New Wood Floor - Sales & Installations
Wolfe Flooring sells and installs a complete line of residential goods manufactured by the top brand names in the flooring industry: Bruce, Hartco, Robbins, Harris-Tarkett, Hawa, Mohawk, Shaw, and more.
We'll make getting a flooring product easy. When you purchase products from Wolfe Flooring, you receive the added benefit of accessibility to technical knowledge, warranty care, routine maintenance and emergency service if calamities strikes for the life of the product.
Please ask us about a FREE home or office presentation.
We can both provide you with the products you're looking for and install the choice of your dreams. Alternatively, we can provide the products without the installation service. Or, we can provide the installation service for the products you provide. The most economical choice for most customers is for us to both supply and install your flooring goods. Most often, this is also the path of least complications.
We at Wolfe Flooring commit to following the installation procedures designated by the manufacturers. If the product calls for a particular brand of pressure sensitive adhesive and a specific notch trial, then that is what will be used. The durability and cosmetic appeal of your new flooring product is determined by two factors: (1) the manufacturer's production of quality goods and (2) a careful and diligent installation. We can get you the quality goods and give you the quality installation. We plan to make you happy!
Getting Ready to Select
It may have been a good five to ten years since the last time you selected a new flooring product. Infrequency makes it difficult to stay up with design trends, brand names, pricing and the myriad of other details that constitute a good choice. Please let us help. Below is a check list that simplifies the process. Sketch a rough diagram of the floor plan. Your diagram should included the following:
- the names of the areas (e.g., Living Room)
- the approximate measurements
- the type of flooring currently on the floor
- the type of subfloor if known (e.g., wood, concrete, terrazzo)
- the location of thresholds indicated by dotted lines
- the volume of use and type of use (e.g., rarely used/dinner parties)
- the quality of the lighting: low, medium, high
Calculate the approximate square footage of each area by multiplying the length by the width. Add 10% for overage by multiplying your total square feet by 1.10. For example, assume your room is 14 feet wide by 18 feet long.
Actual Square Footage 14' x 18' = 252 sf.
Adjusted Square Footage 252 sf. x 1.10 = 277.2 sf.
Decide how many years you want the new flooring to last. (For example, you may want to remodel in five years in order to put your home on the market.)
Gather color keys and samples of your primary colors in each area (e.g., wallpaper, drapes, paint, fabrics) or take pictures of the areas to help in the color selection.
Identify your decorating style.
Calculate your budget. And, see Pricing and Payments Policies under About Us to learn what payment options are available.
Review your calendar to select a time for the work. Generally, you should anticipate times during the work week. Also, be sure to ask how long the project will take.
Consider what moldings you want around the edges and/or at the thresholds.
Check out our comparison chart of the different flooring products (e.g., carpet, wood, tile, etc.)
Check out our decorating ideas for ideas about styles, colors, patterns, textures, and functions.
Selecting Your Product - Product Review
Popular wood species include: red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, Brazilian cherry, pecan, beech, birch, bamboo, and others. The April/May 2004 issue of Hardwood Floors magazine reported that in the year 2003 distributors sold hardwood species in the follow percentages: 42% red oak, 19% white oak, 9% Brazilian cherry, 8% maple, 5% heart pine, 6% other domestic species, and 10% other exotic species. The trend is toward exotic species. The better pricing found on the more available species such as red oak or white oak. Higher quality wood offers more diversified colors, widths, edge styles and gloss levels.
There are four primary construction types available: solid, engineered, longstrip, or parquet.
Solid is more prone to expansion and contraction. Solid comes in single pieces of varying lengths. Solid wood can be installed using nails or staples. The grain pattern in solid wood is denser and tighter than engineered boards because solid pieces are sawn from the raw log.
