethane finish should never be waxed and require cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue.
A hardwood floor cleaner is useful in removing occasional scuffs or heel marks. Merely spray some cleaner on a cloth and lightly rub the stained area. Sticky spots can be cleaned with a damp towel or sponge.
Do not use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor, as they will dull the finish and performance of your floor. These products will also affect the ability to recoat your floor later.
Since wood naturally expands when it is wet, never wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor. Large amounts of water can cause the wood to swell and may cause your floor to crack or splinter.
Being a natural product, hardwood will expand and contract due to moisture level changes. Minimize water exposure to hardwood floors and clean up spills as soon as they happen.

Know this about deep cleaning.
If your floor is showing excessive wear beyond normal cleaning you may want to consider screening and recoating.
Screening is the process used to abrade the polyurethane finish that is currently on the floor. Then, fresh coats of urethane are applied. Screening and recoating will rejuvenate and prolong the life of your hardwood floor.
If the damage to the floor is severe and has gone through the stain of the boards down to the bare wood, you can sand and refinish.
This should only be done if a screening and recoating does not solve the problem. This is an extensive process where the floor is sanded down to the bare wood, restained and then refinished.
If the damage is only in a small area you may want to see if replacement boards are available to alleviate having to refinish an entire area.
Be sure to hire an experienced professional when having any work done on your hardwood floor.

Finally, protect against time, sun and traffic.
All hardwood floors will fade, darken or change shades over time. Exposure to sunlight will greatly increase this process.
Window treatments are recommended, as well as rotating area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.
Cover furniture and table legs with protectors to guard your floor against damage. Take care when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing.
Stiletto heels can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by your warranty. Love your pet but regularly trim their nails or claws to avoid scratches on the hardwood floor. The point here is to be cautious of sharp objects that may scratch or damage the floor.
A hardwood floor of beauty and pride can be yours today and tomorrow if you know how to care for it right from the start, clean it on a regular basis and schedule professional maintenance when that is called for.

Add a Fine Floorz finish to your home with the help Fine Floorz refinishing services, your source for custom hardwood flooring and refinishing services in the Bay Area. Our friendly flooring experts work closely with you to design a floor that’s right for you and your budget.
Our Fine Flooring Specialties Include:
• Installation
• Refinishing
• Sanding
• Staining
• Repair
• Replacement
Hardwood Floors & Flooring Services

Rejuvenate your home with fine hardwood flooring services by Fine Floorz. Whether installing a new floor or refinishing an existing one, our team of skilled project managers & craftsmen work closely with you to create hardwood floors that meet your needs and personal sense of style.
Not only are we committed to providing superior hardwood flooring and using premium products, we are committed to providing you with personalized service and affordable rates. This commitment has earned us Diamond Certified (add link) as well as many valuable customers and we hope to add you to that list.
Refinishing

Old hardwood flooring become FINE FLOORZ! We specialize in refinishing services; our craftsmen painstakingly sand down your old hardwood floors and refinish them with the color of your choice. You simply won’t believe how FINE your new refinished hardwood floor will look and feel in your home.
Contact us at (925) 938-2222 and speak to one of our hardwood flooring experts today!

