|Refinishing hard wood flooring can spruce up a dull room (photo courtesy of Digital Vision).
Before you commit to installing or refinishing a wood floor, you want to know what you’re in for. Having a sense of what to expect before, during, and after the work takes place will ensure a high-quality job. Not to mention a less stressful one!
Before work begins, remove furnishings, draperies, paintings, and other items from the room since contractors typically aren’t insured against damages to these items. For new installations, the wood will need to acclimate several days to reach equilibrium moisture content (EMC).
If your floors are being sanded, finished or refinished, expect some noise and disruption. Dust containment systems can minimize debris, but no system is 100% effective, so cover items you want to protect. When finish is applied, stay off your floors until it has dried, which can vary depending on the finish used.
After the finish dries, put felt pads on furniture legs to minimize scratches and dents. Place scatter rugs at entrances, avoiding those with rubber backs, which can discolor your floor, and avoid walking on floors with cleats or high heels in disrepair.
Remember that no two floor boards will be identical; appearance variations are normal. As your floor ages, some color change can occur. This also is normal, but can be minimized by limiting sun exposure, and periodically moving furniture and rugs. Cracks are normal too, and occur during seasons of changing humidity. Generally, anything less than the width of a dime is considered normal, and will correct itself as seasons change. Flooring inspectors recommend inspecting floors from a standing position in normal lighting to identify irregularities.
Finally, keep your wood floors looking their best with proper maintenance. Use a cleaning product recommended for your floors regularly to keep them looking beautiful for years to come.