Engineered comes in single pieces as well. Engineered is distinguished from solid by the fact that engineered hardwood is constructed of multiple thin plies. The plies are laminated together creating much better dimensional stability than solid wood. The procedure cost more, but the raw materials cost less. The end result is that engineered hardwood costs less than solid. Engineered wood can be installed using nails, staples, adhesive, or can be floated.
Longstrip is an engineered hardwood which comes in combined pieces so that two or three strips make one board. The wider boards make for a faster installation and have the greatest flexibility as to the installation method. Longstrip has the least pattern flexibility. Longstrip can be installed using staples, adhesive, or can be floated. Again, engineered and longstrip have greater dimensional stability than solid. The engineered and longstrip also have the flexibility to be installed on below-grade floors. (When nails or staples are used, they will not be seen by the customer in the end product because of the tongue-and-groove construction of today's materials.)
Parquet squares are usually 12" squares made up of four smaller 6" squares which are comprised on little slats. The pieces of the individual parquet squares are bonded together. There are also parquet floors which create beautiful and complex patterns.
Width, Length and Thickness.
You can also select the width of the wood. Narrow pieces of less than 3 inches are called strips. Wide pieces of 3 inches or more are called planks. There are some rare exceptions to this rule. Planks (i.e., wider boards) generally cost more than strips (i.e., narrower boards) because narrower pieces of wood are more plentiful. The down side of wider boards is that wider pieces are more prone to cup or crown. Some styles have boards of random lengths while others have boards of exactly the same length.
Thickness is another factor which should be considered. Solid hardwood is commonly 3/4 inch thick. Engineered and longstrip is often 3/8 or 5/16 inch thick. The thickness of engineered wood's top veneer is the limiting factor of being able to sand and refinish at a later date.
Boards may have a square edge, beveled edge or a micro-beveled edge. The bevel may be on all four sides or on the two long sides only. Beveled edges give more visual separation to individual pieces when installed.
Not all wood is equal when it comes to hardness. Black cherry is relatively soft like southern yellow pine. Brazilian cherry is very hard. You would never want to put a softer wood in an area of heavy activity. Click here for a chart of relative hardness of select wood species.
There are no two pieces of hardwood which are exactly the same because hardwood is a natural product. Therefore, hardwood coloration cannot be defective. Some pieces may have unusual characteristics and different shading. Lighter colors are typical of oak, maple, ash, beech, birch and bamboo. Reddish colors are typical of mahogany, kempas and cherry. Brownish colors are typical of rosewood, teak, and walnut. Specie classes are subdivided into more exact species with some noticeable variations such as Santos mahogany (reddish) and Sapele mahogany (brownish). Customers should inspect each piece of hardwood before it is installed to verify that no pieces are installed with too much variation for your taste. Conventional thinking has held that the higher the quality of wood, the less difference you will have in shading, the fewer knots and burls there will be in the wood, and the less mineral streaks you'll see in the wood. However, "character hardwood" has exploded in demand in showcase environments. Color will be altered by stains and finishes which brings us to the next topic: finishes.
Finishes and Stain.
Wood can be delivered pre-finished by the manufacturer or unfinished. The pre-finished is a much simpler and faster approach which usually includes a manufacturer's finish warranty. Quality factory finishes include special application techniques that increase the finishes' durability over average custom finishes. The difference in finish durability can be vast. The unfinished wood allows for a custom finish per the owner's color taste. Custom finishing the wood may need to take place about one to three weeks after the wood is installed. Pre-finished is much more popular than unfinished.
Pre-finished quality wood has usually been pressure treated with acrylic or an equivalent to fortify the hardness of the wood. The high pressure forces the acrylic deep into the wood. Finishes applied on top of the wood may be acrylic-urethane or polyurethane or an equivalent. These finishes are very durable. Additives like aluminum oxide, ceramic dust, or industrial diamond particles may be added to the finish to enhance the finishes wear resistance.