Above Grade
Any floor that is above the level of the surrounding ground on which the structure is built.
Acrylic Impregnated
Acrylic monomers are injected into the cell structure of the wood to give increased hardness and then finished with a wear layer over the wood.
Acrylic Urethane
A slightly different chemical make up than Polyurethane with the same benefits.
Aluminum Oxide
Added to the urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance of the wear layer, which is becoming extremely popular on the better grade wood floors.
Below Grade
A cement slab poured below the level of the surrounding terrain.
Better
A quality of oak. Better Oak has some small knots and very little dark graining.
Beveled Edge
These products have a very distinctive groove in them. Beveled edge planks lend themselves to an informal and country decor. With the urethane finishes applied at the factory today, the beveled edges are sealed completely, making dirt and grit easy to be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.
Buckle
In the summer months, when the humidity is higher, wood will expand and gaps will disappear. If there is too much moisture it may cause the wood planks to cup, or buckle.
Ceramic
Advanced technology that allows the use of space-age ceramics to increase the abrasion resistance of the wear layer.
Clear
A quality of oak. Clear Oak has no visual blemishes or knots and is extremely expensive.
Cross-ply Construction
Engineered wood plies that are stacked on top of each other but in the opposite direction is called cross-ply construction. This creates a wood floor that is dimensionally stable and less affected by moisture than a 3/4” solid wood floor. Cross-ply construction allows the plies to counteract each other which will stop the plank from growing or shrinking with the changes in humidity. The other advantage for you is versatility. You can install these floors over concrete slabs in your basement as well as anywhere else in your home.
Cupping
A type of warping with a concave condition; the sides are higher than the center.
Eased Edge
Each board is just slightly beveled. Some manufacturers add an eased edge to both the length of the planks as well as the end joints. Eased edges are used to help hide minor irregularities, such as uneven plank heights. Eased edge is also called micro-beveled edge.
Engineered
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Solid and Longstrip Plank.) Engineered wood floors are generally manufactured with 2,3, or 5 thin sheets or plies of wood that are laminated together to form one plank. Most engineered floors can be nailed down, stapled down, glued down, or floated over a wide variety of subfloors, including some types of existing flooring.
Finish in Place
Finish in Place, or unfinished hardwood, is installed in the home and then sanded. The stain and 2-3 coats of urethane finish are then applied. The urethane finish, brushed or mopped on, is known as a “floor finish” not a “furniture finish”. Finish in Place floors may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.
Floating Floor Installation
With the floating installation method the floor is not mechanically fastened to any part of the subfloor. A thin pad is placed between the wood flooring and the subfloor. Then a recommended wood glue is applied in the tongue and groove of each plank to hold the planks together. The padding has its advantages: it protects against moisture, reduces noise transmission, is softer under foot, and provides for some additional “R” value. Some engineered floors and all Longstrip floors can be floated.
Glue Down
The recommended mastic or adhesive is spread on with the proper sized trowel to adhere the wood flooring to the subfloor. You should know that engineered wood floors and parquets can be glued down. Solid strip floors and plank floors can only be nailed or stapled.
Graining
Each wood species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Natural variations in the color and grain are normal and to be expected.
Janka Hardness Test
This wood hardness rating test measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood. The higher the number the harder the wood. Although this is one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations, it should be used as a general guide when comparing various species of wood flooring.
Knot
On a piece of wood, the round, harder, usually darker in color, cross section of where the branch joined the trunk of the tree.
Laminate
Laminate is a manufactured product that simulates the look of hardwood, ceramic tile, natural stone and many other types of flooring.
Long Strip Plank
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Engineered and Solid.) Long Strip Plank floors are similar to Engineered floors and have several wood plies that are glued together. The center core is generally a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove. A hardwood finish layer is glued on top of the core. The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is made up of many smaller individual pieces that are laid in three rows. This gives the effect of installing a board that is 3 rows wide and several planks long. Long Strip floors come in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species and when damaged they are easy to replace.
Moisture Cured Urethane
A similar chemical make up as solvent-based urethanes, but this finish needs the humidity (moisture) in the air to cure.
Moldings
Are used to cover expansion joints and to enhance the performance and appearance of the hardwood floor. In many cases, moldings and baseboards need to be removed for hardwood installation.
Nail Down
This method is typically used with the 3/4″ solid products, however there are adapters available for thinner flooring sizes as well. 2″ nailing cleats are used with a wood flooring nailer and mallet to attach the flooring to the subfloor.
Number 1 Common
A quality of oak. Number 1 Common Oak has more knots and more dark graining.
Number 2 Common
A quality of oak. Number 2 Common Oak has more knots and more dark graining.
On-Grade
A cement slab that exists on the same plane as the surrounding terrain.
Plank
When shopping for a hardwood floor you will see boards in various sizes. The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks.” When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide. This is the classic strip wood floor, although it is possible to find a narrower width or a slightly thinner gage. The strips are generally in random lengths from 12″ – 84″.
Polyurethane
A clear, tough and durable finish that is applied as a wear layer.
Pre-Finished Wood Floor
Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes ready for installation in your home. The hardwood boards have already been sanded, stained and finished at the manufacturing plant. In many cases this can provide a harder, better- protected surface. Several coats of urethane are sprayed on the boards and then they are UV dried for a very durable finish. Pre-finished floors offer a wider variety of wood species and save hours of labor and cleanup. They also may be screened and recoated to rejuvenate the finish and revitalize the floor’s natural beauty.
Rotary Cut
Each species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Rotary Cut is a cutting process that displays a larger and bolder graining pattern.
Select
A quality of oak. Select Oak has some small knots and very little dark graining.
Sliced Cut
Each species has its own unique graining and texture. The graining on the boards is determined by the way it has been cut. Sliced Cut is a cutting process that shows a more uniform pattern.
Solid
One of the three common types of wood floors. (Others are Engineered and Longstrip Plank.) Solid wood floors are one solid piece of wood that have tongue and groove sides. When we talk about solid wood floors, we tend to think of floors that are unfinished, but it’s important to know that there are also many pre-finished 3/4” solid wood floors. Solid wood floors are sensitive to moisture and because so they are used in nail down installations and are not recommended for installation below ground level, or directly over a concrete slab.
Solvent-Based Urethane
Oil is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.
Square Edge
The edges of all boards meet squarely creating a uniform, smooth surface that blends the floor together from board to board.
Stapled Down
With this method 1-1/2 to 2 inch staples are used versus nailing cleats to attach the wood flooring to the subfloor. A pneumatic gun is used to drive the staple into the wood flooring and subfloor.
Strip
When shopping for a hardwood floor you will see boards in various sizes. The narrower board widths are referred to as “strips” and the wider units as “planks.” When we think of solid wood floors we generally are talking about a 3/4″ thick plank that is 2 1/4″ wide. This is the classic strip wood floor, although it is possible to find a narrower width or a slightly thinner gage. The strips are generally in random lengths from 12″ – 84″. The most common wood species used for solid strip floors are red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan.
Tongue and Groove
The joining of two boards, one board having a tongue on its edge that fits into a groove in the edge of the other.
Trim
See Moldings.
Un-Finished Wood Floor
An Un-Finished wood floor allows you to have a custom job – you choose the wood species and it’s sanded and the stain is applied on site. With Un-Finished you also have the chance to level the surface of the entire floor after it has been installed.
UV Cured
Factory wood finishes that are cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat.
Water-Based Urethane
Water is used as part of the chemical make up of the polyurethane finish.

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