Gloss levels vary: matte, satin, semi-gloss (prefinished industry standard), high gloss, and other variations. Higher gloss levels are more vulnerable to showing scratches. Stain is applied to alter the natural color of hardwood. There are usually a few colors (created by the stain) available for a specie in a sample set. We generally recommend that you select wood without stain, that is, that you stay with the natural color by buying hardwood with a clear finish only.
It is possible to install wood on below-grade floors (i.e., floors that are lower than ground level); however, you'll need to avoid solid wood. Other products like carpet, vinyl and ceramic are sometimes better choices for below-grade installations. The same is true for bathrooms and other areas where moisture may be common.
It is the perfect time to get other products and services when you are having your floors sanded and refinished. In addition to moisture barriers, there are also cushions available to reduce sound and add comfort. Sound deadening is especially appreciated when the wood is being installed on an upper floor of a multi-story structure. Some high-rise management require cork or some other sound deadening product underneath.
Medallion or Border.
Adding a medallion or a border can turn an ordinary wood floor into an absolute show piece. Wolfe Flooring supplies laser cut borders and medallions by Oshkosh. These extras will amaze your guests. You'll be one-of-a-kind. Click the links to see what we mean. Just image a medallion underneath your chandelier or in your foyer and a border outlining your room or set in like an area rug. Oshkosh allows you to specify the wood and colors. They even make stone medallions to be set in wood floors!
Extra Coats (For Unfinished Wood Only).
Our pricing normally assumes that we will provide two coats of finish in addition to the sealant as specified by the manufacturer. Some customers want an additional one or two coats to add a deeper look and longer lasting finish. This is recommending in high traffic areas. An extra coat is a fairly inexpensive addition.
Stains (For Unfinished Wood Only).
Deep, penetrating stains can be added to alter the natural color of your wood. Some hardwood floors have an existing stain. Existing stains are lost during the sanding process. Thus, staining will be necessary if we are to attempt to match your current look. This also is a fairly inexpensive addition.
Bleaching (For Unfinished Wood Only).
The natural color of your wood can be lightened by using a wood bleaching technique and then applying a white or pastel stain. We can sample a small area to give you a feel for the degree of color reduction. Wood should be bleached only one time.
Distressed Effect (For Unfinished Wood Only).
Some customers want an aged look. The rustic style can be mild to severe and can follow a decorating theme: e.g., seashore, western, etc.
The following preparations should be made before your flooring product is installed. Some of these preparations may be unrealistic given your circumstances and may not have an affect on the success of the installation. However, we've included these manufacturer and regulatory agency recommendations in hope of the optimal installation and for disclosure reasons. Manufacturers may vary slightly. The manufacturer of the product you select is the final authority for their product. A layout should be agreed on. Wood may have accent pieces or borders you want positioned in a certain spot in the room, or you may want the wood angled to a particular degree.
Doors may have to be adjusted or cut at the bottom (i.e., planed) after your flooring is installed. Determinations as to whether such alterations are needed may not be possible prior to the installation. Door adjustments are priced separately.
Moldings are located at thresholds and around the room's perimeter. The molding may have to be removed, replaced, or added. A broad variety of moldings are available for all flooring products. Molding are made of wood, vinyl, rubber, metal, carpet, stone, and ceramic. Some moldings are designed to draw attention; while, others are designed to blend in with the primary flooring products. Moldings are priced separately.
- If you have a wood subfloor, verify that a wood subfloor has at least 18" of air above the ground. The ground in the crawl space should be covered with a vapor barrier 4 mils (0.1 mm) thick or greater.
- If you have a concrete subfloor and it is new construction, the concrete needs to cure for 45-120 days before installing the flooring (90 day average).
- If you have a concrete subfloor, the moisture level of the subfloor should be tested by the calcium chloride moisture test (ASTM F1869) or by the in situ probe test (ASTM F2170), which is more accurate. Moisture can cause cupping and buckling. Moisture can also deteriorate adhesives and also gender bacteria, odor, mildew, mold, rot, and water stains. Moisture in the subfloor may be the result of new concrete or ground water moisture from the outside. This test is usually just a matter of formality, except in the case of new construction or below-grade subfloors.
- If the subfloor is wood, the moisture content of the wood subfloor should be 14% or less. If the moisture content exceeds 14%, the wood should not be delivered to your site. Furthermore, there should not be more than a 4 percentage point difference between the wood subfloor and the new wood flooring.
- If you have a concrete subfloor and you've selected a direct glue-down installation method, the pH of the concrete subfloor should be tested. As concrete cures, the hydrating moisture deposits alkali salt on the concrete's surface. The pH reading should be between 5 to 10 to be suitable for wood. Alkali can deteriorate adhesives. Testing of the subfloor should be done early in order to deal with any problem that you may possibly detect. This test is usually just a matter of formality, except in the case of new construction or below-grade subfloors.
- If you've selected a direct glue-down installation method, the porosity of the subfloor (wood, concrete, etc.) should be tested. This indicates how well the adhesive will bond with the subfloor. Testing of the subfloor should be done early in order to deal with any problem that you may possibly detect. This test is usually just a matter of formality.
- Customers will need to verify that the relative humidity of the building is between 35% to 55%. High humidity may cause your new wood to expand and may also hinder the adhesive's curing time if the wood was glued down. Most customers have the proper relative humidity.
- Condition the room to between 60° and 95° F (suggested 75°) for 5 days before the wood installation. If you have a radiant-heated floor system, please turn it off 24 hours before the installation.
- After the temperature has been properly set, acclimate the new wood to the room 4 or more days prior to the installation.
- Pick up all personal items from the floor, and secure all delicate breakables (e.g., dining pieces and figurines in a China cabinet) prior to our arrival.
- Disassemble complicated electrical equipment like computers prior to our arrival.
- If the building is new construction, the building should be presented broom swept and free of all equipment, etc.
- The furniture must be carefully removed and put back in place. About half of our customers choose to handle their own furniture; therefore, furniture handling is priced separately. If you elect to handle the furniture, please remove the furniture prior to our arrival. Some manufactures recommend that furniture not be returned onto the new flooring for a period of time. See directions below under "Follow-up Activities and Initial Maintenance."
- Fixtures (e.g., toilets), doors, appliances, and other items may have to be removed and reattached. This service is priced separately.
- The old flooring must be removed and disposed of in accordance with local ordinances. We provide this service for most of our customers, but occasionally customers elect to do this themselves. Therefore, take up and disposal are priced separately. (Sometimes, new wood can be installed over existing products like vinyl, V.C.T., etc.)
- When the products arrive at your site, please verify the products are the correct color, style, and quantity you ordered. The earlier the detection the better. Flooring products that are installed create more warranty complications than products still on the truck.
- Once we begin your installation, the work area should be restricted from all foot traffic. Unfinished thresholds, flooring products and tools can pose TRIP HAZARDS. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. Please restrict the work area during the entire project.
- Please secure your small children and pets from following us out of your home while the exterior doors are open.
The subfloor must be in suitable condition. Your subfloor may or may not require floor prep. The amount of preparation varies depending on: the type of subfloor, the subfloor's condition, the manufacturer's specifications, and the installation method you select. Subfloor preparation is priced separately. The stability and precision of the subfloor will have a bearing on the long-term success of your new flooring. Nail-down, staple-down, and float-in installations require less floor prep than glue-down installations. BE ASSURED THAT FLOOR PREP IS USUALLY ONLY A NOMINAL EXPENSE. MANY CUSTOMERS HAVE NO FLOOR PREP EXPENSES.
Here are some of the common preparations made on the different floor types: concrete, terrazzo, wood, or metal.
- Subfloor must be level within 1/4 inch per 10 feet.
- Plywood joints should be level within 1/32".
- Reinforce subfloor to stiffen and smooth the surface with backerboard, Wonderboard®, wood underlayment, lauan plywood panels (Type 1, exterior, OVL grade, solid core mahogany), or plywood.
- Treat for urine contamination.
- Abrade glazed surfaces for a glue-down installation.
- Seal off moisture with impervious 6 mil (0.15 mm) polyethylene film, 15 lb asphalt felt, red rosin paper, or another moisture retardant.
- Replace weak boards and secure loose boards.
- Seal with primer.
- Mopping with a mix of muriatic acid with water (1:10) or a mix of white vinegar with water (1:1) and rinse to neutralize alkalinity on concrete.
- Grind away concrete curing agents, parting agents, or surface hardeners.
- Grind down high spots.
- Chip away wall plaster, etc.
- Fill holes and cracks up to ¼" thickness with patch and/or leveling compounds.
- Fill in and level depressions up to ¼" deep with patch and/or leveling compounds.
- Nail down protruding nails.
- Remove old adhesive completely.
- Remove paint, varnish, wax, pigmented material, solvents, grease, oil, etc. completely.
- Sand away rust of metal substrates.
- Sweep clean.
If you've elected to have the wood custom finished, plan the finishing to take place 1-3 weeks after the wood installation depending on curing conditions. Also, the V.O.C. emissions during the finishing process may be unpleasant depending on the type of finish you choose. You you may need to consider renting a hotel room during this time.
Follow-up Activities and Initial Maintenance
- Documentation. Process the billing and get a hand written or published warranty. Retain the sales receipt and any product description from the purchase of the goods. If possible, document the manufacturer's name and the manufacturer's full product description including color. Furthermore, retain a sample of the wood for comparisons. For insurance purposes, it's good to have a picture of your new product in a safe place.
- Attic Stock. Retain extra wood for possible repairs that may be needed in the future. Keep the wood in a dry place that stays about room temperature. Do not put your excess hardwood in a hot attic or a moist basement. Extreme heat or high humidity can ruin the wood.
- Wolfe Flooring picks up all flooring product scraps. The customer may need to sweep the wood. If your hardwood was installed with the direct-glue installation method or a floating with adhesive applied to the joints, do not sweep for 24 hours after the installation. If your wood was nailed or stapled down and has a factory finish, you can sweep immediately after the installation.
- Cutting and sanding boards will create dust. This dust cannot be contained completely. Some may settle in nooks and crevices and even in the AC ducts.
- If your hardwood was installed with the direct-glue installation method or a floating with adhesive applied to the joints, do not return the furniture or expose the wood to heavy foot traffic for 24 hours after the installation. The adhesive needs time to cure. If your wood was nailed or stapled down and has a factory finish, you can return the furniture and expose the wood to heavy foot traffic immediately after the installation.
- Maintain the same temperature for 48 hours after your installation. Never allow the subfloor's temperature to exceed 100° F during the life of your wood. Leaving the building unoccupied with significant changes in temperature and relative humidity can cause damage. If you have a radiant-heated floor system, leave it off for 24 hours after the installation.
- Ventilate the areas during the installation and for 24 to 48 hours after the installation to dissipate the new product smell. Enhance the ventilation by switching your air conditioner to fresh air, not re-circulated air.
- If your wood was finished on-site, it should be noted that curing time varies between different finishes. The first 24 hours are the most critical. After 24 hours, you may walk softly on the new finish. Place furniture down carefully if you need to put it back. Finishes are often 90% cured within the first 72 hours. Your new finish will likely cure for a full week. The finish is more susceptible to scuffing during the first week. No rug should not be placed on the wood till the week has passed. Do not clean the finish, not even with water. Finally, keep your pets off for the first 24 hours and for the first week if possible. If this is not possible, trim the pet's nails.
- Never wet mop a hardwood floor. Moisture can ruin your floor.
Read: How to Maintain Hardwood
Read: Hardwood Spot Cleaning Guidelines
Read: How to Protect Flooring